The Right Tip for the Right Job

Not every aspect of a patient’s mouth is easy to access. Limited accessibility can impact comfort for the patient and practitioner. For this reason, it is ideal to have multiple tip options for intraoral scanners to accommodate various mouth sizes, whether it be for a younger child or an adult. Unfortunately, not all intraoral scanners are equipped with interchangeable tips and may only have one, single large tip. Choosing the right intraoral scanner with multiple tip sizes offers better ergonomic choices that can satisfy the needs of the clinical staff and patient preference.

Here is the ultimate guide for distinguishing differences between tips and how best use them in your practice:

Normal Tip

The standard or normal tip works best for general scanning and is similar to the tip design of most intraoral scanners on the market. It is the most common choice for customers who have used a standard intraoral scanner in the past. 

Key Point: If you prefer to hold your scanner closer toward the tip using a “pen grip,” then the normal tip is most ideal for you.

Side Tip

The side-oriented tip has a shorter and flatter tip head, which makes it easier to position in the patient’s buccal region. Practitioners choose this tip for patients with thickened buccal mucosa or whose anatomy limits access to the buccal region. 

The side tip also allows you to hold the scanner at a different angle, which can lessen the stress on your wrist in challenging buccal and lingual scanning situations. Changing the tip can allow you to minimize repetitive wrist movement while scanning. 

Key Point: This tip is a great option for those who prefer to hold the scanner with a palm grip instead of a pen grip.

Posterior Tip

The posterior tip improves access in tight spaces due to its short 14 mm tip height. It also boosts patient comfort during scanning. The posterior tip is not for general scanning; rather, it should be used for specific regions in the mouth, such as distal molar surfaces, and for patients with limited bite openings, trauma, or TMJ.  It also improves access to subgingival areas of the preparation. 

The posterior tip is approximately the size of a turbine head without the bur in place.

Key Point: Most clinicians perform initial scans with the standard or side-oriented tip and then change to the posterior tip to scan more challenging regions of interest. 

Carestream Dental Blog Administrator Contributor


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