Advantages of Using Intraoral Scanners

closeup of an intraoral scan being performed on a woman's mouth

Welcome to our family dentist’s blog, where we’re excited to delve into the world of modern dentistry and explore the numerous advantages of using intraoral scanners. At our practice, we understand the importance of staying at the forefront of dental technology to provide our patients with the highest level of care and comfort. Intraoral scanners have revolutionized the way we diagnose and treat oral health issues, making the dental experience more efficient, accurate, and pleasant for both our patients and our team. In this blog post, we will delve into the many benefits of these remarkable devices and shed light on how they are transforming the field of dentistry for the better. Whether you’re a patient curious about the latest advancements or a fellow dental professional seeking insights, join us as we explore the advantages of using intraoral scanners in our practice.

What is an intraoral scanner?

Intraoral scanners are advanced dental devices used to capture highly detailed, three-dimensional (3D) images of the inside of a patient’s mouth. These scanners have revolutionized the way dentists gather information about a patient’s oral health, enabling more accurate diagnoses and streamlined treatment planning. Here’s how intraoral scanners work:

Hardware: 

Intraoral scanners are typically handheld devices that resemble a small wand or pen. They are equipped with a camera and various sensors that can capture images and data from inside the oral cavity.

Optical Technology: 

Most intraoral scanners use optical technology, such as structured light or laser scanning, to capture images. These scanners project a structured light pattern or laser onto the teeth and surrounding structures. The reflection and distortion of this pattern are recorded by the scanner’s sensors.

Real-time Image Processing: 

As the scanner is moved around the patient’s mouth, it captures a series of images rapidly. These images are then processed in real-time by the scanner’s software to create a continuous 3D model of the oral structures.

Digital Model Generation: 

The scanner’s software combines all the individual images and data points to generate an accurate 3D digital model of the patient’s teeth, gums, and other oral tissues. This model can be viewed and manipulated on a computer screen.

Color and Texture Mapping: 

In addition to capturing the 3D geometry of the oral structures, some intraoral scanners also capture color and texture information. This helps in creating realistic and detailed digital replicas of the patient’s mouth.

Immediate Feedback: 

Dentists and patients can often see the digital model on a screen in real-time during the scanning process. This immediate feedback allows for adjustments and ensures that all necessary data is captured.

Advantages of Intraoral Scanners

Improved Patient Experience

One of the remarkable advantages of intraoral scanners in dentistry is the significantly improved patient experience they offer. Traditional dental impressions, often involving messy materials and uncomfortable trays, can be a source of anxiety and discomfort for many patients. Intraoral scanners eliminate this discomfort by swiftly and comfortably capturing precise 3D images of the oral cavity, rendering the need for traditional impressions obsolete. Patients no longer have to endure the sensation of gooey materials or worry about gag reflexes. This enhanced comfort not only reduces dental anxiety but also fosters a more relaxed and positive atmosphere during dental procedures. Patients appreciate the speed, efficiency, and the immediate visual feedback that intraoral scanners provide, making dental visits more enjoyable and stress-free. As a result, improved patient experience through the use of intraoral scanners not only enhances their overall satisfaction but also encourages better dental health and treatment compliance.

Accuracy

Another outstanding advantage of intraoral scanners in dentistry is their unparalleled accuracy in capturing detailed 3D images of the oral cavity. Traditional impression methods can be prone to distortion and inaccuracies, leading to potential complications in diagnosis and treatment planning. In contrast, intraoral scanners provide precise digital models of the patient’s teeth, gums, and surrounding structures, ensuring that every detail is faithfully recorded. This exceptional accuracy is invaluable for dental professionals as it allows for more precise treatment planning, leading to better-fitting restorations, aligners, and appliances. The elimination of errors associated with traditional impressions ultimately leads to enhanced patient outcomes, reducing the need for adjustments and ensuring that dental procedures are executed with the utmost precision and effectiveness.

Efficiency

Intraoral scanners offer a remarkable advantage in the realm of dental practice through their inherent efficiency. Traditional dental impressions can be time-consuming, often requiring multiple appointments and prolonged chair time for patients. In contrast, intraoral scanners streamline the entire process by swiftly capturing precise 3D images of the oral cavity. This efficiency not only minimizes the time patients spend in the dental chair but also reduces the need for inconvenient and uncomfortable procedures associated with traditional impressions. Dental professionals benefit from quicker and more accurate data collection, facilitating faster diagnosis and treatment planning. Additionally, the digital nature of intraoral scans simplifies record-keeping, communication with laboratories, and the overall workflow in the dental practice, resulting in improved overall efficiency and ultimately enhancing the patient experience.

Digital Records

Another advantage of intraoral scanners is their ability to create and maintain digital records of a patient’s oral health. In the past, traditional impressions were vulnerable to physical damage or deterioration over time, making long-term storage and retrieval challenging. In contrast, intraoral scans generate precise 3D digital models that can be easily stored, archived, and shared electronically. These digital records not only provide a secure and convenient way to track a patient’s oral health history but also enable seamless collaboration between dental professionals, specialists, and laboratories. This digital format enhances communication, ensures accuracy, and facilitates efficient treatment planning, as well as allowing for easy comparisons over time to monitor changes in a patient’s oral health. Furthermore, the accessibility and portability of digital records enhance the overall quality of care, ensuring that crucial patient information is readily available whenever and wherever it is needed.

Customization

Intraoral scanners bring a remarkable advantage to dentistry by enabling a high degree of customization in patient care. These advanced devices produce precise 3D digital models of a patient’s oral structures, allowing dental professionals to tailor treatments with unprecedented accuracy. Whether it’s designing orthodontic aligners, crafting crowns, bridges, or dental implants, or creating other custom-fitted restorations, intraoral scans provide the foundation for personalized dental solutions. This level of customization not only enhances the fit and comfort of dental appliances but also improves the overall treatment outcome, ensuring that patients receive care that is uniquely suited to their specific needs. The ability to create highly customized dental solutions is a testament to the transformative power of intraoral scanners in modern dentistry, ultimately delivering superior results and satisfaction for patients.

What to Expect When Having an Intraoral Scan

Having an intraoral scan is a straightforward and typically painless procedure commonly performed in dental offices. Here’s what you can expect when undergoing an intraoral scan:

Preparation: 

There is usually minimal preparation required for an intraoral scan. You may be asked to rinse your mouth to ensure cleanliness, and any loose or bulky accessories, such as removable orthodontic appliances, may need to be temporarily removed to provide clear access to your teeth and gums.

Placement of the Scanner: 

The dental professional will place a small handheld intraoral scanner, which resembles a pen or wand, into your mouth. The scanner’s tip contains a camera and sensors that capture images and data.

Scanning Process: 

The dental professional will carefully move the scanner around your mouth to capture images of your teeth, gums, and other oral structures. They may use a mirror to access hard-to-reach areas. The scanner emits a structured light or laser pattern, which bounces off your oral tissues and is recorded by the sensors to create a 3D digital model.

Real-time Visualization: 

In many cases, you and the dental professional can see the digital model in real-time on a computer screen as the scan progresses. This immediate visualization allows for adjustments and ensures that all necessary data is captured.

Completion:

Once all the required images are obtained, the scanning process is complete. The digital model is then processed and saved for further analysis and treatment planning. Patients generally find intraoral scans to be comfortable, with little to no discomfort. The process is quicker and less invasive than traditional impressions, eliminating the need for gooey materials or impression trays that can sometimes induce a gag reflex.

Post-Scan Discussion: 

After the scan, your dental professional may discuss the findings or treatment options based on the digital model created. This is an opportunity to ask any questions or seek clarification on your oral health status and treatment options.

Follow-up: 

Depending on the purpose of the scan, your dental professional may use the digital model to plan treatments such as orthodontic work, restorations, or other dental procedures. Any necessary follow-up appointments will be scheduled accordingly.

Overall, undergoing an intraoral scan is a quick, comfortable, and highly efficient process that provides dental professionals with precise 3D data to enhance treatment planning and improve patient outcomes. Patients often appreciate the convenience and reduced discomfort compared to traditional dental impressions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, intraoral scanners have revolutionized the field of dentistry by offering a range of benefits, including improved patient experience, enhanced accuracy, efficiency, digital record-keeping, and the ability to provide highly customized dental solutions. These advanced devices have not only simplified the process of capturing detailed 3D images of the oral cavity but have also elevated the quality of dental care provided to patients. With their ability to minimize discomfort, expedite procedures, and facilitate better treatment planning, intraoral scanners have become an indispensable tool in modern dentistry, promising a future of more precise, patient-centered, and efficient oral healthcare. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that intraoral scanning will play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the dental landscape, benefiting both patients and dental professionals alike.

Continue to Learn More About Dentistry:

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

More from the Chestnut Dental Blog

prosthodontist applying cement to dental bridge

What is a Prosthodontist?

Welcome to our latest blog post, where we shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of dental aesthetics and function: prosthodontists. These specialized dental professionals go beyond mere teeth replacement;

Read More »
different types of fillings: gold, amalgam, composite resin

The Different Types of Fillings

Dental fillings are a common procedure used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. They help restore the tooth’s shape, function, and appearance. Over the years,

Read More »