Zur Hauptnavigation springen Zum Inhalt springen

Digital Impressions in Dentistry: Benefits and Applications

| Knowledge

The impression of the patient's oral situation is the basis for the correct creation of implants, crowns and the like, and the digital impression is the entry into the world of digital dentistry. This article is intended to explain the advantages of digital impressions and how they are created and used.

1 Digital impression taking: precision and efficiency in dental technology

Digital impressions represent a revolutionary advance in dental technology and mark an important turning point in dental diagnostics and treatment. This method, also known as digital dental impressions, uses intraoral scanners to create precise 3D images of the oral cavity and teeth. In this article, the basics, applications and benefits of digital impression taking are explained in detail to provide a comprehensive understanding of this advanced technology.

1.1 Basic principles of digital impression taking

Digital impressions use intraoral scanners to scan the oral cavity. These devices capture high-resolution images of the teeth and gums and convert them into digital 3D models. In contrast to traditional impression methods using impression materials, this technology enables more precise, fast and convenient data capture. It is particularly advantageous in areas such as prosthetics, orthodontics and implantology.

A fundamental principle of digital impression taking is the significant time saving that this modern approach offers. In contrast to traditional methods, which require the mixing, application and curing of impression materials, the digital capture of the impression takes place in real time. The data is available directly after the scan and enables immediate further processing. This not only facilitates the rapid continuation of treatment planning, but also allows the results to be sent immediately to dental laboratories.

Digital impressions are also extremely precise. They capture even the finest details of the tooth structure and therefore enable very precise fabrication of dentures or orthodontic appliances. In addition, the digital data can be used for various medical purposes, depending on the patient's specific indication.

1.2 Intraoral scanner technologies

Intraoral scanners use different technologies to capture the oral cavity:

•    Active triangulation: This method uses lasers or structured light to capture the tooth surface. The distortion of the light pattern is then used to create an accurate 3D model.

•    Confocal microscopy: This technique uses a focused light to capture precise sections of the tooth surface. These sections are then combined to create a three-dimensional image.

•    Stereo measurement: This technology works in a similar way to 3D photography by taking images from different angles and combining them to create a 3D image.

The scanners also vary in their acquisition mode (single image mode vs. video mode), in the scan type (color scan vs. monochrome scan) and in the conditioning of the tooth surface (powder-free vs. powdered).

1.3 Accuracy and its parameters

Accuracy is a decisive factor in digital impression taking. It is made up of two main parameters:

•    Accuracy: This refers to the actual deviation of a measurement from an objective, known quantity.
•    Precision: This refers to the ability to achieve consistent results with repeated measurements.

1.4 Advantages of digital impressions

Digital impressions represent a significant improvement over traditional impression methods and offer numerous advantages that are important for both the practitioner and the patient:

•    Real-time display: One of the outstanding features of digital impressions is their real-time display. This allows the dentist to make immediate checks and adjustments. If a problem arises during the scanning process or an area has not been adequately captured, the practitioner can react immediately and make corrections without the patient needing a new appointment.

•    Repeatability and selectivity: Digital impression systems offer high repeatability and selectivity. This means that specific areas in the mouth can be targeted, which is particularly advantageous for complex restorations or in orthodontics. In addition, digital technology allows the same region to be captured repeatedly to ensure the best quality and accuracy.

•    No model wear: Unlike physical impressions, which can wear out over time, digital models are permanent and can be modified or reprinted without loss of quality. This is particularly important for long-term archiving of patient data and for cases where future comparisons or re-treatments are required.

•    Hygiene: Digital impressions are more hygienic than conventional methods. As no physical impression materials are used, there is no need for disinfection and cleaning. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination and improves general practice hygiene.

•    Analysis options: Digital models allow for detailed examination and analysis. With advanced software, dentists can thoroughly analyze various aspects of tooth structure and occlusion, leading to more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

•    Material savings: Digital impressions eliminate the cost and effort of traditional impression materials such as alginate or silicone. This not only leads to cost savings, but is also more environmentally friendly as fewer disposable materials are used.

•    Direct further processing: Digital impression data can be seamlessly integrated into the digital workflow. This speeds up the process of manufacturing dentures, orthodontic appliances or surgical guides and enables more efficient collaboration with dental laboratories.

•    Chairside procedure: Digital impressions allow dentists to use chairside procedures, which means that dentures or orthodontic appliances can be produced directly in the practice. This significantly reduces the waiting time for patients and enables faster treatment.

Overall, digital impressions offer a combination of precision, efficiency and patient comfort that makes them an indispensable technology in modern dentistry.

1.5 Purchase criteria for intraoral scanners

The purchase of an intraoral scanner is a significant investment for any dental practice or dental laboratory. To make the right decision, the following key factors should be considered:

1. scanning fees and system compatibility:

  • Long-term costs: Some manufacturers of intraoral scanners charge fees for each scan or for the use of their software. These costs should be taken into account when planning your budget.
  • System integration: The compatibility of the scanner with other systems used in the practice is crucial. A scanner that works seamlessly with existing CAD/CAM systems, practice management software or digital dental laboratories can significantly increase efficiency.

2. purchase price:

  • The price of an intraoral scanner varies depending on the brand, model and features offered. It is important to choose a scanner that takes into account both the practice's budget and the required functions.
  • In addition to the purchase price, the costs for maintenance, software updates and possible repairs should also be taken into consideration. An inexpensive scanner can be more expensive in the long term if frequent maintenance or updates are required.

3. accuracy:

  • Accuracy is one of the most important criteria when selecting an intraoral scanner. Higher accuracy usually means better treatment results and more satisfied patients.
  •  It is important to evaluate the accuracy of the scanner for different types of impressions, such as single crowns, bridges or full jaw impressions. Some scanners are more accurate in certain applications than others.
  • Accuracy also depends on the user-friendliness of the scanner. A device that is easy to use reduces the risk of application errors and therefore improves overall accuracy.

Overall, the decision to use an intraoral scanner should be based on careful consideration of these factors. An informed decision will ensure long-term satisfaction and increased efficiency in the dental practice.

1.6 Conclusion

Digital impressions represent a significant advancement in dental diagnostics and treatment. Through the use of modern intraoral scanners, it offers a precise, fast and patient-friendly alternative to traditional impression methods. This technology has proven to be groundbreaking for a range of dental applications, from restorations to orthodontic treatment.

imes-icore offers optimal solutions for dentists and dental laboratories who want to stay at the forefront of technological development. Interested parties are welcome to contact the experts at imes-icore directly for further information.