The Future of Dentistry: Intraoral Scanner


    The dentistry is crawling in its development regarding innovations and technology. There is large space for new technologies and innovations in this field and increasing day by day. The future of dentistry will be very much different than we are practicing today. Digitization is dentistry has been made in large extent. But there are some promising innovation and technologies that will be future of dentistry.

    To treat the teeth, we need to understand the teeth. Not only teeth, a detail understanding of gums and adjacent oral tissue are vital for complete treatment.  Understanding teeth, its pattern and structure had been always a challenge to dentistry since its early age.

    In 1728, Pierre Fauchard made dentures by measuring mouth with compasses and cutting bone to approximate shape for the space to be filled. In 1844, Plaster of Paris was first used as an impression material, the credit for which goes to three dentists—Westcott, Dwinelle and Dunning.

    These types of impression could give some knowledge on teeth but could not understand tissue and its movement.

    Since 19th century impression has been more accurate. Detail knowledge of oral tissue has been known these days. Impression techniques based on various theories have been developed which are leading to more accuracy of the replica. But still there are some shortcomings in these techniques. Some of the materials and its properties lead to error in replication. This can hinder stability and retention of denture.

    In a dental clinic USA, an orthodontist was making impression of oral tissue on a dental chair. He didn’t use any impression material that we use. He had a small probe like device with scanner at its tip. He inserted this probe in patient’s mouth and 3D image of his oral tissue and shown on the screen near the chair side in fraction of second. He could manipulate the image, rotate it, and change it on computer.

    This device is Intraoral Scanner (IOS). The implementation of the IOS device in dental practices coincided with the development of CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) technology in dentistry, with numerous advantages for practitioners. Nowadays, IOS and CAD/CAM provide easier planning of treatment, case acceptance, and communication with laboratories, reduced operative time, storage requirements, and reduced treatment times. The last decade has seen an increasing number of optical IOS, and these are based on different technologies; the choice of which may impact on clinical use.


    Some advantages of digital scanning include improved diagnosis and treatment planning, increased case acceptance, faster records submission to laboratories and insurance providers, fewer retakes, reduced chair time, standardization of office procedures, reduced storage requirements, faster laboratory return, improved appliance accuracy, enhanced workflow, lower inventory expense, and reduced treatment times. Benefits to the patient include an improved case presentation and a better orthodontic experience with more comfort and less anxiety, reduced chair time, and easier refabrication of lost or broken appliances, as well as potentially reduced treatment time.

    Recently, use of IOS in implant dentistry is a hot topic. Some of the article concludes it being a boon for implant dentistry. However some point out many disadvantages about it. Theoretically, the digital impression let the clinician to avoid some of the disadvantages associated with the conventional approach, and could thus result in a more accurate implant impression.

    The accuracy of a digital impression depends not only on the accuracy of the intra-oral scanner, but also on the accuracy of fit of the scan body, the digital software, or the cast fabrication and implant analogue transfer to the casts, if the working casts fabricated.

    Intra- oral scanners build 3D models by combining several 3D images made of the same area from different angulation. This composition of different 3D sections can lead to registration errors; scan accuracy relies on both the scanning technology and the registration algorithm for the compilation of the final data.

    Since the technology is dynamic and progressive, the error can be understood and can be corrected along with the time. This technology in dentistry is still in cradle, a lot of research is going around the world regarding its use and efficiency. So today it may have some hitches, near future it will be the face of dentistry.

    Suresh Dahal
    Dr. Suresh Dahal
    BPKIHS Dharan


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