Intraoral Scanners

You may be familiar with a traditional dental impression technique. A dentist inserts a tray of putty into the patient’s mouth, the patient bites down and holds until the putty hardens, then they remove it from the patient’s mouth. This makes an impression that will be used to make a model of the patient’s teeth, usually at a laboratory. This model can be used when the dentist is designing implants, crowns, bridges, braces, or other prosthetics. It allows the dentist to work on a treatment away from the patient.

An intraoral scanner digitizes the dental impression process, doing away with trays, putty, and probably some patient gagging.

An intraoral scanner is essentially a wand that is inserted into the patient’s mouth for a few seconds that scans the mouth using one of various light beam technologies, depending on the model. These scans generate a 3D digital model of the patient’s teeth to be viewed on a computer or tablet.

A digital model allows for a digital workflow, where files can be sent to a lab to have a prosthetic designed and milled, or milled chairside by the clinician. This is a much faster and more efficient process than it used to be.

Some Intraoral scanners have virtual articulators that calculate the dimensions of the bite coming together. This feature is helpful in the design process, but once the prosthetic is delivered, the need for occlusal adjustment exists. This is where digital occlusal analysis and intraoral scanners differ significantly.

An intraoral scanner can’t replicate a patient biting or performing functional movements in real time. So while an intraoral scanner can help you visualize your bite, it doesn’t provide any data about the timing and force. That’s where digital occlusion analysis comes in.

Digital Occlusion Analysis

When you hear about occlusion, you may first think of articulating paper. This is the analog method of identifying bite imbalances. It leaves ink on the teeth after the patient’s occlusal planes come into contact. However, it does not tell you the amount of force that was applied to create each ink spot.

A tool like T-Scan™ provides the data that articulating paper cannot. T-Scan not only shows where the teeth come together, but also the force at each of those points. T-Scan can help a dentist identify imbalances in a patient’s bite and high pressure points that can lead to pain and damage to natural teeth, restorations, and implants.

It takes a “movie” or a scan of the bite as the teeth come in and out of contact—revealing the forces on each tooth on the dentition, measuring the balance and distribution as it goes. Because it has a timing element, you can evaluate premature contacts, working and non-working interferences, and more. It allows Dr. Takher to be more accurate and efficient at occlusal analysis.

Digital occlusion analysis tools and intraoral scanners are different, but can be used in tandem.

The combination of these tools along with 3D printing technology allows for Dr. Takher to offer his clients the best of the best in the modern dentistry. Therefore, the ability to diagnose and treat bite issues at Peña Adobe Dental are second to none.

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