What Can Intraoral Scanners Do?

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

Digital Impressions And Increased Patient Satisfaction: The Two Go Hand In Hand

In modern society, we expect immediacy in nearly everything we do.

Take information access. We expect immediate results when we search a topic on the internet. And, thanks to Google, fiber optics and super-fast connections, our search results show up in a second or two.

In the same way that modern technology has brought us information that’s immediate available, it has also provided instant communication. Considering the very first mobile phone only went on sale to the public a little over 30 years ago (DynaTAC in the US cost almost $4,000 each at the time!), it is astounding to think how far we have come in such a short amount of time.

Dentistry, however, did not embrace “digital” at the same pace, but it has caught up. Technology has advanced, traditional processes and techniques have been refined, protocols streamlined and high quality achieved. Today’s digital workflow enhances communication among the dental team, allowing the transfer of more information faster and more efficiently for the benefit of the dentist and patient—and the lab.

In the days before CAD/CAM, communication between the dentist and lab technician was a lengthy process. Now, however, color matching, patient preferences, margin verifications and prep height reduction can be determined before the patient leaves the chair. Continue reading

Digital Intraoral Sensors: What Makes One Brand Different from the Next?

It’s a well-known fact that digital sensors offer greater image quality than their film counterparts. But they also have a reputation for being easy to break and complicated to use, which begs the question: are they worth the investment? The answer is yes—as long as you know what to look for.

High image quality should be at the top of your priority list for intraoral sensor technology. This is the key to keeping your diagnostic capabilities at the highest level. In addition, the ideal intraoral sensor is designed with ergonomics and durability in mind to ensure patient comfort and guard against breakage. Ease of use is also a must, because you want a sensor that will facilitate—and not complicate—your workflow.  All of these features should be your baseline to measure against as you choose the right intraoral sensor for your practice.

Watch the following video to see how the manufacturing process at Carestream Dental ensures its sensors meet and exceed the expectations of dental health professionals.

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Making a Bad Impression: A Step-by-Step Guide for Traditional Impressions

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

Using Technology to Overcome Orthodontic Practice Challenges

Every orthodontic practice is different—but some problems are universal. A recent report by TeleVox, “Top Challenges for Dental and Orthodontic Practices: Results and Observations from the 2015 Practice Readiness Survey,” found that one of the most common day-to-day problems dental and orthodontic professionals experience is no-shows and late cancellations.

televox image

There is no doubt that patients who fail to show up or who cancel at the last minute have an impact on your ability to drive revenue. Fortunately, with advances in digital technology and automated solutions, tackling this problem is possible—without requiring a time commitment from your front desk staff.

Patients are busy. They have work, family and school commitments, which means dental appointments can slip their mind. To ensure they remember their appointments—and to reiterate how important their oral healthcare is—communication is necessary. By incorporating an automated email, text and phone system into your existing practice management software, you can ensure that patients are being contacted in order to reduce the number of no-shows and late cancellations. And, if you include an option to cancel via the communication as well, your front desk will have plenty of time to fill that spot.

Patients in the chair means revenue for your practice. Are no-shows and late cancellations a concern for to you? If so, how have you addressed this challenge?

About TeleVox

TeleVox solutions allow you to attract new patients and build patient loyalty while meeting the day-to-day demands of a successful practice. TeleVox’s industry-leading hosted services help your practice decrease appointment no-shows, increase on-time bill payments, improve patient care, create a compelling online business presence and more! www.televox.com

Digital Dental Technology Survey: Perception vs. Reality

The benefits of digital technology within dentistry are well documented; however, there are some still misconceptions about making the transition. The most common reasons why a doctor would hesitate to switch from analog to digital include:

  • time investment
  • ease of use
  • costs

In a recent Carestream Dental survey, both non-digital and digital users were asked a number of questions regarding their perception of digital technology versus the users’ actual experiences. The good news is that many of the areas that were a concern for doctors who are not already using digital systems turned out to not be a problem for current users. Continue reading

Old Masters

A while ago, I was speaking with a dentist who was telling me about the insane levels of precision he was learning in a gold study club. There were very precise measurements of powder and liquid to create just the exact amount of shrinkage for die stones, investments and all the rest. The dentists and technicians had devoted a lifetime to becoming masters of this process and were understandably very proud of what they had accomplished.

Here is the part that is hard to take—once you graduate to a digital impression system, all that skill knowledge and mastery becomes obsolete. It is like being a master typewriter maker in a world of word processors; nobody needs what you have spent so much time and effort learning to master.

The understandable reaction from those who have mastered the old way is to reject the new as not being good enough.

People resist change for many reason some of the most compelling are that they feel the proposed change threatens their notions of themselves they anticipate a loss of status or quality of life.

We see this fear often when any new technology is introduced, not just digital impressions. Staff people fear that what they have learned in the past, how they provide value to the doctor the patients and the practice will no longer have value. They fear losing status.

There is no easy way to tell someone they are obsolete. “Hey, the world changed, get over it,” doesn’t really help. What can help is to set new goals, accept that the new way is just as good (in fact usually better) and that—by learning the new way—the person will be even more valuable, have even more status and will have an exciting and rewarding journey getting there.

Spotlight on Sensors: The Anatomy of a Quality Digital Sensor

If you’re into technology—like I am—it’s always interesting to deconstruct a technology to better understand how it works. For this reason, I wanted to discuss the different components of an intraoral digital X-ray sensor and how they help you capture the digital images you need. Not all sensors contain the same parts, which is something to consider before making a sensor purchase. By buying a higher quality sensor for your practice, you can:

  • optimize the signal-to-noise ratio leading to better contrast resolution and spatial resolution;
  • properly disinfect the sensor, protecting against cross contamination; and
  • ensure your sensor lasts longer, resulting in lower practice expenses.


Diagram of an intraoral sensor

Diagram of an intraoral sensor

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