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6 Ways Digital Beats Traditional Dental Impressions
March 1, 2023

Traditional dental impression trays

Modern dentist offices like ours have been using digital dental impressions for quite a while now, but patients are still amazed that this surprisingly quick, painless, and accurate high-tech tool beats out traditional impressions across the board.

We cannot stress the benefits of digital impressions enough. That’s why we put together this quick list comparing digital impression technology to traditional dental impressions. You may be surprised to find out all the benefits of this remarkable treatment method.

What are Dental Impressions?

We take dental impressions to create a “map” of your mouth, including the precise shape and location of each tooth, the structure of your jaw and bite, and the shape of your gums. Dentists use dental impressions to make crowns, bridges, implants, veneers, dentures, Invisalign aligners, night and sports guards, custom tooth whitening trays, and more.

For decades impressions were taken using a U-shaped tray filled with a malleable substance that would form to the shape of your teeth and then be hardened into a mold. This worked well, but now we are in the digital age, and technological advances mean better options. Digital dental impressions use 3-D imaging technology to quickly and accurately scan the inside of your mouth, resulting in a near-perfect picture of your teeth and gums.

Benefits of Digital Impressions

This technology is truly impressive, and there are so many benefits to digital impressions that we want to share with you.

More Comfortable

It goes without saying that digital impressions are more comfortable than traditional trays. The tray method uses a sticky, gooey, puddy-like substance that takes time to form into the shape of your teeth. This experience can be even worse for those with a sensitive gag reflex or dental anxiety.

Take Impressions in Less Time

Neither impression process takes a very long time, but when you are uncomfortable, minutes can feel like forever. Traditional trays must be prepared, placed on your teeth for a certain duration, and then hardened once removed. This process can take 15 minutes or longer to complete. A digital scan can be done in even less time. And with less discomfort, it can feel like no time at all!

More Accurate

Believe it or not, digital scans are more accurate than traditional tray molds. Digital scanners create incredibly detailed high-definition 3-D images. Traditional impressions are simply not as precise. In addition, with traditional trays, there are more opportunities for errors, resulting in potentially having to repeat the process and slowing down treatment timelines.

Getting an accurate picture is important. When getting treatments such as Invisalign, you want very accurate impressions so that your aligners fit well and are as comfortable and effective as possible.

Complete Treatment Faster

Digital scans are transmitted, well, digitally. This means that the lab that will fabricate your dental appliance receives them almost immediately and can get started right away. Traditional molds must be mailed to the lab, which can add time to your treatment.

They Last Forever

Digital scans are also stored digitally. For this reason, they are easy to store and transmit for future use if they are needed. A physical mold will be used to fabricate your appliance and will be disposed of after they are no longer needed.


Who doesn’t want to help the environment? Digital scans mean fewer materials are needed (like plastic trays and molding material) and less waste. In addition, because they can be transmitted to the lab digitally, that is no need for fuel to ship.

Choosing a Modern Dentist

New dental technology means more comfortable visits and better results. Schedule your appointment today and let us surprise you with how much better dental treatment can be with a high-tech, modern approach to oral health care.


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