Computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) was introduced to dentistry around 1990 with the first prototype device for digital tooth impressions.
After years of evolution, now oral scanning is a relatively quick and easy way to create an optical impression of the inside of the patient’s mouth, teeth and gums. No dental impression trays.
The small optical hand-held scanner is a wand using an LED light that goes directly into the patient’s mouth to record the teeth directly, captures colored images using scanning software This skips the impression stage and then produces a 3D model. The scan is displayed on a computer. A digital bite reading between upper and lower teeth is also taken. The color and shade of the adjacent teeth are matched and relayed to the lab technician.
The technique is safer than impressions and improves patient comfort.
No trays, no gagging, less waste, increased efficacy and accuracy, no producing models, no transportation to the dental laboratory.
The needed information is immediately transferred to the digital-enabled laboratory through WIFI. The collaborating lab then constructs the prosthetic.
We are creating these patient friendly optical impressions of the inside of our patient’s mouth to fabricate occlusal and night guards, veneers, crowns, bridges, implant retained prosthetics and aligners.
Oral scanning is rapidly replacing material impressions in digital dentistry.
The question in my future is what technology will bring about even better dentistry.