Creating a dental mold is always a time-consuming and uncomfortable process for patients who need a cap or a crown, and the gooey substance used to make the impression tastes bad.

“Patients don’t like the impression material,” Erica Teixeira, associate professor of operative dentistry in the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, says of the alginate used to create the mold.

Nick Deister, a dental technician, demonstrates technology in the College of Dentistry that simplifies making crowns for patients. Photo by Tim Schoon.

But digital technology has come to the rescue. Now, dentists can use a scanner to create a three-dimensional image of a patient’s teeth, which then is used to create the onlay, crown, dentures, or other needed restoration using a milling machine. Patients prefer

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