Traditionally, when a patient has come into a dental or orthodontic clinic for a crown, bridge or braces, the process starts by making an impression of the patient’s teeth. A semi-solid material is placed in the mouth where it hardens to form a mold. Once removed from the mouth, the mold is filled with plaster, which hardens to create a precise model of the patient’s teeth. This model is then sent to a laboratory where technicians create the “appliance” prescribed for the patient.
This basic process has been used for over 100 years. But now 3M is leading dentistry to a more sustainable alternative, with the introduction of the 3M™ True Definition Scanner.
The 3M™ True Definition Scanner is a digital system that quickly and comfortably captures a 3-D video impression of teeth, reducing the amount of materials required to fabricate appliances and the need to ship physical molds to a lab. For example, when 3M’s own custom orthodontic Incognito™ Appliance System is created with the new digital process instead of traditional impressions, transportation costs are cut in half and material consumption is reduced by over 60%.
What’s more, because the 3M™ True Definition Scanner creates such consistent, accurate impressions, fewer remakes are required and the entire process is accelerated.
In the end, everyone is smiling. Patients spend less time in the dentist’s or orthodontists’ chair and dental professionals are able to reduce the amount of materials, time and labor they use in the process.
By replacing consumable materials with bytes, and shipping boxes with bandwidth, 3M is leading dentistry toward a more sustainable future.