Technology continues to make our lives easier. In dentistry, improvement in technology makes life easier for both dentists and their patients. One of the best ways that technology has influenced dentistry is through the integration of digital impressions. This new technology has decreased the need for traditional impressions, which can provide many inconveniences for patients and dentists alike.
The benefits of digital dental impressions justify their use for all dental offices dedicated to staying competitive in their field and providing the best patient experience possible. Altogether, digital dental impressions are becoming a must-have for the modern dental practice.
What Are Digital Dental Impressions?
Digital impressions are a technology that allows dentists to create a computer-generated model of the teeth and their position in the mouth. Impressions are used to provide a map of the mouth for the creation of accurate dental crowns, bridges, braces, retainers, and more.
These impressions are created using the technology of an intraoral digital impression scanner, which is a wand-like tool connected to a computer with special software. To generate an impression, the dentist simply needs to move the tool throughout the mouth. The result can then be immediately seen on the computer screen. After being checked for accuracy, the impressions are then able to be sent directly to a lab through a digital file.
These impressions are an alternative to traditional impressions, which require patients to bite down on an impression tray full of putty in order to create a physical model. By providing a simple and effective alternative, digital impressions can support an office and its goals in many ways.
Benefits of Digital Dental Impressions
The transition to digital dental impressions is in full swing as more and more dentist offices continue to embrace their value. With little to no downside, offices have plenty of reason to transition to digital impressions, centering around five key benefits.
1. Patient Comfort
The process of gathering traditional impressions is one of the most uncomfortable experiences for patients. Many patients object to sitting in a dental chair for thirty minutes to an hour biting down on cold, goopy material for up to several minutes at a time. For many patients, this process is uncomfortable and difficult to sit through, especially if they have a gag reflex or sensitive teeth.
Of course, any movement during the process can also start to affect the quality of the impressions if the patient is uncomfortable and unable to stay still. However, digital impressions are more comfortable and more likely to be precise.
Digital impressions are as simple as moving the digital impression scanner tool throughout the mouth and are less invasive than a dental cleaning, so the patient will have little difficulty sitting through the procedure. Of course, patient comfort also has a snowball effect, as patient comfort helps improve their experience at your office and leads to better overall impressions.
2. Accuracy and Precision
The real power of digital impressions lies in their accuracy. The intraoral scanning tool allows you to capture all of the details and variations throughout the mouth, including both the soft tissue and the teeth. As a result, these impressions provide better accuracy and, therefore, a better fit.
Compared to a traditional impression, digital impressions are also easier to check for and correct errors before sending them to a lab. The designated software allows the dentist to view the impression on the screen and verify the accuracy before deciding that it is up to standard.
With this process, dentists are able to send impressions that are precise and reliable the first time, so there is no delay in the lab processing and manufacturing accurate restorations. More precise impressions lead to both a faster turnaround time and more comfortable, properly fitting restorations for the patient.
3. Increased Productivity
Not only are digital impressions better for the patient experience, but they also help improve the efficiency of your dental practice, saving you valuable time and money.
Digital impressions are much faster to do in the office, which helps decrease chair time so you can schedule more appointments and see more patients throughout the day. The ease of the process also helps to free up more time for dentists, as any staff member can take digital impressions. This gives the dentist the time to work on more complex cases, improving the overall workflow of the office.
Because the entire process is digital, there is also less paperwork to sort through and manage. This method also means that your impressions can be sent through a digital file straight to the lab. Between the speed at which the impressions are processed and the impressive accuracy, you are able to see your patient sooner and address their case more quickly.
4. Reduced Materials
With the enhanced productivity that digital impressions bring, the upfront cost of an intraoral digital impression scanner becomes well worth it in the long run. However, this cost becomes even more worth it when you consider what you will be saving in other areas. No matter how successful a dental clinic is, all offices are trying to cut back on costs, making digital impressions more valuable.
Taking traditional impressions is a material-intensive process, requiring the impression tray and the putty, among other materials. With the digital method, you are able to avoid running through considerable amounts of material for each patient.
Plus, when taking conventional impressions, there are a lot of things that can go wrong that can affect the quality of the impression. In some cases, it can take up to three tries just to get an accurate one. With digital impressions, mistakes are not only less likely, but they are less costly—retaking digital impressions does not lead to unnecessary waste.
The minimized use of materials means that digital impressions are also more eco-friendly. Traditional impressions require multiple materials, but after you are done, they go straight into the trash. Digital impressions use the scan tool, and that is all.
5. An Upper Hand Against the Competition
All of the above benefits culminate in one major advantage for your dental practice—they give your office a competitive advantage against other practices. With such a fast process, digital impressions also help improve patient satisfaction by decreasing the time it takes to receive restorations.
Patients will always prefer to choose a practice that will have their case taken care of in the most comfortable and convenient way. Using digital impressions helps to streamline multiple processes, from the speed at which you can take the impression to the turnaround time before receiving the completed restorations.
As a result, patients will be happy to recommend your practice and return to your office the next time they need a procedure that requires an impression.
Embrace the Benefits of Digital Impressions
With all their benefits, digital impressions are the future of dentistry. Therefore, getting started with digital impressions helps keep your practice ahead of the curve while providing exceptional care and convenience for your patients.
At PRO-Craft Dental Laboratory, we accept both digital impressions and traditional impressions to make it easy for any office to obtain quality dental restorations through our lab. Our goal is to make high-quality, personalized, and precise restorations accessible to any office and patient.
Contact us today to learn more about digital impressions, or explore all our options for restorations to see how you can take advantage of our state-of-the-art processes.