A Big Impression
Grahame Dutton of Duxton Dental introduces us to new scanning technology that takes the goo out of making a good impression – for orthodontic treatment.
Until now, getting a mouth guard or model has involved making a good impression (or negative imprint) of hard teeth and soft tissue in the mouth: a process that involves having a tray of runny goo inserted into your mouth, and waiting for the viscous substance to set, all while trying to stifle your gag reflex.
But impressions are on their way out. We now have a digital scanner, which takes hundreds of photos to make an incredibly accurate virtual impression. All without the mess and discomfort associated with the old tray impressions.
The scanner is used firstly before we start treatment; to create records, which are then used to diagnose any problems so that a treatment plan can be devised. When it comes to orthodontics, the applications are particularly exciting. We can scan and email directly to Invisalign in Mexico where aligners are manufactured and posted back. Invisalign Teen is now widely used as an alternative to braces in young adults. Used with Invisalign Mandibular Advancement, it can even be used instead of the cumbersome old Twin Block appliances.
Using the digital scans, we can make removable appliances like Hawley Retainers. We simply email the scan to our lab in Dunedin, where a 3D printer creates a model, from which the appliance is produced. This is then sent back to us for fitting. With the scanner able to generate the data necessary to achieve the perfect fit, your child can choose the colour of plate to fit their personality.
Scans can also be taken for the fabrication of retainer wires, which are cemented to the back of the lower and sometimes upper front teeth to prevent relapse after the completion of orthodontic treatment.
The digital scanner has made a big impression: for one, our patients no longer have to sink their teeth into goo! For those tech-curious kids, and their parents, the applications are also fascinating to watch. It’s the way of the future without a doubt. Grahame Dutton and wife Christine Duxbury established Duxton Dental in 1996. As a dental surgeon, Grahame has an avowed commitment to researching and implementing new technologies and techniques in order to provide optimal dental care that is minimally invasive and that will stand the test of time.