The infamous goo at the dentist. We all dread it. The thought of it slipping down my throat as the dentist takes an impression for my new retainer makes me gag. Literally. I’ve always thought there has got to be a better way. And finally there is…

So I’ve heard about these dental digital scanners in dentistry. And in medicine. What that all about, and why doesn’t my dentist have one?

Digital scanners have been around for a while. At first they were big clumsy, expensive units. Over time, hardware and software has been refined, and scanners are becoming more mainstream. The main selling points to providers has been to eliminate impressions (plus for patients), to provide more accurate records and to keep records (as a file) indefinitely. For a long time, scanners had a hard time providing consistent clinical accuracy. The standard allowable discrepancy in dental impressions in .04 microns. Almost all impression materials meet this. Until recently, scanners were having a hard time fulfilling this requirement. But times have changed.

The best Dentistry can now be digitally scanned.

Almost all scanners of the market at the time of this publishing have been proven to be more accurate than traditional impressions in the dental office. So now, for dentists, the only inhibiting factor in acquiring digital scanners is cost and training. As costs continue to fall, and competition heightens, expect more and more dentists to purchase scanners.

As a patient, we have many things to gain from this. For those of us who gag (like me), scanners are a god send. It is so much easier than traditional goop impressions, and i feel like I have more control. You can stop a scan any time you want. Heck, you can talk! So you can just say “stop”! I don’t feel my hands starting to sweat and stomach begin to turn when they mention that an impression is needed. Oh, and they never need a retake. A good scan is a good scan. It shows them if any data is missing, you don’t have to wait 4 (long) minutes until the end, only to find it didn’t work.

So talk to your dentist today about scanning. I like the iTero scanner the best, myself. It allow you to get a sneak peak at you Invisalign outcome, if you ever decide to go down that road (another blog). Anyways, the more of us who ask about scanners, the more likely your dentist will feel the pressure to get one. Good luck!