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Top 10 intraoral scanning questions for 2014

I attend approximately 20 dental industry events a year. At every show, dentists drill me (sorry, couldn't help it) about TRIOS. I get all types of questions.

I decided to make a list of the top 10 questions I've gotten this past year. The answers to them may help shed some light on intraoral scanning for you. And from my experience at dental shows, those ten questions might be some of the same ones you have too.

As digital technology grows more prevalent in usage, it will be interesting to see how the types of questions change.

But for now, the fact is the majority of our fellow industry professionals have yet to embrace digital impressions for a variety of reasons. I have found that it is usually due to a lack of knowledge about what the system can do, ROI fears, and/or “we're just not ready yet.”

I've spoken extensively to both sides, the haves and the have-nots. Believe me the haves - those working digitally - are definitely more passionate about the advantages of having a scanner than those without. You can search online on how digital scanning has revolutionized the industry. I won't go into that. Instead, here is the top ten questions for 2014.

Top 10 questions about intraoral scanners

1. Why should I use an intraoral scanner?

Speed and accuracy.  It takes 5 minutes to scan a patient, that's it! There is no impression material used, there is no sitting around waiting for the PVS to dry, no gagging, no mess. The patients love it. No retakes. In the TRIOS case, there's no need for powder and the scans are in color too. Plus the accuracy is superior to traditional impressions. I don't even need to go into the workflow and communications benefits between dental labs and technicians because you're working digitally.

2. Can I do implants?

By combining TRIOS digital impressions with CBCT scans, you can truly evaluate the clinical situation including bone density and nerve positions for prosthetic implant planning and surgical guide design. 3Shape has created a software solution specifically designed for this called Implant Studio™. It's also good to know that TRIOS supports a wide range of implant systems.

3. Is it worth the investment?

No more impressions – no more material storage or sending, less chair-time, more and happier patients. Many dentists are claiming that their practice has grown due to digital impressions or more likely because they dropped taking traditional impressions. Again, the workflow benefits between dental labs and technicians are huge.

4. Are intraoral scanners accurate?

Studies have documented that digital impressions improve clinical results and reduce the need for restoration adjustments and remakes. So TRIOS accuracy and its unique features like shade measurement and HD photos not only improve your performance but make you much more efficient as well.

5. Does it speed up case handling?

Depending on your workflow set-up, you can have a crown back in hours. The time-savings are undeniable.

6. Can I scan a full mouth?

Yes, in 5 minutes or less. I usually show conference attendees the video of a 14-year old scanning my quad in 22 seconds with TRIOS -

TRIOS also has a unique feature that lets you start and stop the scan at any point. TRIOS automatically picks up where it left off in the mouth when you begin scanning again. This is perfect for keeping patients with gagging reflex challenges calm. 

7. How easy is it to work with orthodontics?

For orthodontics, digital impressioning is a game-changer. Besides the obvious, like eliminating the need for storage space because you're not using gypsum models any longer and cutting down on your environmental impact, TRIOS and 3Shape orthodontic software enable you to plan, simulate and manage patient care as well as create orthodontic appliances using CAM equipment. You can show the patient (and his parents) on a TV screen what his treatment will look like and what the final result will be - while he is still in the chair and in 3d color!

8. What is the learning curve?

When I get this question, I usually hand the dentist a TRIOS scanner and let them go to work. TRIOS is just like any gadget. Like your smartphone, you need to get to know it, but it goes fast.

We have found that the more a TRIOS owner uses the system, the more likely they are to end up using it all the time.  It's similar to when you start watching videos on your smartphone and reading mails, once you begin doing that, you forget about the laptop. Once you start using TRIOS, it becomes part of your routine. You cannot imagine ever not having it. (See Dr. Simon Kold's comments)

9. What kind of support do I get?

3Shape bundles customer support services under its CLINIcare™ umbrella. The services include on-site assistance to install and connect the system. Training by 3Shape certified experts, educational seminars and training courses, online training webinars and built-directly in the TRIOS system, a training center with guides, videos and manuals.

3Shape also has a global support network featuring certified 3Shape representatives, multi-language second line support by 3Shape's experts for special cases, and 3Shape support and service centers around the world.

10. Why is an open system important?

As a dentist and/or business owner, if you purchase a closed system it not only limits your potential today and tomorrow but for always. It should be up to you to decide what hardware you want to use. TRIOS is open and because of that, future-proof. Your system literally gets better with age instead of outdated.

See you at the next show

One last thing… the simplest way to grasp the benefits of intraoral scanning is to go to an event and come by the 3Shape booth. You don't have to ask me anything. Just put TRIOS in your hand and discover for yourself how simple and effective it is.

Morten Ryde Holm-Hansen
Morten graduated from Aarhus University in 2007 as Clinical Dental Technician. His background is as a Dental Lab Technician in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During his time as a Dental Technician, Morten was responsible for the entire workflow from impression taking and CAD designing to the final delivery of full arch implant solutions. Morten later joined Nobel Biocare as a trainer and lecturer for the combined Clinic and Lab set up. In 2010, he began working at Straumann, where he was responsible for their digital solution, including sales, training, and support in Denmark. In 2011, Morten joined 3Shape to work specifically with TRIOS, the company's digital impression solution, as a Training and Application Specialist.