3D Imaging, 3D Printing, and Dental Technology

March 19, 2014 by Frost Orthodontics

Just as technology is revolutionizing just about every industry right now, orthodontics and dentistry are also benefiting from technological advances. New technologies such as digital imaging and 3D printing are changing the way orthodontists work while improving patient experience.

While these technologies are now starting to enter orthodontists’ and dentists’ offices, they have been used outside of the office for quite some time. For example, Invisalign uses 3D modeling and printing to make their invisible braces for patients. In fact, in the last year alone, Invisalign “printed” more than 17 million of their custom trays.

Until now, impressions for Invisalign trays have been taken with a plastic-like material applied to the patient’s teeth. This method is often messy, time-consuming, and uncomfortable. Now, however, more accurate impressions can be taken with the use of digital imaging technology like the iTero scanner.

Instead of a physical mold, a digital 3D model of a patient’s teeth is created in real-time. This not only gives the orthodontist more flexibility, but it also allows for a more accurate assessment of a patient’s current situation and the projected results of the best treatment option. Plus, these impressions can be sent to Invisalign instantly, drastically cutting down the time needed to receive new trays.

Orthodontists are not the only dental professionals benefiting from this kind of advanced technology. General dentists also use digital imaging and 3D printing in their own practices for taking better x-rays and making better fitting crowns, for example.

With high technology becoming more and more accessible, it will be interesting to see how these tools and methods will continue to develop in the coming years. All doctors are willing to embrace tools that will deliver more accuracy and flexibility in a faster and more comfortable way for the patient.

Thinking about braces or Invisalign? Contact Dr. Frost in Creve Coeur for a free consultation! We offer many different treatment options including Invisalign, the impressions for which are taken digitally with an iTero scanner for maximum accuracy and comfort.

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