As the name suggests, digital orthodontic treatment is orthodontics aided by digital technology. Different from traditional orthodontics where patients and orthodontists work with analog generic braces and hand bent wires and the pink goop to get impressions, digital orthodontics can allow the orthodontist to make measurements, manufacture appliances, clear aligners, wires, and retainers with no-goop 3D printed impressions!
So what’s the workflow of digital orthodontics?
iTero Scanning and 3D Printing
Our office was among the first to transition our impression taking and dental cast making protocol to a digital format. We use a digital video scanner to capture images of your child’s teeth and bite. During the visit, you can see these images live on a monitor. Your orthodontist can see and adjust the accuracy of the scan in real time.
A typical scan usually takes less than 5 minutes and doesn’t require retakes and doesn’t require the dreaded impression with the gooey runny impression material!
The computer connected to the scanner combines these images into a highly-accurate 3D image. Again, this image is ready for review in real time. Once your orthodontist approves the scan, the 3D model goes to the lab for fabrication instantly.
This 3D printed model becomes the impression your orthodontist can use for your appliances like expanders, retainers, custom wires and brackets, and clear aligner therapy using Invisalign. The orthodontist also uses it as a study model to track a patient’s progress during and after the treatment.
Digital orthodontics are speedy and comfortable. In the past, the orthodontist and patient have to send everything away and then wait to get everything back. Digital orthodontics makes everything efficient by reducing the number of visits it takes to perform treatment. It also takes away the fear invoking experience of impressions. These are especially difficult for youngsters! The experience of having an orthodontic evaluation and fitting are now a friendlier experience, especially for kids, pre-teens and teens with sensitive gag reflexes, anxiety, or special needs.
Digital treatment planning is very beneficial when multiple dentists are required to provide a service to a patient as communication is greatly improved.
And last but certainly not least, digital treatment planning allows for a more efficient treatment experience as unnecessary orthodontic movements common to previous methods are avoided and treatment can be more direct from start to finish.
We are proud of the efficiency that our office has developed over 50 years of providing orthodontic treatment and we are proud to offer proven technological upgrades over the years when the treatment experience of our patients is greatly improved.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.