Intra-oral ScannerDentistry has evolved over time and with the advancement in technology it has skyrocketed to a higher height. It has made the work of dentists easier and their patients satisfied and happy. One kind of the technology that has improved the field of dentistry and its use and is now highly sought for is the use of an intraoral scanner; this is a device used to capture optical impressions for dentistry. Since its introduction, this technology and its processes has dramatically improved and diversify the dentist profession. Majorly, the positive response from the dentist fraternity has contributed the growth in usage of this impression method.

The use of this technology has improved because the previous methodology used had many flaws than credits. Some of its flaws include;

  1. It was time-consuming- it would take quite some time for the dentist to capture the correct dental impression and mold it to patient’s perfection.
  2. It would make the patient uncomfortable- the old technique for was quite messy, and it led to the discomfort of the patient.
  3. It was inaccurate- More often than not a patient would be required to come more than once to the dental clinic for the recapture of his dental contours for accurate molding. But at the end of the day, the impression formed is inaccurate to the patient.
  4. It was not pleasant- Often the patient would gag or be left with an unpleasant aftertaste in their mouth.

The benefit to dental patients

  • Time saver - Unlike the previous technology used in dentistry, IOS has proved to be fast thus saves time. The advent of intraoral scanner makes the patient not to sit in the dentist chair for hours to get treatment. It is equally fast especially in the first stages of dental treatment.
  • Safe - During scanning process there is no harmful radiation emitted thus being safe to the patient being treated.
  • Accurate - The scanner is accurate in the sense of producing and capturing the exact shape and contours of your teeth thus enabling the dentist to give appropriate and accurate treatment.
  • Comfort - Unlike the old molding technique which was quite messy, the patient was forced to sit with a large rubber-like material in the mouth for about fifteen minutes. It led to patients gagging and some choking leading to great discomfort. This technique has proved to be quite comfortable as the patient’s teeth are being scanned in a matter of very few minutes of the patient’s time.

Benefits to dentists

Not forgetting the practitioners of dentistry, the numerous benefits they exhibit from this technology are as follows;

  • Time saver – This technology enables a dentist to treat as many patients as he can in a short period in comparison to the previous technique, thus leading to more patients hence more money.
  • Safe – The IOS does not emit unwarranted radiation thus safe and secure for dentists to use on their patients.
  • Efficient – It allows the dentist to treat his patient well within a short period.
  • Accuracy – This IOS uses the most advanced 3-D video technologies that capture the exact shape and contours of the teeth. Enabling the dentist to have the correct picture and dimensions of the patient’s dental to give the accurate and appropriate treatment.
  • Simplified procedure – The processes of capturing impressions has been simplified in a way if the dentist is not satisfied with some of the details of a recorded impression; he is at liberty to delete and recapture the impression without necessarily repeating the whole procedure thus saving on time.
  • Easy communication with the patient - When performing this procedure on patients, it enables them to feel more involved in their treatment, thus establishing more effective contact with them. Also with the hype about technology, this gives them the sense of having had the best treatment and would mention it to friends and acquaintances. Indirectly, you have advertised and market the IOS.

The intra-oral scanner has been utilized and applied in the various fields of dentistry, for fabrication of restorations, for diagnosis, for customization of prostheses, surgery, and orthodontics. Although it is majorly used for diagnostic purposes other functions include;

  • In prostheses - it is used to make impressions of preparation of natural teeth for fabricating a wide range of prosthetic restoration.
  • In Prosthodontics - Used in fabricating implant-supported restorations and also to capture the 3D position of dental implants.
  • It can also be used in digital smile designs applications and for fabrication of obturators in complex cases.
  • In surgery - IOS is used in the detection of all details of the occlusal surfaces with the utmost accuracy. It is a useful tool in orthodontics for diagnosis and the planning of treatment.

In conclusion, the IOS has more advantages in comparison to the previous technology. First, it reduces patient’s discomfort and stress that goes with treatment. Moreover, they are time-efficient and have greatly simplified the dental procedures for the dentist as well as the patients involved. Although it has its limitation in the detection of buried margin lines in prepared teeth and also it's quite expensive to purchase and manage costs.

However, it has a wide range of application that should not be ignored. IOS are the probable future of dentistry and by implementing them in one’s practice would put you ahead in the curve of dental care.