Recent developments in digital technology have led to changes in dental practices worldwide. Digital dentistry tools are rapidly progressing and becoming more accessible to dental practices and labs, allowing them to provide a more comfortable and pleasant experience for patients. Intraoral scanner technology helps dental practices to implement digital solutions to improve the speed and efficiency of workflows.
When choosing new scanning technology for your dental practice, it’s important to ensure that it will add value and be a worthwhile investment. Switching from physical impressions to intraoral scanning enables direct communication with the lab with improved accuracy. Dentsply Sirona’s Primescan enables an easier and more effective jaw scanning process in addition to improving patient experience. So, making the move to digital scanning can transform both your practice and your patient’s perception of dentistry.
In this guide, we’ll have a look at the key benefits of intraoral scanners for practice growth and improving patient experience.
48% of the population is affected by dental anxiety or fear1 so offering a timely and accurate scan the first time is key. Whether it stems from a previous bad experience, long appointment times, or a sensitive gag reflex, dentists can help to mitigate fear by using a precise digital solution such as an intraoral scanner. In fact, 84%2 of patients preferred digital to conventional impression taking. This is partly helped by the fact that intraoral scanners are fast and some can scan the full jaw (upper, lower, and buccal) in less than 60 seconds, helping to reduce the length of appointments and provide a more comfortable experience for the patient.
Traditionally, taking molds and creating night guards and implants is a very time-consuming process. Intraoral scanners provide easy and intuitive impression-taking which allows delegation to the team, freeing up more time for the dentists to spend with patients. The speed at which scans can be sent to the lab can cut days out of the process which enables them to deliver patient care faster.
Dr. Michael Snider, DMD of Cambridge Dental Associates, explains, “Digital dentistry is much more efficient than taking a conventional impression. So many patients are used to traditional impressions, gagging, and really hating the process. Often times when we’re done with the scan they are still waiting for the impression and they don’t understand we’ve already done it.”
Intraoral scanners allow dentists to scan and communicate with the lab much more quickly but the accuracy of the scan is arguably more important. This improved accuracy provides more confidence in the scan results because dentists are able to confirm the accuracy of a digital image before the lab receives it, ensuring a predictable process for patients and clinicians. In fact, 4 out of 5 patients would feel more confident that they are getting the best possible dental care if digital technology, such as intraoral scanners, were used in the practice.3
Dentsply Sirona’s Primescan allows dentists to zoom in to explore small details, check the bite, and confirm the final product will fit before sending it out to the lab. Dr. Snider shared an example of how the accuracy helps his practice, “You are able to do a surgery virtually before the patient arrives on the day of implant. We’ve already planned it, marked the nerve, and any other anatomical structures that are important to avoid. We can be confident in our plan moving forward.”
When evaluating tools to improve practice efficiency, convenience and usability are top priorities for dentists. Another reason so many dentists are opting to invest in an intraoral scanner is their ease of use, including easy scanning of all dental materials and easy impression taking. This is especially true when having to readjust materials.
Dr. Snider said, “Instead of having to put the patient through another impression, we just pick up the camera and rescan it, and it scans right over the top with the new data. It's really easy to adjust.” He also explained how relieved his patients are to not have a physical impression and how they can actually enjoy the digital scans, “My hygienists can show a patient a live 3D image of what is going on in their mouth and it is something that engages the patient and gets them involved in the treatment”.
Understanding the benefits of new technology and how it will improve your practice is important to ensure you get the most from your investment. Intraoral scanners are being implemented by a huge number of dentists to improve workflows and make the patient experience more comfortable and prevent anxiety around visits to the practice.
If you’d like to know more about investing in an intraoral scanner for your dental practice, read our blog: Why invest in an intraoral scanner for your dental practice?