Choosing the Best One for Your Practice
Choosing the Best One for Your Practice
An intraoral scanner is a device that is used to capture a direct optical impression. The scanner projects a light source onto the area to be scanned. The images are captured by imaging sensors and are processed by scanning software, which then produces a 3D surface model.
The clinician captures an image of the tooth/teeth preparation. The impression is captured using an intraoral scanner that is inserted into the patient’s mouth and moved over the surface area of the tooth or teeth. There will be a chairside monitor to display the image as it is captured.
It takes approximately a minute and a half to capture a digital impression of prepared teeth. An impression of the teeth in the opposite arch takes just 45 seconds.
As the clinician reviews the real-time image, he or she can enlarge and manipulate it for enhanced detail.
The advantages of upgrading to a digital workflow outweigh the disadvantages. Some of the advantages digital impressions can bring to your office and patients include:
Less patient discomfort. Traditional impressions cause discomfort for patients because of the materials and impression trays that are used, often causing a gag reflex. Digital impressions reduce discomfort by eliminating the need for materials and impression trays.
Time efficiency. No more pouring stone casts and obtaining physical plaster models. Just email the patient’s 3D virtual model to the lab without the need to deliver anything via mail. Talk about saving time and money throughout the year!
Are you doing same-day restorations at your practice? With digital impressions, the images are directly imported to your design software (computer-assisted design), and after the design is complete, it is transferred to the manufacturing software (computer-assisted manufacturing) and put in the milling machine.
Simplified procedures for the clinician. In complex cases, if the clinician is not satisfied with the impression, they can delete and recapture the impression without having to repeat the entire procedure.
Cost savings $$. Eliminating conventional impression materials translates to direct savings and reduced consumables costs.
Better communication. The clinician and dental technician can access the quality of the impression in real-time. If the dental technician feels the impression is low quality, the clinician can take another impression without having to call the patient back for a second appointment.
Patients also feel more involved with their treatment and can have an open dialect with their clinician. In addition, patients are interested in the technology and mention it to their friends and family.
DISADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL IMPRESSIONS INCLUDE:
Learning curve. Clinicians with a passion for technology and computers will find it very easy to adopt intraoral scanners in their practice. Clinicians with less experience and passions for technological innovations could find using the device and related software more complex.
Difficulty detecting deep margin lines of prepared teeth. It may be difficult for the light to correctly detect margins. Problems can also occur in the event of bleeding, as blood may obscure the prosthetic margins. Despite this, with the proper attention, speed and strategy for highlighting the preparation line and avoiding bleeding, it is possible for the clinician to detect a good digital impression even in difficult contexts.
Conventional impressions involve multiple materials and occasionally more steps. It is easy to introduce error throughout the steps involved, either from the human element or material defects.
Clinicians rely on visual evaluations to determine if the impressions are ready to ship to the lab. If mistakes are identified, the clinician will need to take another impression, which means the patient will need to undergo the procedure again, resulting in greater inconvenience and a longer appointment, as well as lost time, and an added cost for the clinician.
Digital impressions eliminate most of the labor and guesswork. They increase time savings, both during the impression appointment and delivery of the restorations. In most cases, digital impressions eliminate the need for a return visit since the restorations can be made in-office rather than being shipped to a lab.
With digital impression technology, additional scans can be layered onto the original virtual model for enhanced visual representation. The more scans that are added to the model, the more accurate the virtual model is.
Intraoral scanners can be applied in various fields of dentistry for diagnosis and for fabricating restorations in prostheses, surgery and orthodontics.
In prostheses, an intraoral scanner is used to take an impression for fabricating a wide range of prosthetic restorations: inlays/onlays, single crowns and fixed partial dentures.
In prosthodontics, an intraoral scanner can capture the 3D position of dental implants and fabricate implant-supported restorations. Implants, bridges and bars can be successfully fabricated from digital impressions.
In orthodontics, an intraoral scanner is very useful for diagnosis and treatment planning. Digital impressions can be used as the starting point for the realization of customized orthodontic devices. In the coming years, it is probable that all orthodontic appliances will be designed from an intraoral scan to meet the patient’s specific clinical needs.
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