Intraoral Scanners—Saving the Earth, One Impression at a Time

Conventional impressions in landfill graphicDoctors 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:

 

Traditional Impression

Environmental Impact Digital Impression Environmental Impact

Plastic tray to take impression

Ends up in landfill; 450 years to break down Few consumables, no trays whatsoever

Minimal

Polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) impression

Ends up in landfill; never breaks down Impression is digital, no physical impression

None

Courier drives to practice to pick up impression

More cars on the road; carbon emissions Digital impression is sent via secure portal to lab

None

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

None

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