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

The Future of Digital Dentistry is Open, Faster and Smaller

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

How Intraoral Scanning Brings Consistency to Your Oral Surgery Clinical Outcomes

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:

 

Trueness vs. Precision—What’s the Difference?

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.

Example of accuracy and precision on a bullseye Continue reading

The Many Uses for Digital Scanners in the Field of OMS

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz around intraoral scanners from general dentists and orthodontists— computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing, or CAD/CAM, technology is changing dentistry—but how does this cutting-edge technology relate to your practice as an oral surgeon? Let me share with you a few of the ways that I have integrated digital scanning into my practice.

First, a little background: intraoral scanners take the place of conventional or analog impressions. Instead of trays, alginate or polyvinyl and pouring molds, the scanner captures digital images of a patient’s teeth, which are available almost instantly on a computer screen. These image files are then shared with a lab to create models. Also, digital scanners are small and lightweight and the more sophisticated scanners can be simply unplugged from a laptop and taken from operatory to operatory. Continue reading

Implementing Digital Impressions into your Orthodontic Practice

As a clinical consultant and trainer for orthodontic practices, I have seen firsthand the many benefits of switching from traditional impressions to digital. Many times, practices don’t realize how inaccurate their impressions are—until they notice that their appliances don’t fit properly when they come back from the lab. Intraoral scanners can remove the accuracy challenge from the practice, as well as improve the speed of the impression process.

If you are already considering implementing digital into your practice, the tips below may help you select the right scanner for your needs as well successfully incorporate it into your workflow. Continue reading

Interoperability: Is Your Intraoral Scanner Limiting Your Choices?

digitalimpressionsImagine a world in which—if you owned a BMW­—you could only fill up at a BMW gas station using BMW gas. Ford gas won’t work. You can only drive in the BMW lane and take the BMW off ramp. If the BMW off ramp is closed for repairs, you can’t take the Ford or Toyota off ramp. That whole scenario is preposterous but it is basically what happens when we use closed proprietary dental systems.

Interoperability is the ability of different systems from different vendors to work together. The opposite is proprietary, where users are restricted to one vendor’s products. The classic examples of this are VHS vs. Beta and MAC vs. PC. Open systems give users more choice at lower cost.

When shopping for a digital product, let vendors know that open systems are an important buying factor. Ask the sales person if you can transfer the digital impression to any lab of your choice or if you can load the impression into design software of your choice. In many cases, the answer will be no. Let the sales person—or, better yet, the sales managers and product managers—know that you won’t buy a closed system.

I promise you that when you do this the salesperson will be prepared with a very plausible sounding reason that their closed system is better and it is in your best interests to play in their private sandbox. Continue reading

The Digital Difference: Keeping up with Impression Technology

The best feature, by far, of a digital impression is simply that it is digital. That changes everything. To understand how significant this is, let’s compare it to another digital system you are more familiar with—digital photography.

Infrastructure: Last century, BC (before computer) we took photographs with a film camera. This required a complex infrastructure that was purpose built and exclusive to photography. That is the film, the camera, the chemicals, the processing equipment and the printing materials were all exclusive to photography. In other words, you could not use the photography system to send a post card or take an impression. Continue reading