I think I can confidently say that having alginate impressions has been my least favourite part of undergoing adult orthodontics so I was extremely interested in taking up a kind offer from Dr. Asif Chatoo at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic to try their scanning technology.
The scanning was undertaken by their orthodontic nurse, Francesca De Rosa who took me through the whole process. Once seated, lip balm was applied and cheek retractors were placed to give Francesca a clear view of my teeth. She carefully dried each tooth surface and then started the scanning process. The scanner is attached to a computer and as she scanned my teeth, a 3D image started to appear on the screen. There is no contact between the scanner and your teeth and all you need to do is simply lie there and let Francesca gently guide the head of the scanner around your teeth. You hear a rapid clicking as the scanner takes multiple images of each tooth with the whole process only taking a few minutes. During the process I had none of the usual unpleasant sensations connected with conventional alginate impressions, the whole experience was really rather pleasant and a lot easier and more comfortable for the patient!
After the scan was complete, I was able to see an incredible 3D representation of my teeth that could be rotated and manipulated to enable a view from any angle. This was really quite remarkable technology and provides an essential tool used throughout the treatment of their patients. The next step would have been to have the image digitised into a format that enabled individual virtual manipulation of each tooth which would be used for treatment planning and wire design and there will be more about this in a future article.
There really is no comparison between traditional impressions and digital scanning, the whole experience was so very different and for those of you who struggle with alginate, I can definitely recommend this approach.
I’m incredibly grateful to the team at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic who provided this opportunity and for Francesca for taking me through the process.