Intraoral ScanningHouston, TX
Intraoral scanners are slowly taking the place of traditional methods for making impressions. This technology provides an easier and more efficient experience for a variety of dental services. Eva Boldridge, DMD, PA, is a prosthodontist on the front lines of dentistry going digital by offering this new technology to her patients.
Our practice is committed to expanding what is possible in dentistry. If you are interested in learning more about intraoral scanning, we look forward to answering your questions. For more information or to make an appointment, call us at (281) 779-4022 today.
What is an Intraoral Scanner
An intraoral scanner, also known as an IOS, is a scanning device that takes a direct optical impression of the patient’s mouth. As with other 3D scanners, they project a laser or structured light onto the object being scanned. A scanning software produces images of the teeth, along with images that display the projected results of the treatment with a 3D model of the patient’s mouth.
The first versions of this technology emerged in the 1980s, but the technology has advanced greatly since then. The typical model consists of the wand the practitioner uses to capture images inside the patient’s mouth that connects to a monitor that displays the image.
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Benefits of Intraoral Scanners
Though patient comfort is a leading reason dentists prefer the intraoral scanner, its advantages go far beyond that. According to a recent article in Science Direct “for single units and quadrant dentistry, the intraoral scanners are highly accurate and even better than conventional impressions for manufacturing indirect restorations.” Speed is another advantage the intraoral scanner brings to the table during multiple parts of the process.
Mistakes in scanning may be fixed more easily without asking more time of the patient. When planning a dental treatment, we can review the scan with the patient together to discuss the possibilities. Any other party, such as a lab, appliance maker, or specialist working on a patient’s case, can receive these images instantly once we are ready to proceed.
Types of Uses of Intraoral Scanners
Intraoral Scanners are used in a variety of dental areas. For example, orthodontists use them to take digital scans of patients’ mouths from which a 3D rendering can be made, allowing the lab to create accurate orthodontic appliances directly from the scanned images. They are useful in preventive dentistry because they provide the dentist with a high-resolution image they can magnify, making it easier to spot small dental problems before they become big ones.
More and more dental professionals are using them for more than just impression making but see them just as useful as diagnostic tools as well. Practitioners can enlarge the resulting 3D model on the screen to see more enhanced details. This allows them to catch developing dental problems sooner when they can be more effectively treated.
Why People may Prefer Intraoral Scanning Over Other Methods
Intraoral scanning enhances the treatment process for patients considering altering or repairing their smile. Along with not requiring our team to take a mold of the teeth, the scanner can provide enhanced detail of the images. While effective, traditional methods without a scanner have an increased margin for error.
This type of digital dentistry allows our prosthodontist and team to ensure patients have the highest chance at achieving their ideal smile. Also with the traditional method, over 60% of impressions sent to labs are described as unacceptable. Even if the lab can fix the mistakes, send them back to be redone, or try to work with what they have, it costs everyone more time and increases the risk of ending up with an ill-fitting and inferior product. Intraoral scanning speeds up treatment time and reduces errors, increasing patient satisfaction.
What Does the Patient Experience with an Intraoral Scanner
An intraoral scanner is usually much easier on the patient than the traditional way of taking impressions. They just relax in the dentist’s chair as the skilled dentist inserts the wand into the patient’s mouth and scans the teeth and inner structure. This procedure usually only takes a few minutes.
That is not the only reason the intraoral scanner improves the patient experience. With this device, there are no trays of putty to upset the patient’s gag reflex. Patients no longer have to hold those trays of putty in their mouth for several minutes while it sets.
Call Us Today
Intraoral scanners are not only making things more comfortable and reliable for patients but bringing more efficiency, accuracy, and better communication to the dental industry. If you are considering a smile design, restorative work, or any other form of dental work, we look forward to answering your questions. To learn more about intraoral scanning benefits or make an appointment, call (281) 779- 4022.
Frequently Asked Questions About Intraoral Scanners
How does intraoral scanning benefit the patient?
Comfort and less time in the dentist chair are probably the biggest selling points for patients when it comes to intraoral scanning. Also, the patient can see the dentist craft the plan for dental work right on the 3D model on the screen. This type of technology helps make same-day smile designing possible. The accuracy the intraoral scan offers increases a patient’s confidence in the outcome of the work they are having done.
What is the most common way dentists take impressions?
The traditional impression-taking method is still the most common way. A recent article on Oralhealthgroup.com reports that less than 10% of North American dentists use intraoral scanning. Intraoral scanning has only been around for a few decades and is still very new. As with any change, things take time.
Should I be worried about radiation exposure with an intraoral scanner?
Intraoral scanners use visible light radiation and not X-ray radiation. The energy levels of the electromagnetic radiation from this light is so low there is no known risk to biological tissues. Intraoral scanners pose about as much radiation risk as getting your picture taken with a smartphone.
Is there anything the patient should be aware of when being prepared to have a digital impression taken?
Having a digital impression taken is less work for the patient. Some digital scanners require the teeth to be sprayed with a powder to get an accurate recording. However, this powder is safe for humans and not a big issue for patients. Our practice’s intraoral scanner does not require a powder coating before scanning.
Is an intraoral scanner safe for a pregnant woman and her baby?
This is a common concern with new technologies. Yes, the intraoral scanner is safe for pregnant women. As mentioned above, the intraoral scanner poses about as much radiation risk as having your picture taken with a smartphone.
How long does a full-mouth intraoral scan take?
A full mouth scan with an intraoral scanner takes about 5 minutes. It is not lightning fast. Still, it is likely faster and more comfortable than traditional impression taking. Following the scan, we will go over the possible treatment options, and more information the patient might need.
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