What happens when a digital impression is created?

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Before you have a scan, your dentist will explain what will happen when the impression is created and answer any questions you have. Very little preparation is required for digital impressions and it will be over before you know it. Before your scan, your dentist may give your teeth a once over and remove any excess saliva or blood.

In some cases, a very fine and light powder is applied to the teeth before the scan takes place; this is titanium dioxide powder, which helps to ensure that the entire mouth can be visualised. The powder is completely safe and it won’t hurt or irritate your teeth or gums in any way. Some scanners (usually laser scanners) do not require the powder.

When you are ready, your dentist will start the procedure; most scanners are portable and they have a hand-held wand-like device, which can be moved around the mouth very easily and comfortably. The images detected by the scanner will then appear on the monitor.

Digital impressions can be formed as a series of images (this is most common) or as a video; when you have a number of images, these will be pieced together to form a complete and accurate impression.

In most cases, a digital impression can be formed in just 1-2 minutes.

As the images become visible on the monitor, the dentist can enlarge them, crop and zoom as they please to make sure there are no errors or oversights and ensure they get the best possible impression.

Once your dentist has the impression they need, they can send the images or video clips either to corresponding milling equipment or to the dental laboratory. These images form the foundation of the design of the new restoration or dental device.

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