Frequently, during the first regular orthodontic appointment, patients need to place two trays of wet plaster in their mouth for several minutes until the plaster hardens. This helps to create a mold of their teeth and gums which will be used to order appliances needed for orthodontic treatment. This process often causes gagging and is not generally seen as a pleasant experience for most patients, especially children. Sometimes the mold does not come out correctly and it needs to be redone.

The CEREC system is something currently being used by some orthodontists to help with this. The CEREC Omnicam, is the smallest, powder-free video camera available today. The CEREC is a guided scanning process using the CEREC Ortho software, and it allows dentists to quickly create a digital impression of the entire jaw. The impression data can be used to design and produce orthodontic appliances needed for treatment. Patients and orthodontists will save a considerable amount of time compared with the conventional methods with the plaster models. With this, the treatment can begin much earlier and is more comfortable for patients.

In addition to using CEREC, some orthodontic offices are also switching to the latest digital 3D scanners, which use lasers and cameras to scan the mouth and jaw and can create a precise 3D model of your teeth and gums. This 3D model is fast and can be immediately reviewed by your orthodontist. With this you are able to get your diagnosis and treatment plan without waiting. Unlike a plaster mold, this digital information will stay with your electronic patient record and will be easily accessible now and in the future. This helps while you continue treatment or if you need to come back for additional treatment. At Orthodontics Only, we use the latest equipment to help make the process as efficient and effective as possible.

Some 3D printers have problems of their own. They can take a long time, parts are known to be weak, and material choices are limited. Now a new 3D printing system has been introduced and is promising to significantly speed up the 3D manufacturing process by “growing” objects out of a pool of resin rather than printing them layer by layer. The company Carbon3D has announced its Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP). CLIP can produce commercial quality objects from a range of polymer based material at speeds between 25 and 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing. Some orthodontist offices will likely start looking at this new technology to make things more efficient and accurate for patients needing braces and other treatments.