Which Intraoral Scanner Should You Buy?

Dentist using an IOS intraoral scanner on a patient

Each year, the International Dental Show (IDS) presents the newest cutting-edge advancements for dentistry.

It’s the world’s leading trade fair for the dental sector, boasting over 2,000 exhibitors and upwards of 160,000 visitors at the 2019 show in Cologne, Germany. At the 2019 exhibit, members of the Institute for Digital Dentistry (IDD), an objective third-party organization dedicated to “help[ing] our colleagues within the dental profession to take the first steps into the digital world,” took on the task of documenting features of intraoral scanners on display.

 

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Then, they organized the data collected into an easy-to-use comparison chart showing the strengths and weaknesses of each intraoral scanner.

During the five days of IDS, the evaluators tried and tested the main intraoral scanner exhibitors; there were too many to evaluate them all! They used a standard typodont for full arch scans plus bite scans to test each machine. Each element of the evaluation received a rating from one to five stars, with five being the best and one the worst.

Before we show you the side-by-side chart, here is a brief explanation of the criteria used in the evaluation process.

 

Intraoral Scanner Speed

 

This criteria seemed to be the characteristic that most dentists and demonstrators focused on during the IDS. IDD evaluators measured the speed each IOS took to scan one full arch. They report that most systems take full arch scans easily in under one minute.

 

Intraoral Scanning Flow

 

As the IDD evaluators stated, it is not all about speed. The full scanning experience involves criteria such as the scanner losing its place, handling corners and anterior areas without stopping when moving to a new quadrant, and how quickly the scan can be picked up after an interruption. Other characteristics considered were scanning that seemed glitchy, lagging, or unresponsive for the operator.

 

Intraoral Scanner Size

 

Evaluators looked at the overall size and weight of each scanner. Focusing on ergonomics, weight, and overall comfort of the scanner in the operator’s hand moved this criteria beyond just the scanner head dimensions.

 

Ease of Use

 

A seamless process and overall user-interface formed the basis for this part of the evaluation. Both hardware and software functioned together for a smooth workflow from start to finish.

 

Intraoral Scanner Price / Investment Cost

 

Price of IOS systems vary greatly based on the distributor, geographic location, extras, and available discounts. Comparisons are based on a range between the most expensive to the least expensive without giving exact dollar amounts.

 

Subscription Requirements

 

Many systems require a yearly subscription for software updates. Some are tied with maintenance packages that include updates and service. The IDD evaluators simply show in the comparison chart if a subscription is mandatory, recommended, or not required.

Other criteria included in the table are whether the scanning tips are autoclavable, availability of touch-screen technology, wireless connections, caries detection, and CAD integration.

 

Comparison Table

 

Here is a summary of the IDD comparison table published in their recent review:

IDD Intraoral Scanner Chart

Scores for speed, flow, size, and ease of use range from 5 (the best) to 1 (the worst). The “Subs” column indicates if a subscription is mandatory (red check) or not (green X).

 

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The IDD evaluators emphasize in their report that there is no perfect scanner. Some have advantages over others. Depending on the unique needs of your office, your choice of which scanner to buy should be based on several factors. Some of those factors include the focus of your practice (orthodontics? surgery?), other technologies you already use (CBCT? mills?), and whether you do in-house lab work or use an off-site lab.

Our lab technicians at First Choice Dental Lab would love to talk with you about IOS technology and help you make a decision about which system to buy. The amount of information available is overwhelming, and each manufacturer touts theirs as the “best.”

Let us help you decide. Contact us today to discuss all your technology and lab needs, or to find out more about our intraoral scanner leasing program!

 

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