In esthetic dentistry, digital imaging can be used to simulate the result of a planned treatment in advance. The procedure serves as a visualization and planning aid for the dentist and patient.
Indications (areas of application)
The use of digital imaging is significant for patients in that it provides them with a realistic treatment outcome, rather than having to rely on the result of their imagination. Communication misunderstandings between practitioner and patient can be significantly reduced as a result. For example, simulation is useful before:
- Measures of orthodontics to eliminate malocclusions.
- Invisible tooth correction (Invisalign)
- External and internal bleaching (teeth whitening)
- Replacement of amalgam fillings or gold inlays with tooth-colored restorations such as plastic fillings, resin, Cerec or ceramic inlays.
- Supply with veneers (wafer-thin veneers made of ceramic).
- Preview of a smile makeover.
Restrictions that must be made with a non-invasive procedure such as digital imaging do not exist. However, it should be made clear to the patient that while the simulation can ideally be very realistic, in no case can it be true to reality, and that circumstances may arise during the course of treatment that require rescheduling.
The dentist first creates professional extraoral and/or intraoral digital images of the patient’s situation (images outside or inside the mouth), depending on the indication. After transfer to the computer, these are processed using special software. The result of the computer simulation is a comparison of the before and after situation. This serves the dentist both to document the course of treatment and as a planning aid. In patient consultations, digital imaging is a very descriptive and thus essential communication aid, making it easier for the patient to decide for or against a proposed treatment or even to choose between different therapeutic or cosmetic alternatives.