Digital impressions are more accurate and more dependable than old “putty”. They’re also more comfortable and less of a daunting experience for patients. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how digital impressions work and why we use them. 

What is a digital dental impression?

A dental impression is an accurate mould of an individual’s teeth. Traditionally, this is complete using casting materials to create a negative imprint of the teeth. The imprint is then used to create a replica of the teeth’s shape. Modern advances in technology mean that we can now create virtual impressions of the hard and soft tissues in the mouth using special scanning devices. These digital impressions are highly accurate and can be complete in minutes, with minimum discomfort for the patient.

What does a digital dental impression involve?

You will receive an anaesthetic, and we dust your teeth with special titanium dioxide powder in order to scan. This allows Dr Serfontein to create a powder-free, 3D image of your teeth. We capture the digital impression using an intraoral wand that is inserted into your mouth and moved over the surface of the teeth. Our digital impressions also use a chairside monitor to display the impression image as it is captured. So, you can see the images as they’re captured!

Benefits of Digital Impressions vs Traditional Impressions

Digital impressions mean greater comfort

As a patient, the main benefit of digital impressions is comfort. Traditional impressions can be rather uncomfortable with their sticky putty and large plastic trays. The hard, long, hard sides of the tray extend far back in your mouth, which can cause a gag reflex. In addition, when the putty is removed, it can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Digital impressions, on the other hand, uses an intraoral scanner slim wand- no putty, trays or gagging. 

The scan itself is complete in just a few minutes. There’s taste and no mess to worry about. The result is a more pleasant and relaxing experience for you. 

Digital impressions equal greater accuracy

Putty impressions create a “negative impression” of the teeth. To see how the teeth really look, the dentist fills the impression  with clay-like material to form the 3D “positive” mould. All that modelling allows for small errors and imperfections that can interfere with your treatment plan. Digital impressions are free from these errors as they rely solely on the images captured during the scan. Since dental treatment is unique to every patient, starting with the most accurate data is essential to achieve good results. 

Easily shareable

Digital impressions are on a computer, so Dr Serfontein can share them with the dental lab or fabricator straight away. Faster retrieval of your data means your dental restorations will arrive quicker.

You’ll be able to start and finish treatment much sooner. Also, keeping those images on the computer lets Dr Serfontein access them easily throughout your treatment, so he can reference them as needed.

Greener alternative

Plastic trays and putty, and plastic used in traditional impressions wind up in the landfill eventually. Digital images are on a computer, so they don’t add to pollution. 

Find out more about our advanced technology 

Digital impressions rely on the most advanced dental technology. This means they’re not available at every practice. As a top dental practice in Cape Town, JJS Dentistry uses digital technology to create customised treatment plans for all patients. In addition, Dr JJ Serfontein has experience treating people from all across the world. 

If you’d like to learn more about digital impressions or how our restorations could improve your oral health or smile, contact our office to request an appointment