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31 May 2012 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Witnessing the evolution of digital impression solutions

Digital Impressions Intraoral Scanning Digital Dentistry

Dr Svend Carlsen has been a dentist for over 50 years and has always taken an active interest in the most advanced technologies within the dental profession. Today, he runs his Herregaard Center Dental Clinic in Faaborg, Denmark, using the brand new 3Shape TRIOS digital impression system on a daily basis.

"Since 1982, I've used various types of intra-oral scanners for taking impressions digitally with varying degrees of success," he said. "A little over a year ago, I attended an event that included a demonstration of 3Shape's TRIOS system. This experience renewed my belief that digital impression technologies could, in fact, fulfill all our needs. Today we use the 3Shape TRIOS system for most of the impressions in our clinic for single-tooth crowns and bridges.

"With some other digital impression systems that I've used, there has been a need to make small corrections before the final crown could be placed in the patient's mouth. This should not be necessary.

"One of the great benefits of using TRIOS is being able to view an enlarged image of the prepared tooth, with every detail clearly displayed. This enables you to identify and immediately correct areas where the tooth preparation is not sufficiently smooth or sharp. This level of control means that only correct information is sent to the laboratory. It also provides effective control of our own work.

"Patients are also rather impressed that we can take an impression so quickly and so easily. I think that the high degree of control that dentists can demonstrate with this technology creates a greater sense of security for patients. Patients can follow their own treatment on the screen and thus better understand what it entails."

Dr Carlsen said that ease-of-use was a further advantage of the 3Shape TRIOS digital impression system.

"With previous systems, it was necessary to maintain a completely steady hand while scanning. The slightest movement of the patient or the operator's hand was enough to create a useless image. The new scanners allow a high degree of freedom of movement and this makes it much easier to get a good picture."

3Shape TRIOS captures a digital impression in the clinic and transmits the design to the laboratory to create the restoration.

"From my own experience, chairside milling systems are tempting for many dentists. In relation to my business, I have no doubt that it's better for me to outsource my milling needs. More importantly, in my opinion, skilled dental technicians will usually provide better restorations than dentists can. They are simply better artists and have had more practice."

So have digital impression solutions come to stay?

"I think that digital impression taking will soon be commonplace in all clinics. Even in a little town such as ours, all four dental clinics are equipped with their own digital impression systems. Actually, we find that our area's high-tech profile affects competition because it helps us attract patients from other cities. We also see a clear trend amongst laboratories. More and more labs are working with advanced digital systems that allow them to mill crowns directly from our digital impressions - without first manufacturing a model. This means that we can get our crowns back from the lab even faster."

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