In the past, going to the orthodontist meant getting putty impressions of your teeth to create appliances and retainers.
These impressions were messy and gummy and never easy or enjoyable. Sometimes they even had to be redone if the putty did not set right. But with recent technological advancements, today those molds are used less and less in favor of digital scans.
iTero Digital Scanner
The iTero digital scanner is a light, handheld tool that can take 3D images of your teeth and mouth. It takes up to 6,000 frames per second and can generate a detailed mapping of your entire mouth on a computer screen. This ensures your orthodontist gets a complete image of your teeth.
The scanning device, also known as a wand, is simply waved over and around your teeth to capture the images. The wand is easy to use and extremely comfortable for patients. The images it produces can be rotated and zoomed in to get an in-depth look at your teeth.
How It Works
Digital scanners are extremely straightforward to use. There are no buttons or switches to worry about. Once turned on, the orthodontist can wave it across your teeth and inside your mouth.
Our orthodontic assistant will scan the inside of your palate and dental areas. iTero technology allows us to scan in motion and continuously move the wand through your mouth, capturing images as it does.
The software automatically detects where the scanner is and when it changes position. iTero has recently developed a new wand that is 40% smaller than previous systems and is much more comfortable during the scanning process.
Digital scans are developed immediately and the images of your teeth, palate, and mouth appear on the computer screen as soon as they are scanned in. The orthodontic assistant can monitor these images while scanning to make sure they digitally record every part of your mouth.
Your orthodontist will then take a look at your scans by rotating and zooming in on each problematic area in the images.
Advantages of Digital Scanning
Cleaner – Without any sticky paste and cold metal trays to make clay impressions, digital scanning is much cleaner than alternative methods. Trained orthodontic assistants wield the wand easily in your mouth so you don’t have to worry about any gagging, uncomfortable tastes, or chalky residue left behind.
Faster – Digital scanning is also much faster than impressions. Because of the real-time scanning, images are available immediately for the orthodontist to see and review.
In the past, the putty molds would have to harden and dry before the orthodontist could even examine them. This could take hours. And sometimes after they were dry, they would have to be redone to create cleaner molds.
Now, a full impression model can be scanned and uploaded in a matter of minutes. That means even less time in the orthodontic chair!
More Reliable – Digital scans are much more reliable than putty molds. The digital software accounts for irregularities in the enamel of your teeth and gives higher quality view of your mouth. It also captures images in color, which can make it easier to tell the difference between gum and tooth structures. The digital data saves every two seconds and is backed up to the hard drive so you don’t have to worry about losing your scans or patient history.
Use with Invisalign – The iTero scanner can also be used with Invisalign products. This scanner is linked to the Invisalign software that creates aligners from digital scans. These images create a customized treatment plan for each patient. This streamlines the process if you know you want Invisalign.
Need for traditional Impressions – In some cases, traditional impressions may still be needed depending on what type of appliance or retainer that is needed. But, certainly being used less and less!
Digital scans can also be used to create certain customized retainers after your orthodontic treatment is complete.
If you have any questions about digital scanning or want to know more, call us today at (843) 4-BRACES.