5 considerations when buying an intraoral scanner

Intraoral scanners (IOS) have been been becoming increasingly popular each year. An ADA study back in 2021 reported that, even then, more than half of dental offices in America utilize IOS in their dental practice. Sales reps boast that it will increase efficiency, accuracy, and even improve patient experience and comfort. Although many dental practices swear by them, not all office,s or the labs that they work for, are seeing those results.

So how will you know if making the transition to digital dentistry is right for you?

Whatcom Dental Lab has many clients who have made the switch. Some of our doctors love the IOS workflow, while others have regretted their purchase. After witnessing the range of experiences, here are 5 important topics to consider before purchasing and intraoral scanner.

#1- How are you going to use it?

  1. Restorations- crown & bridge, implants, dentures
  2. Orthodontics- braces, Invisalign
  3. Mouth guards- night guards, sports guards 
  4. In-house or outsourced milling

#2- What are the initial & ongoing costs of the system you want to purchase?

  1. Price of scanner
  2. Warranty/Subscription fees
  3. Lab software fees (is your lab able to shoulder this?)
  4. Additional costs (wand tips, staff training, repairs etc.)
  5. How long will your ROI (return on investment) be?

#3-How easy is this IOS to use?

  1. Size & design of scanning wand
  2. User interface
  3. Reliability 
  4. Scan time
  5. Tech support

#4- What is the accuracy & quality of this system?

  1. Accuracy of scan
  2. Image quality
  3. Color vs B&W
  4. Extra features (shade taking, NIRI, wireless, etc)

#5- Does it make the type of files you need?

  1. What file type does it create?
  2. Open or closed system? (Most newer scanners are open system)
  3. Does your lab have the capability to take your scans? 

With all this in mind, how this new system will compare to the one you currently have in place?

  • Will you completely switch over, or will you still utilize both digital and traditional methods? 
  • Are you in a place where you have the time, finances, and capacity to make the switch?
  • What could it look like in 5 years from now if you make the switch, both positively and negatively? 
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