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What You Need to Know About Digital Impressions

Say goodbye to goopy impression material, and trays that cause gagging.   Say hello to modern day digital dentistry. Our practice is proud to offer you iTero impressionless scanning technology, which can be used for Invisalign®, appliances, and retainers.

iTero Digital Scanner

The iTero digital scanner is a light, handheld tool that takes 3D images of your teeth and mouth. It takes up to 6,000 frames per second and can generate a detailed model of your entire mouth on a computer screen. This ensures your orthodontist gets a complete image of your teeth.

The scanning device, also known as a wand, is easy to use and extremely comfortable for patients. The images it produces can be rotated and zoomed in to get an in-depth look at your teeth.


How It Works

Our certified orthodontic assistant will wave the wand across your teeth, scanning the inside of your palate and dental areas. iTero technology allows us to scan in motion and continuously move the wand throughout your mouth, capturing images as it goes.

The software automatically detects where the scanner is and when it changes position. Digital scans are developed immediately and the images of your teeth, palate, and mouth appear on the computer screen as soon as they are scanned in. The orthodontic assistant can monitor these images while scanning to make sure they digitally record every part of your mouth, ensuring a more accurate model of the teeth the first time, and eliminating the need to take multiple impressions. 

Advantages of Digital Scanning

Cleaner – Without any sticky impression material and large trays used to make clay impressions, digital scanning is much cleaner than alternative methods. Certified orthodontic assistants wield the wand easily in your mouth so you don’t have to worry about any gagging, uncomfortable tastes, or chalky residue left behind.


Faster – Digital scanning is also much faster than impressions. Because of the real-time scanning, images are available immediately for the orthodontist to see and review.

In the past, the putty molds would have to harden and dry before the orthodontist could even examine them. This could take hours, and sometimes after they were dry, they would have to be redone to create cleaner molds.

Now, a full model can be scanned and uploaded in a matter of minutes, giving you the ability to see your teeth instantly in 3D, improving communication during the consultation and treatment process.


More Reliable – Digital scans are much more reliable than putty molds. The digital software accounts for irregularities in the enamel of your teeth and gives a higher quality view of your mouth. It also captures images in color, which can make it easier to tell the difference between gum and tooth structures. The digital data saves every two seconds and is backed up to the hard drive so you don’t have to worry about losing your scans or patient history.  The image quality of digital scans is superior to conventional impressions, resulting in improved treatment, better fitting appliances, and a more comfortable patient experience 


Use with Invisalign – The iTero scanner can also be used with Invisalign products. This scanner is linked to the Invisalign software that creates aligners from digital scans. These images create a customized treatment plan for each patient. This streamlines the process, allowing us to transmit your models immediately to Invisalign electronically, and get your trays in our office faster.


Need for traditional Impressions – In some cases, traditional impressions may still be needed depending on what type of appliance or retainer is needed, but they are definitely being used less and less!

If you have any questions about digital scanning or want to know more, call us today at (603) 624-3900.