Carestream Dental: The Digital Era

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Carestream Dental's Nina Cartwright talks about digital impression taking and dental implant planning

Many in the dental industry would argue that the development of digital impression technology is one of the biggest revolutions in dentistry in recent years. It has made such a huge impact on every member of the team, including dental nurses, dentists and laboratory technicians, as well as patients. With the surge in demand for implants over the last decade or so, the advancements in digital impressions have come at the perfect time. More and more computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) software systems are capable of incorporating the needs of implants with impressive results.

Digital workflow
Conventional impression taking for any restorative procedure has always been stressful for the patient, the dentist and the dental technician. From the mixing of materials to selecting the correct tray size, avoiding tears or rips and handling moisture control – not to mention the complexities that patients present including anxiety, sensitive gag reflex, a dislike for the taste and impatience in the chair – there are many elements to consider in the practice. From the technician’s perspective, it is also not straightforward: the potential for incorrect stone mixtures, voids, dropped models and poor trimming are all risks. The digital workflow in this instance can certainly reduce the challenges faced.

Before digital impression became viable it was estimated that almost 50% of traditional impressions sent to the dental laboratory were unsuitable for the technician to produce an accurately fitting restoration. With digital impressions widely accepted to be more accurate, they ensure all the correct information is sent to the lab.

Output from dental laboratories can improve dramatically when working with practices that utilise digital technology such as intraoral scanners for impression taking for implants. Now, a digital impression can be displayed on a large monitor for the dentist to make a thorough visual examination which makes it much easier to spot faults, especially if the enhanced features are used, such as the zoom function and image rotation. The digital impression can then be sent to the laboratory within minutes, so the technician also has an opportunity to review the impression and advise in real time if any details are missing and need to be added.

Many CAD/CAM systems have dedicated implant workflows to simplify the acquisition process for the scanning of abutments or scan bodies. Working with practices that have the CS 3600 intraoral scanner and software system from Carestream Dental, for example, will mean you receive impressions that have been scanned twice – once with the scan body in place and one without —capturing even more precise data. The CS 3600 creates highly accurate scans of abutments and scan bodies for truly precise implant planning and restoration.

The dental implant arena is predicted to continue growing in the coming years. By working with practices that provide digital implant impressions, laboratories will soon reap the rewards and earn that all important return on investment.


Nina Cartwright is Carestream Dental's Product Manager. For more information, call 0800 169 9692 or visit 
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