by Lee Andrews II, D.M.D.
Dr. Andrews’ orthodontic practice had a problem. After nearly 40 years of taking traditional impressions, there simply was not enough room to store its patients’ stone models.
“We were starting to run out of physical storage for the stone models,” Dr. Andrews said. “We had to make more room. We were potentially going to have to use offsite storage or start destroying the models, and that’s just an extra expense.”
Something had to change. Rather than paying for offsite storage or destroying older models, Dr. Andrews found a third alternative: the CS 3500 intraoral scanner from Carestream Dental. The CS 3500 streamlines the entire impression-making process by eliminating the need to fill patients’ mouths with impression material, pour molds or wait for stone models to set. Combined with CS Model design software, accurate digital models are created within minutes.
Portable, Lightweight and No Click or Monthly Fees
When choosing which scanner was best for his office, Dr. Andrews was looking for a few key features, portability being one of them.
“I really like how the scanner connects via USB port,” he said. “The portability is extremely easy, and other scanners on the market require carts that you have to wheel around your office and take up way too much space.”
The lack of recurring fees also appealed to Dr. Andrews: “Some of the other scanners require you to pay every time you do a scan, and I like how you don’t have to do that with the CS 3500. You own the scanner and you can scan as many times as you like without any extra fees.”
Additionally, Dr. Andrews and his staff appreciate the small, ergonomic design of the scanner, which makes it easy to use and more comfortable for patients.
Benefits to Staff…
Once the scanners were installed in his practice, Dr. Andrews and his staff began learning the ins and outs of the technology.
“The more scans we did the more comfortable the assistants got using the scanners,” he said. “It’s just a matter of reaching a comfort level, like any new equipment.”
When the doctor and staff became more comfortable with using the scanners, they quickly noticed a change in operations around the practice—staff were spending less time making impressions. With a scanner, two arches could be scanned in under 10 minutes, and the latest software updates increased the speed of the scan even more. Compare that to traditional impressions: making the impression, pouring them up, waiting for them to dry, separating them, trimming them and eventually finding storage for the stone model. Overall, digital impressions take far less time to acquire.
Staff love not having to search through the model storage area to find a patient’s physical stone model. Now, they quickly and easily display the model on any computer in the office. CS Model software even automatically mounts the model in a finished base so they are ready for patient presentation at any moment. As Dr. Andrews says, digital impressions are “more much convenient and user-friendly.”
Plus, there’s less need to purchase alginate and dental stone, and the CS 3500 is much more accurate than an alginate impression and stone model, which is crucial when it comes to fabricating appliances.
…And to Patients
Dr. Andrews and his staff aren’t the only ones to notice the difference that an intraoral scanner can make to an orthodontic practice. His patients were pleasantly surprised, as well.
“If a patient is apprehensive about impressions, the scanner really puts their minds at ease,” he said. “It allows them to relax and have a positive first clinical experience with your practice.”
He has also noticed that patients and parents alike love to watch the monitor as the arches are scanned and the teeth appear as a digital model. The technology is new and exciting, and the “cool factor” serves as a way to distract nervous young patients.
“Anything that can put the patient’s mind at ease and give them a better overall experience is definitely beneficial for everybody involved,” Dr. Andrews said.
Marketing Your Practice
Dr. Andrews also points out that the scanner is a great marketing tool for the practice. A combination of “goo-free” impressions and cutting-edge 3D technology positions Dr. Andrews’ practice as an innovative orthodontic office in the community.
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