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Which Intraoral Scanner is Right for You?

Intraoral (IOS) scanners are much more accurate than traditional impressions, not to mention much quicker, and use up significantly less shelf space. Recently, IOS scanners have gotten better hardware and more competitive pricing. So now’s a great time to get an IOS scanner. 

But it’s not wise to choose just any IOS scanner. Getting the wrong IOS scanner will be worse for a dental practice than using analog impression-taking methods.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Hassiny, founder of the Institute of Digital Dentistry, has reviewed every IOS scanner on the market. Even the brands in the lower range of the price spectrum.

Evident was fortunate to have him as a speaker on our IOS scanner webinar. This guide details all the key takeaways from that talk. You can watch the full webinar on our website, along with many other valuable webinars.

Things to Consider

Dr. Ahmad lists three important things to consider before choosing an IOS scanner.

  • What Is Your Budget? Any self-respecting business should ask themselves this question before shelling out on an investment. Clinics should consider their budget in relation to their revenue, operational expenses, and other liabilities.
  • What Do You Want a Scanner For? Dentists must consider their current workflow and any gaps they’d like to fill. For example, some dentists may want to design their own restorations. In that case, accompanying CAD software will be helpful. Other dentists may need a scanner just to create a digital model that they can send over the Internet.
  • What Procedures Do You Focus On? Dentists who focus on crown and bridge work won’t necessarily need top-of-the-line stuff. But those who do full-mouth restorative work may need more cutting-edge imaging.

Reflecting on these three questions will guide labs in choosing the right scanner.

Some other things to take into account are 1) if the scanner comes with CAD/CAM software; 2) what additional apps the scanner comes with (e.g., orthodontic simulator, smile design, model builder, etc.); and 3) the support provided by the vendor.

Dr. Ahmad mentioned the scanners below in an Evident-hosted webinar.

CEREC Primescan

One of the most premium and reliable scanners on the market today is the CEREC Primescan. It’s made by Dentsply Sirona, a trustworthy supplier in the dental industry.

The Primescan picks up images quickly and scans a wider area than other IOS scanners. This makes the Primescan much easier and more intuitive to use than competing scanners.

It also comes with an acquisition unit, which consists of a cart and a monitor. Its purpose is to serve as the scanner’s computer, giving dentists the proper hardware to manage the scans. The monitor makes it possible to visually communicate treatments to patients and staff.

However, the scanner is attached to the acquisition unit like a handset to a pay phone. This makes the Primescan not very portable.

Dr. Ahmad also mentions that Primescan, apart from their CAD/CAM software, doesn’t have any apps, such as an orthodontic simulator or dedicated smile design software.

Due to its high-spec technology, the Primescan is one of the more expensive scanners in this guide. Prices depend on the retailer, setting the Primescan’s price between 50,000 and 75,000 USD. Dentists may also contact Dentsply directly for pricing and options.

iTero Element 5D Plus

The iTero Element 5D Plus is an IOS scanner from Align. It has comparable hardware to Primescan. However, iTero’s tablet version makes the Element 5D Plus a much more portable scanner.

Align’s scanner has been made with orthodontics in mind. The orthodontic simulator that the Element 5D Plus comes with is the best on the market. It also comes with a caries detector that can spot decay within the mouth. These features, plus the screen the scanner comes with, make for a great communication tool.

Dentists who do a lot of Invisalign treatments will benefit from this scanner. That’s considering that Align will only accept scans from iTero.

Prices depend on the retailer, setting the Element 5D Plus between 34,000 and 43,000 USD. Dentists may also contact Align directly for pricing and options.

3Shape TRIOS 4

The TRIOS 4 comes with excellent scanning hardware, accompanying software, and is packed with features.

It’s wireless, making it much easier to maneuver in the patient’s mouth. It’s also smaller than the iTero and the Primescan. TRIOS 4 can be used with any laptop, but the option for a cart and monitor (called the “Move”) is there.

TRIOS’ main selling point is its rich smorgasbord of applications. With a TRIOS scanner, dentists have access to 3Shape’s wide range of solutions, such as patient monitoring, smile design, TRIOS treatment simulator (which is an orthodontic simulator), TRIOS CAD ecosystem, and its own app store.

The TRIOS 4 costs 25,000 USD in 3Shape’s store. This doesn’t include shipping, taxes, or the necessary hardware (e.g., laptop, desktop) to run the software. 3Shape also provides some nifty payment terms.

Medit i700

The Medit i700 is a fast scanner with a wide range of software solutions, just like 3Shape. It’s also plug-and-play, allowing it to be used with a PC of choice (e.g., laptop or desktop).

Acquiring a Medit scanner gives dentists access to free apps. These include an orthodontic simulator, a smile design app, a model builder, and more. However, the i700 doesn’t have dedicated CAD/CAM software. So dentists may need exocad or the services of a digital design company to design crowns, bridges, etc.

The Medit i700 has both wired and wireless options. The wireless option is much easier to move around in the patient’s mouth, making it a good alternative to the TRIOS 4.

Medit disrupts the market with its price tag. The wireless option is priced at 19,000 to 22,000 USD, much more affordable than the TRIOS 4. The wired option costs around 18,000 USD. The price will depend on the retailer. Customers who purchase them from the Evident store get 24-hour dedicated customer support.

Aoralscan 3

The Aoralscan 3 by Shining3D is the most affordable scanner on this guide. It’s priced under 11,000 USD. We supply them at the Evident store.

It has decent scanning capabilities, handling full arches with ease.

Aoralscan also has terrific software, all of which functions properly to provide useful utility for dentists. These solutions include the scanner software (called Dental Launcher), an orthodontic simulator, and a model builder.

If the dentist has a Shining 3D printer, they can quickly create simple restorations and diagnostic models in-house with the Aoralscan 3.

Other similarly-priced scanners worth a look include the Helios 600 and the AS 200E.

Conclusion

Pretty much all IOS scanners are “fast” these days, so it’s really the software and support where IOS scanners compete.

If dentists wish to manufacture restorations in-house, they’ll benefit from scanners that provide CAD/CAM solutions, such as Primescan, iTero Element, and TRIOS. Otherwise, they’ll need to purchase a third-party CAD/CAM software license, such as exocad, to design in-house.

On the other hand, dentists can save tremendous time and money by partnering with design facilities. Dentists may acquire scanners without the CAD/CAM software, slashing the price (e.g., Medit i700, Aoralscan 3). The scans can then be sent to design facilities to have a restoration designed.

Evident designs cases for thousands of dentists and labs. We’ve honed our craft, allowing us to design restorations in as little as 30 minutes. Simply send us the scans and we’ll return a ready-to-print file that you can print in-house or send to a manufacturing facility.

We also supply the Medit i700, both wired and wireless, and the Aoralscan 3 in the Evident store. Customers will get dedicated support with their purchases.

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