Dental Scanning Technologies with Software for Better Results

Dental ScanningDigital dentistry is becoming the norm in the dental industry. High tech equipment, such as CAD/CAM, extra-oral scanning, intraoral scanning, 3D printing and 3D milling, are some terms that have been making the rounds among dental professionals. It seems like these are the only topics dentists discuss when they get together.

Around 8,000 dental professionals converged in Singapore in April for IDEM Singapore 2014. The high tech equipment was discussed in most lectures. Everyone agreed that the future is now. But older labs and technicians are worried that the new technologies will usher the end of traditional prosthetics and restoration business.

The advances in scanning technologies combined with powerful software can create 3D models that are cheaper. 3D printers are also more accurate that dentists can create their own models without the help of a dental lab.

According to manufacturers of digital dental technologies, the day that dental labs have dreaded has already arrived. The technology allows dentists to scan the teeth and make crowns for patients in a single session. In the past, the procedure takes weeks but with the present technology, it is done in just an hour or two.

Instead of creating a mold and sending it to the lab for scanning, a dentist with the right equipment can do it in various methods. The digital scan can be sent to an on-site milling or 3D printer to create the crown from a single block of porcelain. They also have the option to print it from resin. All these can be done while the patient is waiting. The crown is ready for fitting after a little finishing and prep work. Then the patient can walk out of the clinic with a new crown.

The new procedure is appealing to patients but the technology is still new. Around 10 percent of dental surgeries in the US have CAD/CAM machines. One in 10 of those who have it don’t use it because they find the learning curve to high. They don’t want to risk clinical issues. Technicians don’t need to worry about losing their business for now.

Photo by A. Nick De La Cruz [Public domain], undefined

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