STL files vs Alginate Impressions

STL files vs Alginate Impressions

Dentistry is changing, alginate models are on their way out, STL files are the new and improved way.
Dr. Medina’s alginate dental models are dated from 10-15-1992 and his STL digital dental models dated 6-11-2019.

There are many reasons why Dr. Norman Medina or one of our staff members at Seasons of Smiles may need to take an impression of your smile. Molds and images help our staff manufacture accurate prosthetics, such as dentures and dental bridges, that restore oral function. Alginate molds, for example, are made using a clay-like substance that has to be held firmly over a patient’s teeth for a few minutes. While those molds are still in use, many dentists are opting for digital alternatives that are less messy and more accurate.

If you are looking for a dentist in Camden Maine who works with state-of-the-art imaging, we welcome you to visit our friendly and warm dental office. Our dental practice employs advanced digital x-ray technology, computer-guided dental implant placement, and CAD/CAM. These techniques allow Dr. Medina to work more efficiently and accurately. If you have questions about STL files vs alginate impressions, this blog will serve as an overview. 

Alginate Impressions

Alginate is an elastic impression material. Alginate is frequently used in dental offices across the country, partly because the material is low in cost and accepted by most prosthetic laboratories. The material requires the skill of an experienced dentist if repeat impressions are to be avoided. Alginate can be used to make impressions for crowns, bridges, dentures, mouth guards, and bleaching trays.

The impression material is often made from power and then placed into a mouth tray. Wax and silicone can be used in conjunction with alginate, depending on the preferences of each dentist. Alginate must be firmly held in place to achieve a quality impression. Once the mold is separated, it can be sent to a laboratory for use in manufacturing a prosthetic or mouthpiece. 

STL Files

By now, we’re all familiar with 3D printing. The software that allows for three-dimensional printing and computer-aided design (CAD) is commonly known as STL. STL was invented by the Albert Consulting Group in 1987. If you have had a custom crown made at our dental office, you have benefited from computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and STL files. Our office offers zirconia crowns. Using CAM/CAD, we are able to offer a one-day turnaround on your custom dental crown.

While porcelain or PFM crowns may take weeks to fabricate in a dental laboratory, partly due to the time-intensive use of alginate impressions, zirconia crowns can be formed the same day your treatment begins. By forgoing multiple visits, our patients can avoid temporary resin crowns that can break or become loose. Imagine leaving with your custom-fitted crown just hours after entering our office!

Would you like to see the STL model of Dr. Medina’s teeth?  The Scanning Date: 06/11/2019. You will need special software to view the three dimentiontal file of his smile.  Download here.

Work With a State-of-the-Art Dental Practice in Camden, ME

Both alginate impressions and STL files offer unique benefits to our Camden Main customers. Advances in dental technology provide the staff of Seasons of Smiles with superior methods for taking images of teeth and supporting bone structure. That’s one reason why we employ digital x-rays, CAD/CAM, and computer-guided implant placement. 
Digital x-rays allow Dr. Medina to provide his patients with treatments that:

  • Have reduced exposure to radiation
  • Yield quicker results
  • Allow for image manipulation
  • Are environmentally conscious
I still have my dental models from dental school #LLUSD94. My dental models are dated 10-15-1992. As a dental student, we spent a lot of time learning to work with alginate, pouring stone models and trimming. STL files are the new and improved way to do dental models. Comparing my new models dated 6-11-2019. We are actively working on having STL of all our patients, for their dental records.   – Dr. Medina

The next time you stop in for a visit, ask us about our digital dental x-rays and advanced CAD/CAM technology! We are always glad to show off our high-tech equipment. We are particularly proud of our newest hi-tech toy — our Avegant Glyph. To learn more (or to schedule an appointment at Seasons of Smiles) contact our office online or call (207) 236-4740.

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