The above video is a behind-the-scenes look at Dr. Shirley taking an iTero® digital impression (in slow motion, so that we, the viewers can see what's happening. In real time, scanning actually goes by much quicker!).
You can see that as she guides the wand, the image of our model's teeth starts to show up on the screen. If and when we are missing a section (or missing information), we just go over that one area again and the computer knits together an accurate 3 dimensional image for us. So cool!
We often use this technology for Invisalign® cases and to prepare for the corresponding retention period (once the alignment period is over). We use this for making crowns, planning bridge as well as creating implants. 3D dentistry is one of the most versatile technologies we have, so read on to learn more about the iTero® 3D scanner.
* It is more comfortable to have a scan taken by the iTero® when compared to the old-school goopy impression material.
* You are allowed to take breaks - for example, if you need to sneeze while we're taking your digital impression, we can pause the scanning process and continue whenever you're ready. Ever needed to sneeze while taking one of those olden-day soft putty-like impressions? Yeah...it's...it's not so fun, LOL (and usually involves a tough process of trying to suppress the sneeze and willing it to go away, then losing all control and possibly sneezing way harder than you intended. And if the impression hadn't completely set at this time, we would have to retake it).
* Following the previous point, the old impressions seemed to trigger people's gag reflexes more often than the iTero® wand. Obviously, it's not a concern for everyone, but we have heard a lot of positive feedback about this 3D technology from people who have experienced both types of impressions.
* As you can probably imagine, the digitized representation of your teeth is also much more accurate than the old impressions. For example - before, we would put some material into the person's mouth, then ask them to bite down. Some possible scenarios of how this might go awry may include:
* some unset material inside of the impression
* removal of impression before it has completely set
* missing parts - either specific margins or a void was accidentally created
All of these scenarios can lead to distortion of the physical impression and will need to be taken again. With an iTero®, we can just rescan specific areas where you need more info (instead of needing to do the whole thing all over again).
* Last point on iTero® in comparison to the older impression-taking methods - with the former, there aren't any weird smells or tastes. With respect to the latter - maybe it's the funny smell/taste that makes people more susceptible to gagging.
* One of the things patients love about the iTero®, is that the image appears instantaneously. It's a much faster turnover time than impressions done the old way (We used have to send it out to a third-party laboratory - and they make it for the dental office, which takes about a week to get back to us. But of course, if there were some distortion(s) in the impression, they would ask us to do it again (and overall treatment time would be delayed)). While in life, we often associate things that are quick to be 'sloppy' and/or 'haphazardly done', the opposite is true when we go for digital - it's certainly quick but it's also super accurate! It's a win-win situation for sure.
What to Expect:
1) The iTero® wand comes with a removable head, that is new for each patient.
2) The doctor or an assistant uses the wand to scan all of your teeth and gums - they are gathering the information the computer needs to recreate your smile digitally.
3) One one arch is compete, they will take an impression of your other arch.
4) The screen will let the practitioner know in which areas they are lacking information/imagery.
5) Whoever is taking your impression will re-scan the areas that are missing info.
6) One the computer is satisfied that it has your whole smile captured, you and the doctor will take a look at it together and plan treatment.
7) If you are looking into getting Invisalign® treatment, we can also show you a simulation - so not only can you see what your smile looks like currently (from all different angles, no less!), but you can also get access to a preview of what it will look like after getting your teeth straightened with Invisalign®. We know, sometimes after having a smile for such a long time, it's difficult to image what it could look like when all the teeth are straightened. Or maybe (LOL - we've heard this as a concern from quite a few clients) you just don't believe that tiny plastic trays could really straighten your teeth because the alternative has always been to get those 'metal train tracks'. Please be assured - Invisalign® not only works on mild cases, but on more complex cases as well - they are custom-fitted appliances that apply pressure in all the right places so that your teeth will shift. Pair that up with high-quality digital technology, and you've got yourself a new smile!