With so many intraoral scanners on the market, dental practices should undertake a thorough dental scanner comparison before investing in digital dentistry.
So you’re well aware that digital dentistry offers a range of benefits for dental practices – from increased patient comfort to better workflow efficiency. You also know that intraoral scanners are the backbone of digital dentistry. They’re the device that enables you to switch from messy physical impressions to fast, efficient and accurate digital scans.
But is it the right time to make the move to an intraoral scanner for your practice? That depends. Intraoral scanners require a sizeable up-front investment – and some charge ongoing monthly and annual fees. And, like all electronic devices, digital scanners are not created equal.
It’s a matter of looking carefully before you leap. So we’re going to run through some of the key considerations you should keep in mind to conduct a thorough dental intraoral scanner comparison. Then we evaluate five of the most common scanners on the market across five critical categories: accuracy, interface, compatibility, efficiency, and cost.
There are several intraoral scanner advantages that can help improve your dental practice, but the major benefits of transitioning to digital scanners surround improving the patient experience and boosting the workflow efficiency of the practice.
For patients, intraoral scanners eliminate the use of uncomfortable impression materials, enhance the accuracy of scans which leads to better treatment outcomes, and help patients to visualise treatment options and progress with 3D digital models.
For practices, intraoral scanners typically integrate with dental lab software to streamline workflows, improve communication and collaboration between the practice and the lab, drastically reduce time-consuming remakes, and enable fast turnaround times on the design and manufacture of a wide range of dental restoration prosthetics.
There are a few potential disadvantages of intraoral scanners that dentists should consider when choosing the best intraoral scanner for your practice. Digital scanners often require a significant up-front investment for dental practices, so small practices should ensure they have a large enough patient base to get sufficient return on investment.
While most intraoral scanner systems are designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, there is an initial learning curve that practices should account for. And like most other electronic devices, intraoral scanners need a reliable internet connection for smooth, uninterrupted use.
With so many options on the market, practices should undertake a thorough dental scanner comparison to find the best intraoral scanner for your specific needs. Accuracy and precision are crucial, so look for scanners with proven track records of delivering accurate results.
Faster scanners can streamline the impression-taking process, so assess the scanning speed of the device in order to achieve the best possible efficiency gains.
Also consider the compatibility of the scanner with other systems and software used in the practice. Ensure that the scanner integrates seamlessly with computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems, dental laboratory software, or practice management software for efficient workflows and data sharing.
While intraoral scanners have generally evolved over time to become more user-friendly, they are not all created equal. Features such as real-time visual feedback, guided scanning workflows, and automated functions all help to simplify the scanning process and help users navigate through the scanning steps.
However, even the most user-friendly scanners still require some level of training and practice to achieve proficiency. Some manufacturers or authorised distributors provide in-person training, or online resources such as user guides, videos and webinars to help your team get up to speed.
Intraoral scanners are typically designed to integrate with other digital dentistry tools and equipment to enable seamless communication and workflow integration. However, the level of integration can vary depending on the specific scanner model and the compatibility of the software and systems involved.
Again, conducting a comparison of intraoral scanners is important for determining their level of compatibility. Look for scanners that directly import scans into CAD/CAM software so your dental lab can seamlessly and efficiently design and manufacture restorations.
Depending on the model you choose, intraoral scanners are also capable of integrating with practice management software, CBCT systems, orthodontic treatment planning software, and imaging software.
Our comparison of intraoral scanners evaluates popular scanners across five key categories: accuracy, interface, compatibility, efficiency, and cost.
Accuracy: The 3Shape TRIOS utilises advanced optical technology, including enhanced image capture and depth of field, to produce accurate and detailed 3D models. It is also frequently considered best-in-class for edentulous scanning.
Interface: The scanner’s software provides clear instructions and visual guidance during the scanning process, which ensures efficient operation and reduces the learning curve for dental professionals.
Compatibility: The 3Shape TRIOS scanner offers excellent compatibility with various digital dentistry tools and software. It integrates seamlessly with CAD/CAM systems, and is compatible with a wide range of third-party software. It also widely acclaimed as one of the most versatile scanners on the market, which makes it a great all-rounder option,
Efficiency: The scanner’s fast scanning speed enables quick acquisition of full-arch or partial-arch scans. It also features real-time scanning feedback, auto-detection of missing data, and shade matching. Additionally, the scanner’s wireless capabilities enhance mobility and convenience during scanning procedures.
Cost: Like most scanners, the cost of the 3Shape TRIOS intraoral scanner can vary depending on the specific model, software packages, and support plans selected. Annual and monthly subscription fees represent an ongoing cost, and you’ll likely need to pay extra for add-on features like the Smile Preview orthodontic simulator.
Accuracy: The iTero Element intraoral scanner is known for its high accuracy and precision in capturing digital impressions. It utilises high-resolution imaging technology to produce detailed 3D digital models, resulting in accurate restorations and orthodontic treatments.
Interface: The scanner features a user-friendly interface with intuitive touch-screen controls. The guided scanning workflow helps users navigate through the scanning process efficiently, reducing the learning curve and enabling a smoother user experience.
Compatibility: The iTero Element scanner integrates seamlessly with Align Technology’s digital treatment solutions. This compatibility allows for efficient treatment planning, improved communication with dental laboratories, and streamlined workflows within the Align ecosystem.
Efficiency: The scanner offers fast and efficient scanning capabilities, allowing for quick capture of digital impressions. This reduces chair time for patients and improves overall workflow efficiency in the dental practice.
Cost: The iTero Element intraoral scanner represents a significant investment for dental practices. The initial purchase cost, along with ongoing maintenance and software updates, may be a consideration for practices with limited budgets. There is also a monthly subscription fee to consider, and disposable tips represent an ongoing consumables cost.
Accuracy: The Medit intraoral scanner utilises high-resolution imaging and advanced scanning algorithms to produce precise 3D models of teeth and oral structures. The scanner’s accuracy contributes to well-fitting restorations, improved treatment planning, and better patient outcomes.
Interface: The Medit scanner features a user-friendly interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate. It offers a simple and streamlined scanning process, with clear on-screen instructions and real-time visual feedback during the scanning procedure.
Compatibility: Compatibility with various digital dentistry systems and software is good. It integrates well with CAD/CAM systems, and is compatible with a range of third-party software to facilitate communication and collaboration between the dental practice and dental laboratories or other software platforms.
Efficiency: A fast scanning speed allows for quick and efficient acquisition of full-arch or partial-arch scans. The scanner’s real-time scanning feedback and advanced features, such as auto-detection of missing data, contribute to efficient workflows and reduced chair time for patients.
Cost: The cost of the Medit intraoral scanner is competitive and offers a more affordable option compared to some other intraoral scanners available in the market. However, pricing can vary based on the specific model, software packages, and support plans chosen. There are also no annual subscription fees.
Accuracy: The Primescan intraoral scanner utilises advanced optical scanning technology, including enhanced 3D imaging and powder-free scanning. The scanner’s high-resolution images enable detailed visualisation of tooth structures, soft tissues, and intraoral conditions.
Interface: The Primescan scanner features a touch-screen control panel for easy navigation and operation. The scanner’s software provides clear instructions and visual guidance during the scanning process that ensures users can efficiently capture comprehensive digital impressions.
Compatibility: The scanner offers good compatibility with various digital dentistry tools and software. It integrates smoothly with CAD/CAM systems, with seamless transfer of digital impressions and direct design of restorations. The scanner is also compatible with a wide range of third-party software and laboratory systems.
Efficiency: Primescan is known for its fast scanning speed and overall efficiency. It captures full-arch digital impressions quickly, and the scanner’s advanced technology ensures rapid data acquisition and processing. The powder-free scanning feature eliminates the need for applying contrast agents or powders, which saves additional time during the scanning process.
Cost: The scanner’s price may vary based on the selected software and support packages. It is one of the more expensive systems on the market, and if you want to connect it to an in-house CEREC milling machine you’ll need to purchase additional software.
Accuracy: The DEXIS IS 3700 intraoral scanner has been positively reviewed for its high degree of trueness and precision. The scanner also features impressive shade-matching accuracy.
Interface: DEXIS typically designs user-friendly interfaces for their dental products, and the IS 3700 intraoral scanner is no exception. The software sets out a simple step-by-step scanning workflow, and prompts identify any areas that may have been missed.
Compatibility: The scanner’s IS ScanFlow software portal can be easily launched from just about any PC, and features a web-viewer interface that’s accessible from your tablet and smartphone. It also integrates with Dexis DTX Studio™ Clinic.
Efficiency: The IS 3700 is about 20% faster than the IS 3600. The IS 3700 can complete a single arch scan in around 30 seconds, and uses built-in artificial intelligence (AI) to improve efficiency – particularly when conducting bite scans.
Cost: The IS 3700 sits in the middle of the market in terms of cost, but has no annual fees or subscription costs. Scanning heads typically need to be replaced after around 60 cycles, so the scanner does come with an ongoing consumables cost.
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