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Think Digital Impressions Aren’t For You? It’s Time to Reconsider!

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We’ve all seen demonstrations of intraoral scanners in CE courses and at tradeshows and been wowed by the amazing images that they can take. But the reality is, “it’s really cool” is not a valid reason to embrace a new way of doing things. New technologies need to be evaluated through a “cost/benefit” lens. How will it help our patients and practice? How will it impact our costs?

Sometimes, though, the impact and benefits are not obvious until we give a new option a try. That’s what Dr. Ankur Gupta, who has a private practice in Ohio and lectures extensively throughout the country, discovered regarding digital impressions.

“I saw scanners being demonstrated,” he relates, “and they were awesome, but I thought, ‘how is that going to change my office?’ Unless I have a milling unit, which I don’t, how is it going to change anything?”

After all, if you will still need to send the impression to the lab, make the patient go home with a temporary and then schedule another appointment to complete the restoration, why bother switching to digital impressions?

Here are some of the reasons…

 

Digital impressions can greatly improve your workflow

In spite of his skepticism, Dr. Gupta decided to give digital impressions a try when he learned about Dandy, a fully digital lab. Dandy gives dentists a 3Shape TRIOS Intraoral Scanner at no cost, with the understanding that the dentist will send at least $1,000 worth of lab work to Dandy each month. Their system also enables real-time chats with a Dandy technician. If you’re not certain about something, instant customer support is available.

“What I thought was amazing,” Dr. Gupta shares, “was not the coolness factor or the lack of the goop and the gagging from traditional PVS. It’s the workflow and efficiency, and the fact that I can do a scan, and before I even get up from the operatory, everything that I need to do for lab work is done. The lab slip is done. The communication with the lab is done. If the lab needs to check my margins, that’s done. The expected return date, that’s done. Everything’s done and I haven’t even left the operatory. That was the tipping point for me.”

 

You can easily correct a portion of a scan

Another workflow advantage has to do with what happens when portions of a scan don’t come out as clearly as you would like.

When you take a physical impression, if something doesn’t come out quite right you need to redo the entire impression—a time-consuming task for you and an unpleasant experience for your patient. With a digital impression it takes less than a minute to simply digitally “erase” the problem section and then rescan just that particular area.

 

One digital impression, multiple lab cases

Another big benefit of digital impressions comes up when a patient needs multiple things, such as a crown, an implant and a nightguard. In these situations you can take one intraoral scan and then send it to the lab with instructions for all three lab cases. Not only is this a huge time-saver for you, it also results in much greater patient satisfaction. After all, if there’s anything worse than making a patient sit with that uncomfortable tray full of impression material in their mouth once, it’s making them do it three times!

 

Conclusion

It seems inevitably that we’re all going to be moving toward digital scanners. Given the benefits that digital impressions offer even to those who are not doing the milling in-house, it’s really just a matter of time. So why not make the move now?

This article is based on the DentalTalk podcast below: