In the not-so-distant past, dental and orthodontic procedures meant to replace or straighten teeth included the use of messy powders and potentially gag-inducing PVS impression materials. This uncomfortable molding process resulted in improperly fitted crowns, mouth guards and other prosthetic devices that did not match a patient’s bite.
New technology like the state-of-the-art iTero® scanner enables dentists and orthodontists to provide a higher level of care. This dental device eliminates the need for making impressions that were once essential for providing an accurate fit for Invisalign® clear braces. In addition to making the process of measuring a patient’s mouth easier and more comfortable, the scanner also provides a higher degree of accuracy.
What is an iTero scanner?
When you first step into the exam room at the orthodontist, you will notice the unit itself, a display screen, and a small wand. Unlike past messy and time-consuming processes used to collect data about your teeth, an iTero scanner cleanly and efficiently captures information about your mouth by taking 6,000 images per second. This radiation-free scanner then provides a digital, 3-D image that your orthodontist uses to determine orthodontic treatment. In just two to three minutes, the process is concluded. The scanner can be used for those seeking regular braces or Invisalign. This high-tech process eliminates the time-consuming, traditional method of creating a mold impression from gradually hardening materials or a cumbersome machine. These antiquated methods often made the patient uncomfortable, which could significantly alter the results of the impressions.
Patients may also have had to adjust their mouths and bites to accommodate the mold and remain stationary so the doctor could obtain the best image. This may have resulted in an impression that differed from the patient’s normal bite pattern, which could make dental appliances fit incorrectly. The iTero® scanner eliminates these potential problems.
This newer technology allows for more accuracy and impressions that are less prone to error. The iTero® scanner is faster and requires fewer retakes. The prosthetic devices can be produced quicker and require less fine-tuning, which improves patient comfort and satisfaction. Since the digital scan can also be sent directly to a lab, the process saves time and improves communication between the care provider and the device manufacturer.
The scan itself
During the scan, the orthodontist will insert the compact, hand-held wand into your mouth. He will then move the wand around your mouth as the scanner takes digital images. If you need a short break, he can easily stop and start the scan. Children and adults appreciate the ease with which these new images can be created.
Once the scan concludes, you and your orthodontist will have a three-dimensional image of your mouth on the screen. This real-time display allows the doctor to determine immediately whether he requires any additional images or not.
After examining the digital images, the orthodontist can now determine the best course of treatment for you. Because the images are readily available on the display screen, the doctor can discuss the results and potential treatment that same day. All of this can be done in minutes.
Benefits of using an iTero scanner
The scanner is able to capture digital images cleanly with only a small wand being inserted into your mouth instead of a messy impressions tray. In addition, there are no more pesky retakes, since the doctor is able to judge instantly whether the images are complete. Finally, since the images are digital, they can be shared easily with other professionals, such as your regular dentist or Invisalign, and these images can be accessed at any time before, during, and after treatment, resulting in a better outcome.
One of the primary features of this new technology is its ability to get better results than the old tray and putty methods. In the past, small movements on the part of the patient could affect the result, just as the removal of the tray could also disturb the impression. For those patients who may have had difficulty opening their mouths wide enough for long periods of time, that is no longer an issue, since the wand that the orthodontist inserts into your mouth is small and unobtrusive.
Since this device can capture 6,000 images per second, the orthodontist now has a highly reliable, 3-D picture from which to determine treatment. Even molars and wisdom teeth can be captured digitally, allowing the orthodontist to make highly informed decisions, which results in a better outcome for the patient. Furthermore, this digital image appears immediately. This technology’s quickness enables both you and your orthodontist to visualize the results and discuss a treatment plan on the same day rather than waiting for the usual two to three weeks that it used to take to schedule your next consultation.
Because of this new technology and its lack of trays and goop, patients find this new way of obtaining images to be far more comfortable than that of the old. Again, since the images can be completed in two to three minutes, the patient’s time in the chair is vastly improved. Due to the ability of the orthodontist to stop and start the scan at any time, the patient can even take a short break if one is desired. While there are other scanners out there on the market, they are often large and require titanium dioxide powder to be used, as well. The iTero is infinitely more desirable from the perspective of comfort.
The next steps to a better smile
Your first step to improving your smile is to book an appointment for a consultation with your orthodontist. At that time, we can examine your teeth and discuss possible treatment options. If you need Invisalign or braces in Oak Lawn, come see us.
Book a free orthodontic consultation today
If you need braces for misaligned teeth or other dental work, schedule a free consultation appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics in Oak Lawn. We will conduct an examination. Based on the results, our doctor will discuss the best course of treatment available to you. This may include the use of an iTero® scanner to create a custom-made mold.
For most patients desiring to have a comfortable, accurate picture of their mouth, resulting in superior treatment, the iTero scan would be the preferred tool. In just two to three minutes, you and your orthodontist will have a highly precise, 3-D picture of your teeth and soft tissue structures. If you are interested in taking the next step to an improved look, contact the experienced orthodontists at Petty & Bielik in Oak Lawn, Illinois, to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful, satisfied smile.