Intraoral scanners and the future of dentistry

It can be difficult for dentists to know which latest technology is worth the splurge. Rick Workman, DMD, argues that there's no question that dentists should seriously consider intraoral scanners.

May 19th, 2016

It can be difficult for dentists to know which latest technology is worth the splurge. Rick Workman, DMD, argues that there's no question that dentists should seriously consider intraoral scanners.

In a world where technology is constantly evolving, it is important for dentists to keep up with these changes by staying up to date on the latest innovations in dentistry. One of these newest revolutions is the intraoral scanner.

This modern device can bring your practice one step further into the 21st century by delivering accurate scans of your patient's bite or tooth without the need to take traditional impressions. Implementing an intraoral scanner into your practice can save time during the early stages of treatment, save money on impression materials, and bring better results for your patient in the long run.

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Today's patients desire quick, easy, and accurate results now more than ever before. Traditional impressions have proven to be unpredictable in delivering precise measurements for treatment planning. The multiple steps involved in taking an impression increase the likelihood for error (e.g., the impression not setting up correctly). Factors that can contribute to this include the length of time the impression was kept in the patient's mouth, the temperature of the office, or the precision of the pour. This inconsistency must be accounted for, so when an impression becomes distorted, patients are often asked to come back in for a second impression. This adds more time to the overall length of treatment. Moreover, it can be expensive and inconvenient to continuously purchase and order the necessary materials for traditional impressions.

An intraoral scanner eliminates many of these time-consuming and often imprecise steps. A digital impression taken by an intraoral scanner delivers a quick, accurate image of the treatment area. The nuisances of taking an impression with putty and filling it with messy plaster are no longer factors. What's more, there is no need to worry about the distortions that can occur due to the inconsistent nature of traditional impression materials.

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Heartland Dental is committed to providing supported doctors and teams with updates and educational support on the latest innovations in dentistry. In line with this mission, one of the goals for 2016 is to begin implementing intraoral scanners into our supported dental offices. The clinical team will be researching the best modern scanners available today, and will provide information and education to supported dentists. Intraoral scanners will allow Heartland Dental supported doctors to provide their patients with quick, accurate treatment, while also saving them time and money when taking impressions. This will ultimately allow for supported dentists and their teams to provide the most optimal dental care available.

Intraoral scanners are the future of dentistry. By implementing them into your practice now, you will put yourself and your team ahead of the curve in dental care. Your patients will be thrilled with the ease and efficiency of this new technology, giving them even more incentive to move forward with treatment. An investment in an intraoral scanner now will be an investment in your practice, your standard of care, and above all, your patients.


Rick Workman, DMD, is the founder of Heartland Dental. After practicing full-time, Dr. Workman created Heartland Dental, a world-class dental support organization, offering nonclinical, administrative services to supported dentists. Heartland Dental has over 700 supported dental offices in 32 states. Dr. Workman may be reached at rworkman@heartland.com.

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