Doctors are always looking for ways to save—save teeth, save patients time, save money. What about saving the environment? Without even realizing it, dentistry has a huge impact in the Earth: plastic impression trays pile up in landfills, paper charting can use up to 10,000 pieces of paper a year. The overarching solution is to switch to digital solutions, e.g., digital scanning instead of using impression material, digital charting instead of paper files. Today, in honor of Earth Day, we’ll take closer look at one such digital solution that can decrease dentistry’s footprint on the environment—intraoral scanning.
Let’s compare some of the aspects of the traditional impression workflow with using an intraoral scanner and how each affects the environment:
Plastic tray to take impression
|Ends up in landfill; 450 years to break down
||Few consumables, no trays whatsoever
Polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) impression
|Ends up in landfill; never breaks down
||Impression is digital, no physical impression
Courier drives to practice to pick up impression
|More cars on the road; carbon emissions
||Digital impression is sent via secure portal to lab
|OR Impression is shipped to lab
Paper, cardboard or styrofoam packaging; fuel used by delivery truck or airplane
|Digital impression is sent via secure portal to lab
By David Claridge, CAD/CAM Product Specialist
Long, long ago (during the Gypsum Age), arriving on the silicone and polyether shores of merry England, was the first intraoral impression scanner. It was wheeled ashore behind a dozen horses and handed to a caveman called Claridge. He was the Product Specialist for a unit that shall not be named (unless to say it was tethered to a cumbersome trolley. Claridge drove up and down the country in a special car with ramp access to his little Trojan Horse strapped in the back, and preached to any who would listen about the benefits of digital impressioning.
But the good dentists of the land asked lots of “can it do [fill in the blank]?” questions. These questions are still asked today, but there is a palpable shift that marks the development and adoption of intraoral scanners. So while Claridge was going around gathering ‘can it do’ questions, little hobbits at Carestream Dental were listening to this voice of customer feedback and taking notice. The answers to these questions fell into three categories… “Yes,” “No,” and “Not today.” You see, change happens, and has happened. In those early days, the great majority of replies were either “No” or “Not yet.”
Today, the vast majority of the ‘can it do’ questions I now receive are answered with a resounding “Yes it can!” Can it scan without powder? Can I send my scan anywhere i.e. is it truly open? Is it in HD colour? Can I store digital study models and re-import if I need them? Can I move it from room to room, over several floors? Can it scan implant scan bodies? Can I mark the margins? Can I use it for partial dentures, splints, retainers, aligners, crowns, bridges? Yes! YES!! YES!!! Continue reading
By Jan Einfeldt
Clinical Director of Staplehurst Dental Practice
What’s important to patients is also important to dentists and vice versa. We all benefit from efficient processes that enhance comfort, accuracy and minimise stress.
From the patient’s perspective, dental impressions haven’t traditionally offered the most pleasant experience. The availability of digital intraoral scanners has changed this drastically, providing a much more comfortable alternative[i]. For dentists, intraoral scanners offer many benefits in addition to encouraging patient satisfaction. They also have the potential to enhance the professional workflow, simplifying the impression-taking process and making everything from capture to storage of impressions easier. Plus, you can’t lose digital impressions like you can in the post or in filing cabinets.
The simple fact is that not all of us are great at taking impressions. Slight movement or a momentarily lapse in concentration can cause a less-than-perfect impression. The intraoral scanner increases the accuracy of the impression significantly[ii] and studies have found that trueness and precision[iii] can vary from scanner to scanner. As quality of the impression now depends on correct use of the scanner rather than experience with materials, we could soon see other members of the team taking impressions, instead of the dentist. Continue reading
As the year comes to a close, Carestream Dental reached out to industry leaders asking for their predictions for oral health care in 2017. The chief editor of Dental Economics, Chris Salierno, D.D.S, had this to say:
By Chris Salierno, D.D.S, Chief Editor, Dental Economics
The way we practiced dentistry in 1955 was not all that different from 1965. Ditto for 1965 to 1975, and so on until we reached the new millennium. Sure, there were major innovations in technology and materials along the way, but they didn’t occur at the accelerated pace that they do today. Now, compare how dentistry was practiced in 2005 to 2015, the same ten year span, and you’ll be able to identify significantly more advancements in the way we provide care. This exponential growth in technology is not just unique to our profession and is observable in everything from cell phones to how we order a taxi cab.
The benefit of intraoral scanning has a little to do with easy impression capture and a lot to do with better clinical outcomes.
When oral health professionals incorporate a 3D HD intraoral scanner into their implant workflow, they can create their treatment plans virtually and execute them with more proficiency. The resulting outcomes are consistently more accurate and precise.
Read this white paper to explore the various ways that intraoral scanning facilitates oral surgery procedures. It examines:
- Surgical uses of intraoral scanners
- Conventional versus digital impressions in the implant workflow
- Scanning for a standard abutment or a scanbody
- Digital workflow for the lab
- Scanning for guided surgery
- Advantages of intraoral scanning
- Return on investment
Intraoral Scanners: What They Could Mean for Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Practice also explores the benefits to be gained: enhanced communication with referrals, better outcomes for patients, greater patient loyalty and a healthier bottom line.
Download the whitepaper to discover how intraoral scanning can maximize the overall efficiency of oral surgical procedures:
Many manufacturers tout the trueness, or accuracy, of a digital intraoral scanner in the same breath as precision. While both are important features of any scanner, the two concepts are not interchangeable. According to a recent study1 published in PLOS ONE, an online scientific journal, “an intraoral scanner should possess high trueness…but also high precision.” Let’s take a look at the difference between the terms and why both are vital for the best digital impressions.
First, trueness is a scanner’s ability to scan an object and replicate it as closely as possible to the original item—in this case, teeth, gingiva, abutments, etc. The more accurate the scanner, the more likely the digital impression on the screen will mirror the patient’s actual teeth. Precision, on the other hand, is a scanner’s ability to produce the same results consistently. If you picture a target, an accurate shot would mean the arrow hit the bullseye; or at least came incredibly close. Precise shooting would result in a grouping of several arrows close together, though not necessarily near the bullseye.
Implant placement has become the treatment of choice for completely and partially edentulous patients. With more and more implants being placed, keeping up with demand can be difficult. However, with the ability to make your laboratory workflow more digital, time can be saved to create a more cost-effective, high-quality outcome. 1
Implant-based treatment provides infinite possibilities to practitioners, but it often represents a more time- and cost-intensive solution compared to traditional therapy alternatives with conventional tooth-supported fixed dental prostheses. Reducing the overall clinical treatment and technical production time to achieve a reasonable cost-benefit ratio—in combination with a high-quality outcome—can bring benefits to all concerned. Time is saved by eliminating many of the steps, including pick-ups and chemical-based processes. The delivery of restorations is also quicker and there is less chance of having to provide remakes and returns with a digital workflow.1
Many labs have already started transitioning to a digital workflow, as increased demand, technology advances and the growing shortage of technicians creates an enhanced need for improved productivity. Single digital work steps have begun to infiltrate classical impression-taking procedures, dental master cast fabrication, lost-wax casting techniques and individual finalization of the restoration with hand-layered veneering ceramics. For many years, dentists have taken an impression, sent their prescription off to the laboratory and waited for up to two weeks for a finished restoration to be returned. The restoration could then need further adjustments, despite the best efforts of the dentist and technician. The development of a completely digital workflow has the potential to change the entire process. At first glance, the new systems may seem complicated, but ultimately digital solutions can drastically streamline procedures for both the dentist and lab. Nevertheless, although changes are growing in the field of implant prosthetic treatment, the result of this evolution is a mixed conventional-digital workflow. Continue reading
Delivering predictable restorative outcomes is essential in implant cases. Through advancements in 3D and CAD/CAM technology, oral surgeons are better able to use a complete digital workflow to plan a case, fabricate a custom abutment, and fabricate and insert the crown.
In the Implant Practice article below, I describe how I treated a patient who presented with a congenitally missing left mandibular second premolar as well as the efficiencies experienced through the use of an integrated digital workflow.
Overall, when compared with conventional dentistry, a digital workflow allows us to complete a case—such as this one—in fewer steps and with enhanced patient comfort and satisfaction in mind.
Whether they are used for restorative, orthodontic or implant cases, intraoral scanners are continuing to grow in popularity. And, as their use increases, so does the demand for more intuitive technology.
Keeping in line with the need for a smarter intraoral scanner, Carestream Dental announced the launch of its newest scanner: the CS 3600. Watch the video from the Chicago Midwinter press event below to learn more about the scanner’s unique features, including continuous scanning capabilities, an Intelligent Matching system and high-definition full HD 3D images. Continue reading
If you’re an avid reader of the blog, you’re sure to know the benefits of intraoral scanners and digital impressions. Intraoral scanners are less messy than traditional impressions; require fewer consumables; provide a more comfortable experience for patients; help practices build better relationships with labs; and result in faster turnaround from scan to appliance or restoration. But, in the spirit of being balanced, we’ve decided to focus on how to take traditional impressions for a change… Continue reading