Traditional orthodontic treatment involves the use of alginate impressions to create study models and appliances. Adults who have been through orthodontic treatment as children will remember gagging on a tray of goopy alginate before their braces were put on and again when they were removed. Luckily, in 2007 a company called iTero launched an innovative piece of equipment to eliminate the need for alginate impressions. This cutting-edge invention is called an intraoral scanner.
What is an intraoral scanner?
The iTero intraoral scanner is a wand with a small camera in the tip. The dental professional gently glides the tip of the wand along the teeth and takes pictures. The iTero software stitches the pictures into a digital 3D impression. The software is interactive and will let the operator know if any more images are needed, right there at the chairside. A scan can take as little as two to three minutes to complete.
How does it work?
Intraoral scanners are easy to use and completely safe for both patient and operator. The device does not emit any radiation. The camera in the tip of the wand uses optical scanning and a laser to take thousands of images per second. This allows the software to create a precise model of your mouth, which can then be saved and used any way the orthodontist would like.
What uses does an intraoral scanner have?
Intraoral scanners can be used to produce the impressions needed to make appliances such as retainers, expanders, and the ever-popular clear aligners such as Invisalign or 3M aligners. The digital impressions can also be stored in the cloud indefinitely as study models.
What are the advantages of using an intraoral scanner?
- Greater accuracy compared to traditional alginate impressions, and therefore fewer retakes
- This greater accuracy results in appliances that fit better
- Faster turnaround time with dental / orthodontic labs
- No gagging or drooling
- No slimy alginate running down your chin
- Completely safe and comfortable
At Peterson Family Orthodontics, patient comfort is of the utmost importance. That is why Dr. Peterson is committed to using technology that helps to improve the patient experience. Our office is completely goop-free. If you are in the Queen Creek or San Tan Valley area and would like to learn more about how you can straighten your smile without suffering through alginate impressions, give us a call today!