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3D Digital models – new technology improving patient experience and results

Digital Image Scanning

We always aim to incorporate new technologies that improve our overall service to our patients.

For example, a number of years ago we bought a state of the art x-ray machine that has the joint benefit of offering convenience to our patients who require dental imaging  and making sure that Dr Lipshatz is working  with the best quality Xrays and that they are available to him almost immediately.

Some pretty exciting advances in technology happen behind the scenes too.

Nearly two years ago, we introduced Digital Model Scanning to our surgery.

For diagnosis and effective treatment planning, Dr Lipshatz needs an exact replica of the patient’s teeth, gingiva and surrounding tissues. In the past, the Orthodontic Nurse would take an intra oral mould , and we courier  would send this to a laboratory where a technician would pour plaster into the mould and cast a physical reproduction of the patient’s dentition that needed to be labelled, stored in a protective box and transported back to us . model boxes




It was a cumbersome process involving time, couriers and the chance of breakages and delays.

The new machinery allows our trained staff to scan the impression that was taken from the patient’s mouth and create a full 3D digital reproduction. This full imagery allows Dr Lipshatz to accurately assess the way the teeth fit in, the extent of crowding and it is part of the information used in deciding if extractions are necessary for the best orthodontic result.

Planning a beautiful smile is a science requiring accurate data , and the digital scanning system allows for a more efficient and precise method for obtaining some of this .

Digital model scanner in action

Digital model scanner in action

We are very proud of our staff who have learnt this new technology, and are dedicated to making sure we receive optimal images every time so that ultimately the orthodontic results are the best quality for each patient. The process takes about 20-30 minutes for each set of models and requires a proficient team member to use the equipment.

In addition to accuracy, the system allows convenience – if at any stage during treatment Dr Lipshatz would like to refer to the original models as part of his treatment planning, he can do so with the click of a mouse – rather than retrieving plaster models from upstairs store

It also means information can be stored indefinitely unlike the physical models that are thrown away after a certain number of years.

Can we advance any further in this area? – The ultimate aim is to produce these digital models without having to use the alginate impression material in the mouth.

There are some systems currently available that use a scanner directly in the mouth, precluding the need for “goo in the mouth” but at this stage it takes a long time for each dental arch to be scanned – meaning greater discomfort and longer appointment times for patients. However, this technology will certainly improve and watch this space – in 5-10 years we will be explaining our new all-digital system!!

In the meantime, know that we are using state of the art technology in all areas of your treatment, and we would love to show off our machine to you if you are interested!!

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