Over the past decade, intraoral scanners have been a major innovation in dentistry, evolving the process and efficiencies of traditional impressions. With that innovation have come more options than ever before for taking digital impressions.
By now, you may be aware of the benefits offered by intraoral scanners and what to look for when purchasing one: speed, accuracy, an open system, and flexible workflows. But what about the nuances of owning an intraoral scanner, the ones that never come up during a sales demo? Here are some things for you to keep in mind when you’re evaluating intraoral scanners.
● Chairside visualization:
Capturing digital impressions is only the first step in a digital workflow. It’s what the software is capable of that really makes the difference. Just as you would when evaluating an extraoral dental X-ray machine, look at the scanner’s imaging quality and visualization capabilities.
Delivering a realistic recreation on the monitor makes patient education and treatment planning more realistic and comes with greater treatment acceptance. Patients also often have a positive reaction to seeing their own mouths as a digital impression.
● Integrated software:
It’s critical to make sure that your scanner can integrate with your practice’s other technology to deliver a truly digital workflow. The superimposition of the CBCT imaging data over the impression scan, facial scanning, and other emotion-based techniques are improving how we diagnose, plan treatment, and consult.
● Operator comfort and use:
When investing in new technology, it’s always a good practice to take your staff’s feedback into consideration. After all, they’ll most likely have their hands on it the most. The leading intraoral scanner manufacturers have designed their equipment to capture digital impressions quickly, with lightweight wands, small tips, error correction software, and more to ensure that operators are as comfortable as possible when taking scans in their offices.
Portability is also a major consideration for practices with multiple offices or those that have separate rooms dedicated to scanning. Most intraoral scanners on the market today include a portable monitor, either through a cart-style or a laptop consideration. Your staff should feel comfortable moving the wand and the monitor as needed to share visualizations with patients.
● “Dial it in” with your digital lab partners:
“Dialing it in” refers to how a digital impression is captured, the quality of the printed model, and the workflow expectations of the restorative team. Making sure that you and the lab are in sync and that expectations, deliverables, and accountability from both sides are clear can help make digital dentistry fun, profitable, rewarding, and most importantly – that it can offer great service to patients.
● Having more than one
Having a separate scanner in each of your offices is highly useful and for some dental professionals has been a breakthrough in how they collect initial data for new patients. Because the impressions are virtual and three-dimensional, those files can be used as part of the patient’s electronic record and can be used to document the patient’s clinical representation at various points in time.
Even if you have only one office, a lightweight, portable intraoral scanner that is not tethered to a cart is ideal for transporting between chairs. This also helps guarantee that all patients are receiving the same high level of service.
Where to Start Your Search for an Intraoral Scanner
For over a decade Renew Digital has been a leading provider of certified, pre-owned digital dental imaging equipment, and now they also offer intraoral scanners, such as the iTero Element FlexTM Foundation which can capture full arch scans in under a minute. Their experts can help you save up to 50% off the price of new systems and can help you evaluate the market leaders for equipment that will best fit the needs of your practice. Visit their website (RenewDigital.com), contact them online, or give them a call at 888-246-5611 to get started.