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Intraoral Scanners: The Future of Applied Dentistry?

 

The last decade alone can testify to an unprecedented breakthrough in the advancement of technology, all thanks to an arsenal of tools - the most important being artificial intelligence or A.I. Massive headway has been made in the evolution of A.I., and like many other industries, dentistry has also been voracious about keeping up with this technological marvel.

 You may think of artificial intelligence as a scene cut out from a fantastical movie, involving a robot with almost human-like capabilities and advanced infamy, but in reality, it is less mesmerizing but largely ergonomic, continuing to influence daily life. A.I. and digital technology have reached a tipping point, and their adoption in dentistry is the need of the hour. One such rapidly emerging innovation is the intraoral scanner.

 Intraoral scanners have been met with a colossal following and popularity, used alone or alongside equipment for computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). The primary goal of such cutting-edge technology is to enhance diagnosis and precision, alleviate the patient inconvenience, and meticulously mask technical errors that may be associated with conventional dental treatments.

 What is an intraoral scanner?

Intraoral optic scanners (IOS) are devices used to capture direct optical impressions in dentistry. The scanner projects a light source onto the area to be scanned, in this case, the teeth and their surrounding structures, The images are captured by imaging sensors and are processed by scanning software, which then produces a 3D surface model.Subsequently after the introduction of the first intraoral scanner, CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) by Dentsply Sirona in 1985, dentistry has been offered an exciting new opportunity to replace conventional means of impression-taking for orthodontic dentistry, with restorative, cosmetic, and prosthetic dentistry, following suit.

 What is involved in digital impression-taking process?

Your dentist begins by taking the intraoral scanner wand and placing it into your mouth. As the IOS is strategically glided over the surface area of the tooth or teeth, your dentist makes sure to retract your lips and cheek well. On the chairside monitor, the real-time image of your mouth can be displayed.After capturing the upper and lower arches, your dentist then proceeds to correlate the bite for proper occlusion. It takes approximately a minute and a half to capture a digital impression of the prepared tooth. The software used to analyze the data is intuitive and can readily grasp an accurate image. Immediately after, the data is transferred to a fabrication plant for the final fabrication of the prosthesis.

Applications of intraoral scanners in dentistry

Intraoral scanners are versatile tools that have been approved for use in the impression-making process for an array of dental procedures, namely:

     Prosthodontic procedures: Prosthetic restorations such as inlays/onlays, partial fixed dentures, and crowning teeth.

     Cosmetic procedures: Smile design and makeovers, removable partial prostheses, obturators.

     Implant procedures: Implant fabrication for guided surgery and for the fabrication of custom abutments or screw-retained crowns.

     Orthodontic procedures: Surface coverage appliances used for realigning malaligned or crooked teeth with aligners or braces.

     Diagnostic purpose: IOS can be used for the diagnosis of many dental conditions and can aid in the customization of appropriate treatment plans for them.

 Advantages of using intraoral scanners

The benefits of digitizing analog workflow by using intraoral scanners are:

     Less patient discomfort:

Traditional impressions can cause discomfort for patients due to the use of putty-like materials and bulky impression trays, often causing a gag reflex. Digital impressions help lower discomfort by eliminating the need for such dental tools.

      Time efficiency:

There is a lot of waiting around during the fabrication of dental prostheses using the traditional technique. Pouring stone casts and obtaining physical plaster models can now be effectively replaced with intraoral scanners.All you need to do is email the patient’s 3D virtual model to the lab and within minutes, the digital data is transferred to the manufacturing software and put in the milling machine for fabrication.

      Precision and accuracy:

The traditional impression-making process is error-prone, what with the questionable techniques and a lengthy time-lapse that enforces a leeway of man-made errors. Intraoral scanners can relay even the minute of details of the oral structures and can realistically replicate the entire oral situation.This means that, unlike manual impression-taking which can be a hit-or-miss, digital data creates prostheses with precision and accuracy.

       Cost savings:

By getting rid of the middle man (dental impression materials and trays), you are ensuring that your dental savings are maximized. The reduced consumable costs with intraoral scanners when combined with their unparalleled performance, is a sure ROI for the dental practitioner and a saving grace for you.

       Better communication:

Your dentist or dental hygienist can access and manipulate the quality of the impression in real-time. What this translates to is that if your dentist feels like the impression is low quality, they can take another impression without having to call you back in for a second appointment.Furthermore, you as a patient feel more involved and in control of the treatment process as you can visualize the end result even before the procedure.

 The takeaway

This new face of restorative dentistry - intraoral scanners - has been described by the FDI World Dental Federation as a “custom dental device, or a patient-specific dental device from an industrialized product, with the aid of a computer.” This digital medium is quickly changing the way dentists take impressions, predict orthodontic outcomes, fabricate crowns, and prosthesis, and identify distinct dental anomalies.The use of intraoral scanners expedites the process of diagnosis, promotes the accuracy of procedures, improves communication between the staff and patients, and enhances positive patient experiences.

For all your dental concerns, we have a straightforward answer - Meiplus Dentalcare. Meiplus Dentalcare is a world renowned Korean dental clinic in Singapore. The dentists working there have a combined experience of over 50 years in patient care and dental rehabilitation.. We prioritize our patients and ensure that they receive the best quality of treatment possible. Contact us for any questions!

High ranked keywords in Singapore used (according to Google trends): orthodontics, dentist near me, crowning teeth, prosthodontics

 References:

1.    National Library of Medicine, “Artificial intelligence in dentistry: current applications and future perspectives”-

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32020135/#:~:text=AI%20technology

 

2.    Dental Economics, “Things no one tells you before you buy an intraoral scanner”-

https://www.dentaleconomics.com/science-tech/article/14035697/things-no-one-tells-you-before-you-buy-an-intraoral-scanner


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