The newest trend in orthodontics: Digital impressions

Impressions or molds of the teeth are an integral part of orthodontic treatment and, along with radiographs and photos, constitute what’s commonly known as “orthodontic records”. They allow the orthodontist to easily reproduce and visualize a patient’s teeth and bite and play a vital role in creating a proper evaluation, an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan for orthodontic work. They can be used to compare the progress and final results of orthodontic treatment or to fabricate appliances such as expanders or retainers. Because they are also legal records impressions are routinely used in malpractice cases or forensic investigations.

Molds of the teeth have been used since ancient times and the material used to take these molds has evolved greatly in the last century. “Alginate” is a universal impression material found in many dental and orthodontic offices. It is a powdery substance that when mixed with water becomes a soft, past like material which is then seated on the teeth in a custom dental holder or tray. Once the material sets dental stone is poured into it to fabricate the final cast or model.  This process allows for very accurate reproductions of the teeth and gums.

The problem with impressions is that they can be messy, quite unpleasant to have done, complicated and time consuming. As a matter of fact, it can be one of the most dreaded part of orthodontic treatment. Those with bad gag reflexes will attest to this statement. Impressions are also very technique sensitive and if not done properly can affect the fit of dental restorations or orthodontic appliances. Those with small mouths can have a very difficult time with impressions and may not be able to undergo certain orthodontic procedures because of it.

Digital impressions have solved all of the above problems and revolutionized modern orthodontics. With digital impressions a small camera is used to take scans or images of the teeth and the bite. This digital impression produces a very accurate digital model that can be easily stored, shared, and used for records, or to make orthodontic appliances. No more messy molds, no more gagging issues and a very happy patient!

Digital impressions come very handy especially for Invisalign cases where a scan of the teeth is taken and emailed to Invisalign to fabricate the aligners. The turn-around time can be as fast as two weeks!

We have implanted digital impressions in our office and now offer the convenience of it to all our patients. Contact Salmassian Orthodontics at 661-222-7444 and come and experience this amazing technology for yourself!