In the previous post, I talked of one of the reasons (inside-tech-marketing) that make me an enthusiastic user of an intraoral scanner. But of course, that’s not the only one.
I scan because:
– I think it’s cool. And I have fun doing it. For me, it’s like playing modern 3D video games while working. It may sound silly, but I find it challenging to try to perform great scan timing without compromising quality. It’s sort of rush to do better and better, similar to when you want to beat your previous score or that of a friend of yours. OK, this is not something that can be understood by anyone, but those who liked playing video games when they’re younger could easily understand what I am talking about.
– It avoids some technical acts like placing impression in the fridge while waiting to call the technician to come and develop the impression (in Europe, it’s not common to have your own lab in the office). It saves the cost and time of production of nice-looking plaster cast. Sorry to tell all good old school colleagues that say that parents and children love their plaster cast: it’s not true. It’s us, and just us, that love the plaster cast as we were taught how to make a part of the diagnostic process through the exam on stone models. It’s part of our ortho’s DNA, but not that of the patients. Just take the time to see the reaction of some patients in front of their teeth that appear on the screen, live while you are scanning. And look how they stare at the screen while you make their teeth pivot and turn around on the touch screen. It’s the same feeling that we all had while looking at Minority Report for the first time. It’s really fascinating and…
– … it allows you to better explain the patient’s problem with their teeth as a model, which can be zoomed on and turned to allow them to really understand what is, e.g., so bad with that crossbite in the molar area (a concept otherwise not so easy to explain). The discussion takes a turn which is much more immediate compared to showing pictures or a sterile white plaster model at a future appointment. It opens to us a new way of symmetric communication/information with our patients. Informed consent is our duty: what could be better than an easy-to-understand image that the patients are aware came right from them. Pasta is good while it’s still warm, so serve it immediately instead of serving it later.
– Literature is far from establishing if customization really gives advantages to patients, and we will discuss a lot about it in this blog as a personal opinion deriving from experience that I’d like to share. I just anticipate that clinical acts are smoother. Imagine there’s no more need for bands. It may sound absurd, but casted appliances are as good, if not stronger, than normal bands. They fit properly without the need for fitting material into interproximal contact points and without elastic separators (that are surprisingly remembered as among the most painful moments of their therapy by many patients – just do a quick Google search about it). Whatever I can do that makes the orthodontic experience more comfortable for my patients is more than welcome.
– Finally, it allows you to immediately check the quality of your impressions and to determine if it’s high enough to build an appliance. It avoids the annoying duty of recalling the patient for new impressions if something was wrong and you could see it only after moulding the plaster casts.
I guess I could easily go on for a while with many other points, but at the risk of becoming boring. I felt mandatory to share some of the points that make scanning so important to me, before starting to talk about technical issues. Some of them may sound odd, but this is the core of why I scan, much more than reasons like « to save stocking place » and « to easily keep patient records for the legal term as prescribed by law ».
Let’s rock, let’s scan! =)
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