Developing technologies have started to take the system to a completely different dimension in dentistry as in all fields. By minimizing the margin of error due to subjective communication or human touch, it has enabled patients to access higher level treatments. Digital systems are now showing great improvements at every stage from examination and facility to taking measurements, from designing and producing prostheses. In this article, we aim to explain and clarify the digital impression stage in the digital workflow.
What is a digital impression?
Digital impression is the process of creating a three-dimensional model by introducing the mouth and teeth to the system with smart intraoral scanners. This process starts with taking hundreds or even thousands of consecutive photographs with the help of a small camera at the end of our intraoral scanners. The two-dimensional photographs are combined with artificial intelligence to create a three-dimensional model. In this three-dimensional model, you can see the structures, forms, sizes and alignments of all the teeth in your mouth from every angle when you look at the screen. We can explain the condition of your mouth by showing you the scan taken during the examination, and we can also store it in our archive and compare it with the first state of the mouth, at the end of the treatment or years later.
Uses of digital impressions
- To evaluate the relationship between the teeth during the examination, not only from the outside but also from the inside (tongue side).
- Thanks to the algorithm of artificial intelligence, it is possible to see which teeth carry more load during chewing and at which points they are in contact with each other.
- Enabling the patient to better understand the treatment and ask any questions they may have.
- To take small internal measurements for production with digital 3D systems such as porcelain fillings (inlay, onlay), full zirconium or emax dentures, porcelain laminates, implant prostheses, surgical plates (surgical guide) for implant surgery.
- To archive the patient’s mouth condition in a digital environment without distortion and to determine the change in the mouth over the years by comparing the old impression in the archive with the current impression
What are the stages of digital measurement
- The intraoral scanner is turned on and the system is made ready for use.
- A patient file is created and a record is opened to avoid confusion with other measurements.
- The patient is taken in the arm and an intraoral examination is performed for compliance with the measurement.
- After the examination, the teeth are dried so that the image is clearer before scanning. Then, according to the digital system used, the six upper jaws are scanned respectively. During the scan, the back and chewing surfaces of the teeth are introduced to the device in a systematic way.
- After the upper and lower jaws are scanned with the correct method, the patient is asked to bite firmly with the back teeth and not to move them at all for the bite measurement. After the patient is fixed in the correct bite, the dental relationships (bite) of the right and left sides are scanned separately.
- After the scans are finished, the fit of the 3D model with the inside of the mouth is checked and finalized. In this way, all scan data is transformed into a form that can be sent to the technician and 3D designs can be made on it.
What are the advantages of digital impressions?
I think we will fill in a little too much under this heading, because not only using a device in its raw form, but knowing the features of the devices we use and combining them with our clinical vision opens another window for us. One of the biggest advantages of digital measurement is TIME. In a time when time is precious and flows fast, this loss of time is a loss of productivity for people. Both shortening the treatment and appointment time and speeding up the production process is a very valuable advantage offered by our digital systems. Another advantage, minimizing the margin of error, supports the time advantage by reducing the number of sessions.
The warning system of artificial intelligence significantly reduces our margin of error in the measurement phase as in the whole process. Making a presentation on 3D models during the examination, showing the problematic area clearly to our patient erases the question marks in the patient’s mind and increases his/her understanding of the treatment, asking questions and trust in his/her physician.
Thus, it eliminates the stress of being treated with question marks in mind. In the past, we used to achieve this by taking measurements with the traditional method and explaining it to the patient on the plaster model. However, thanks to the digital method, we eliminate the waiting time to create a plaster model. In addition, we save patients from nausea, choking sensation and discomfort problems that occur in patients while taking measurements with dough-like measuring material.
Finally, the ease of archiving and the difficulty in storing protected plaster models eliminates the risk of breakage and loss. Thus, when our patients come years later, we can compare their old scans with their current scans and examine the changes more clearly. Especially in patients with teeth clenching (bruxism) problems, it provides the opportunity to make comparisons and to design a design that can bring worn teeth back to the size they were years ago by using old scan data and then to make prosthesis accordingly. If you want to be examined with intraoral scanners or to be treated with the precision of digital systems, do not forget to make an appointment with our clinic. We wish you a healthy day!