How digital impressions have changed the face of dentistry

The way in which dentists take impressions of your teeth has changed dramatically in the past 20 years and an increasing amount of practices are leaving the hassle and discomfort of alginate impressions behind. The development of digital impressions has benefited both dentist and patient, making treatment more streamlined, more accurate, and more comfortable.

A dental impression is a mould or cast of your teeth and mouth, from which restorations and appliances can be created. Digital impressions began to emerge in the early 1980s and are now an integral part of modern dentistry, though a great many practices in the UK still use alginate impressions. These involve having a liquid impression material applied to the teeth via a tooth-shaped tray – the tray is placed over the upper and/or lower set of teeth and the result is a cast from which your dentist can work. This method of taking impressions has a few complications associated with it, especially when compared to the digital system – take a look at how digital impressions trump alginate impressions in a number of areas….

  • Comfort – alginate impression material is gloopy, not particularly pleasant on the taste buds, and can often induce a gag reflex in patients.
  • Increased accuracy – as a gag reflex is brought on, this can make the patient (through no fault of their own) move their mouth whilst the impression material is doing its job, jeopardising the accuracy of the impression. The digital scanner is lightweight and small, making it easy to take a perfectly accurate impression the first time around.
  • Less chair time – Due to the reasons explained above, it can take repeated attempts before a satisfactory impression is obtained where alginate impressions are concerned. In contrast, the digital system yields highly accurate results in significantly less time, reducing the patient’s chair time and cutting overall treatment time.

The impact of digital impressions for patients

Many patients are put off by the discomfort associated with traditional impressions and, in many cases, avoid having the treatment they need. Today, patient expectations are high and here at Keppel Advanced Dentistry we strive to offer the highest quality of treatment possible – this includes investing in cutting-edge technology that eases the patient experience.

What type of dentistry are dental impressions used for?

  • Orthodontics – creating orthodontic appliances
  • Creating crowns
  • Custom abutments for dental implants
  • Models for diagnostic study
  • Models for custom-made whitening trays
  • Custom-made orthodontic mouthguards for contact sport


If you would like more information about digital impressions and treatment at Keppel Advanced Dentistry, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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