Differences Between Dental Digital Scans And Traditional Dental Impressions

Differences Between Dental Digital Scans And Traditional Dental Impressions

Posted by Phillip Hall on Jun 3 2023, 05:59 AM

Are you tired of those goopy, messy dental impressions? Well, the good news is that technology has revolutionized the way dentists take impressions. Say hello to digital scans! Digital scanning is a quick and painless alternative to traditional dental impressions, which uses computer-aided design (CAD) software for accurate results. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between dental digital scans and traditional dental impressions so you can make an informed decision about which one suits your needs best. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you through this exciting new world of dentistry!

What are dental digital scans?

Dental digital scans, also known as intraoral scanning, are a non-invasive and pain-free alternative to traditional dental impressions. It involves using a small wand-like device that takes high-resolution images of your teeth and gums from various angles in real time. The digital scanner captures all the details of your mouth's interior, including tooth position, contours, and color.

The information collected by the scanner is used to create a 3D virtual model of your teeth that can be viewed on a computer screen. Dentists use this model to diagnose dental problems accurately and plan treatments such as braces or prosthetics like crowns or bridges.

One of the main advantages of digital scanning is its speed. Unlike traditional impressions, which require several minutes for each tray filled with impression material placed in your mouth, intraoral scanners take only a few seconds per tooth. Plus, there's no need for patients to wait while trays set or worry about gagging during the process.

Dental digital scans offer an efficient way to obtain accurate diagnostic data without causing discomfort or anxiety for patients - making it an excellent option for those who fear visiting dentists!

What are traditional dental impressions?

Traditional dental impressions are a time-honored method of capturing the shape and size of teeth, gums, and surrounding tissue. This process involves using putty-like material that is pressed into the patient's mouth to create an imprint.

The first step in taking traditional dental impressions is applying a tray filled with the impression material onto the upper or lower arch of teeth. The dentist will then have you bite down on it firmly for several minutes until it sets.

Once set, the impression is removed from your mouth and sent to a lab, where they pour plaster over it to make an exact replica of your teeth.

While this technique has been used for decades, there have been some drawbacks such as discomfort during the procedure due to gagging or sensitivity issues. It can also be messy because of excess materials seeping out from under trays.

Despite these limitations, traditional dental impressions remain relevant today because they allow dentists to achieve high accuracy levels when creating crowns, bridges, or other restorations needed by patients.

How do digital scans compare to traditional impressions?

When it comes to dental impressions, traditional methods have been relied upon for decades. However, with the advent of digital technology, dental digital scans are quickly gaining popularity due to their numerous advantages over traditional impressions.

One of the most significant differences between digital scans and traditional impressions is the level of accuracy. Digital scans create a highly precise 3D image that captures even the smallest details of teeth and gums, while traditional impressions can be subject to distortions or inaccuracies.

Moreover, digital scanning is more comfortable for patients than traditional methods. Traditional impressions require patients to bite down on trays filled with putty, which can cause discomfort or gagging sensations in some people. In contrast, digital scanners use non-invasive wand-like devices that take images without causing any discomfort.

Digital scans also offer faster turnaround times compared to traditional impression techniques. The results from a scan are available almost instantly, whereas preparing and sending off an impression can take several days.

Digital scanning reduces waste by eliminating the need for disposable materials such as impression paste and trays used in traditional methods.

While both methods still have their place in dentistry, it's clear that dental digital scans offer numerous benefits over traditional impressions making them increasingly popular among practitioners and patients alike.


After looking at the differences between dental digital scans and traditional dental impressions, it is clear that both methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

Digital scans offer a more comfortable experience for patients, faster turnaround time, increased accuracy, and reduced waste. Traditional impressions may take longer to complete, but they are still highly accurate in capturing details of a patient's teeth.

It is also worth noting that some dental practices may not have access to digital scanning technology or may not be trained in using it yet.

Ultimately, the choice between digital scans and traditional impressions will depend on individual circumstances such as patient comfort level, dentist preference, practice capabilities, and cost considerations.

As technology continues to advance rapidly within dentistry we can expect further developments in this area with new innovations emerging all the time. Whether you prefer traditional methods or embrace new technologies, one thing remains certain - maintaining good oral health should always be our top priority!

For more information on our dental services, schedule an appointment with our dentist at Hallmark Dental Group or visit our dental office in St George at 335 East St George Blvd #201, Saint George, UT 84770. 

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