Digital technology has seen some major advances in the last few decades. In fact, advances in digital technology have completely revolutionized many aspects of our world—including modern dentistry. One technology that has significantly changed the world of dentistry is the intraoral digital scanner.
What Is An Intraoral Digital Scanner?
An intraoral digital scanner sounds really complicated, but it is essentially a machine that takes digital 3D images of a patient’s teeth and mouth.
The first digital scanning technology was first developed in the 1970s by a man named Francois Duret.
By 1985, the first 3D intraoral imaging system became available for commercial use and was mainly used by laboratories for research purposes. Since the 80s, 3D imaging has continued to evolve. Today, digital scanners are widely used in dental offices and serve a variety of useful purposes.
How Does Digital Scanning Work?
Modern dental scanners are typically made up of several components: a toothbrush-sized probe, a computer, and 3D imaging software.
When completing a dental scan, the dentist or dental professional will use the toothbrush-sized probe to carefully run along the surfaces of their patient’s teeth. This probe will then record the size, shape, and exact placement of a patients’ teeth, gums, and tongue. The wands used for this technology are extremely lightweight and usually fit comfortably in people’s mouths. These wands are also equipped with unique features like auto-focus, zoom, and freeze frame lenses, which allow the digital scanner to retrieve an accurate image of a patients’ oral cavity.
The wand can actually capture data points six thousand times per second, which is incredibly fast and effective. This data will then be sent to the connected computer’s software. This software builds the data into a complete 3D image of the patient’s mouth and teeth.
This technology is so advanced that the system is able to produce a detailed digital map in just a couple of minutes—wow!
How Does A Digital Scanner Benefit Me?
The inner workings of this equipment might sound really cool, but how exactly does this technology benefit you?
Digital scanners have lots of uses. They can help dentists create crowns, veneers, inlays, implants, and more. Digital scanners can also help dentists create records of their patients’ hard and soft mouth tissues, which allows the dentist to monitor potential oral conditions and diseases—like gingivitis.
Digital 3D scanning can also help dentists create impressions much more easily. Have you ever had to sit with your mouth open at the dentist waiting for your impression tray to harden? Not fun, is it? The digital scan eliminates the need for impression trays which are often uncomfortable for patients. This is especially helpful for people with strong gag reflexes or little children who have a hard time leaving an impression tray in their mouth for long periods of time. Digital impressions also prevent the need to retake manual impressions multiple times, which always prolongs the appointment.
3D imaging enables dental hygienists to show a patient’s oral health conditions in a much more effective way than a simple conversation. Not to mention, 3D scanning is much faster than more traditional methods. For example, patients can immediately be shown images of their fractured teeth or gingivitis inflammation at the tap of a button.
Digital scanning is still not used in every dental office, but the many benefits provided by this technology are making digital scanning a much more common tool.
Get Your Questions Answered
If you are curious about digital dental scanning and are wondering how it can impact your life, contact a team of skilled dental professionals. At East Center Dental, our staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and ready to help. Don’t be afraid to ask—we’re here for YOU!