In the past, going to the orthodontist meant getting putty impressions of your teeth to create retainers and appliances. But with recent technological advancements and procedures, putty impressions can now be a thing of the past. With the introduction of the iTero Digital Scanner, orthodontic procedures are now easier and less messy.
iTero Digital Scanner
The iTero digital scanner is a light, handheld tool that can take 3D images of your teeth and mouth. Being able to take up to 6,000 frames per second, it can generate a detailed mapping of your mouth on a computer screen which ensures your orthodontist gets a complete image of your teeth. The scanning device known as a wand, is waved over and around your teeth to capture images. The images produced can be rotated and zoomed in to get an in-depth look at the teeth.
How It Works
With no buttons or switches, the digital scanner is super simple to use. The orthodontist can wave the wand across your teeth and mouth to scan the inside of your palate and dental areas to capture the images. Our brand new iTero is 40% smaller than previous systems which makes it much more comfortable during the scanning process.
Digital scans are developed immediately and the images of your teeth, palate and mouth appear on the computer screen as soon as they are scanned. Your orthodontist can take a look at your scans by rotating and zooming in on each problematic area in the images.
How has digital dentistry impacted patients and care?
One of the most important benefits of intraoral scanners is improving the patient’s experience. Most of us have been to the dentist and at some point needed to take an impression. Safe to say it wasn’t fun. The ability to offer digital impressions instead is a welcomed change for our practice.
As dentists, we also worry about our patient gagging fears. This should not be taken lightly as it is a serious and very real problem. The American Dental Association reported that 7.5% of patients almost always gag when they visit a dentist, which in turn makes people afraid to go to the dentist.
With so many people having a gag reflex, we are able to complete the intraoral scan by stopping and starting a few times, therefore letting the patient take their time to breathe and relax. The patients are often overwhelmed by the results, especially in terms of soothing the gagging fears. When we interviewed Dr. Ghatri, he felt digital impression-taking as having a huge impact on his patient engagement. “Patients see this technology, they are happy to come, and more than that, they are happy to tell their friends about us. Children are the main winners using this technology. In the past, they had to endure the discomfort of dealing with a stuffed tray in their mouth but now, less than four minutes of scanning in a comfortable setting, will give us what we need to fabricate the appliances they need for their dental needs,” he said.
Times have changed and for the better. Intraoral scanning with ITero is very simple and fast. According to a patient we interviewed, “less threatening and they like the idea of being treated by a top-modern facility with the best equipment.”
So yes, taking digital impressions make the dental visit a much more comfortable experience for patients.
Are there other advantages for patients?
Accuracy - The accuracy of digital impressions and the resulting model means a much better fitting appliance. With such great accuracy, the need for remakes are significantly reduced. This makes patient visits quicker and less reoccurring. So besides patient comfort, digital speed and accuracy are huge advantages.
Cleaner - Without any sticky paste and cold metal trays to make impressions, digital scanning is a much cleaner alternative. Trained orthodontic assistants wield the wand easily in the mouth so there is no need to worry about gagging, uncomfortable tastes or chalky residue left behind. Another interesting benefit when working with 3D digital color impressions is that you now have the patient’s mouth on screen so they too can see what’s going on in their mouth.
When you consider the time savings, in terms of scanning, design and production, digital dentistry is simply a more efficient way to work. Digital technology has become much more than a just a tool. It has becomes a driver of new procedures, solutions and clinical insight.
Like other industries, the biggest benefit to digitalization is efficiency due to its accuracy and speed. From measuring distances to taking those measurements and creating appliances and restorations, it’s simply more precise. The old saying, numbers don’t lie, certainly applies to digital. Simply out, digital technology is revolutionizing the dental industry.