How do you decide on the best intraoral scanner for you?
Posted by Kate Bower – 04.08.22
5 minute read
How to know which is the best intraoral scanner for you
It seems everyone is talking digital these days and a lot of this digital conversation is going on between dentists and their dental labs.
As a company that knows a bit about the intraoral scanner, we are often asked for our advice on scanners, and specifically which scanner will make a real positive difference to their dental practice. A simple question with a not too complex answer.
Common worries include whether the investment is going to be worth it and how will it affect your relationship with your dental lab. Of course, there are many more in depth questions you might have around speed and accuracy, how long it will take you to become a confident user and what happens if something goes wrong.
Have you asked yourself all the right questions?
Questions to ask when looking for the best intraoral scanner
These are all good questions but let’s deal with the issue of cost and return on investment. You only need to talk to a few dentists who have invested in a scanner to know that you will get a return on your investment, time will be saved and customers will be happier, your business may well expand. More of that later.
So what about the initial cost? You may have done some research and settled on a scanner you think is right for you, so now you start shopping around. You will find that prices will vary and there are some pretty good deals to be had. Before doing anything the big question, and most important question, is what training and support is available? Is it part of the deal, is it an extra cost or is it just not on offer at all? We can’t stress more the importance of support and training, real hands-on training from someone who has used the scanner in earnest and gives you the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible and who will be available on the other end of the phone when you need help. Almost any new piece of digital equipment will involve a bit of a learning curve and there is nothing more frustrating than struggling to get the results you were promised and not have anyone to turn to when you just can’t get the damn thing to work. The obvious conclusion is that saving money on the price of a scanner but having no training or back-up support is not a way to save money. Of course, there is always youtube, but let’s be honest, do you really want to be doing that? Buy from someone that offers you informed, in-depth training and support.
Let’s look at some of the other questions we get asked, like how fast it is. In some ways this is a bit of a red herring. Most intraoral scanners on the market are pretty speedy but your priority will surely be with the quality of the information the scanner is giving you. We say that if the quality of the scan is right and the speed is good enough that you don’t need to do repeat scans, then that is what you are aiming for; the focus should be on the quality and accuracy of the scans.
Continuing with accuracy, are there any areas where a scanner might struggle capturing an accurate image? Yes, there are, these tend to be where there might be a change in height and surface texture where the scanner might struggle to pick up the information. However, those scanners that struggle will be the cheaper models on the market; in our experience the intraoral scanners we use have no such problems. One thing to say here is that it can all come down to technique, a little twist of the scanner at the right time for example can make all the difference. This takes us back to the importance of getting training and support from someone who has used the scanner in earnest and knows all those tricks and techniques that can make all the difference.
What about you and your dental lab? You will need an intraoral scanner that creates scans that can be read by those at your dental lab, this is a definite must have, you need a scanner that is open source, full stop.
There are of course, so many other questions that can be asked and an important one is will you have access to updates, or will your scanner become obsolete once the latest model is released? So armed with as many questions as possible give your supplier a call, check if they have ‘real’ experience, quiz them on everything you can think of. If they don’t ask questions about you and your dental practice, about what you want to achieve and how you work, stop talking to them. Find out what training and support is on offer and whether they will do a free on-site demo. Trust your instincts.