8 Ways an Intraoral Scanner Will Improve Your Sleep Dentistry Workflow

The advantages of switching to analog to digital technology are well known—digital saves time, improves communication with partners and enhances the patient experience. If you’re offering sleep dentistry services to your patients, here are the 8 benefits you’ll experience.

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Improved Efficiency with Faster Turnaround
Digital impressions are significantly faster to acquire than conventional impressions.  Better yet, once the scan is completed, a digital model can be generated immediately, whereas conventional impressions require pouring up, setting the stone, and trimming models prior to review.

In addition to improving the overall efficiency and saving time, your patients will also benefit from faster turnaround of their sleep devices, enabling you to provide treatment (and relief) more quickly than with conventional methods.

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Fewer Retakes
Not only are digital impressions more comfortable than conventional impressions, but they eliminate common distortion issues encountered when acquiring conventional impressions caused by poor tray fit, improper tray seating, gagging, tongue thrust, contamination by saliva, improper wax bite capture, and poor timing.  It also eliminates errors that occur during pour up and trimming, or erroneous breakage during shipping.

Because the models are available immediately, the dataset can be reviewed while the patient is still in the chair, and segments of the impression can be easily cut and re-captured during the same appointment.  In contrast, when using the conventional process, you would not be aware of an issue until the model is poured, cured and trimmed, and the patient would need to be recalled to the practice for a retake of the impressions and wax bite.

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Reduced Costs
With no need to stock impression material, gypsum, wax, and provide model storage, intraoral scanners can help your practice reduce costs.  While an intraoral scanner may seem like an expensive piece of equipment, it’s an important business tool that will enable you to reduce appointment times, allowing you to see more patients.    

Digital impressions can also be electronically transmitted to referrals, labs and manufacturers immediately after the capture of both arches and all necessary bites is complete.  In contrast, conventional models must be sent via a courier or shipped to third parties, which not only includes packaging and fees for shipping, but also can result in delays.

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Increased Patient and Referral Satisfaction
A recent study, Conventional Vs Digital Impressions: Acceptability, Treatment Comfort and Stress Among Young Orthodontic Patients, by Mangano et al. compared the patient’s experience with conventional versus digital impressions and found that,  “the digital impression technique was more accepted by patients in terms of comfort and overall acceptance.”

As a pronounced gag reflex not only can make conventional impression acquisition a challenge and can reduce the quality of the impression and model, it can also make the impression process extremely uncomfortable for the patient.  Digital impressions can help to improve patient comfort and can help reduce anxiety that patients experience in anticipation with dental visits and procedures.

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Improved Bite Registration 
Digital models can be reviewed chairside immediately after acquisition, enabling you to review the impression and verify the patient’s bite capture.

Some intraoral scanner acquisition software, for example, CS ScanFlow, allows for the capture of up to 5 additional bites in addition to the normal bite, enabling you to register all bite positions, including protrusive bite registration.


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Shorter Replacement Time
In the event of loss or breakage of a sleep appliance, the patient can receive a replacement more quickly as you can simply resend the existing dataset and all corresponding bites digitally to the lab or manufacturer to begin the fabrication process. 

When using a conventional process, the patient would need to be recalled to the practice, impressions and wax bites acquired, and shipped to the lab.  Not only is this inconvenient for the patient, but it also increases your practices cost of the replacement appliance.

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Ability to Cover a Wide Range of Indications
In addition to capturing full arch impressions for sleep devices, intraoral scanners are versatile tools that dental practitioners use for planning restorative, orthodontic and prosthetic treatment, and the digital impressions can be used to design and fabricate restorations, surgical guides, aligners, mouth guards.

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Improved Portability (Ideal for Multi-location Practices)
Intraoral scanners can be configured with a laptop and easily transported between operatories and offices, making them an ideal solution for multi-location practices. 

Portability is exceptionally helpful for dental practitioners partnering with physicians to provide sleep therapy and is not only advantageous over maintaining inventory of conventional impression material in multiple locations, but it also offers a significantly more hygienic approach to obtaining impressions.

Carestream Dental’s intraoral scanners were designed with sleep medicine in mind. In addition to the advantages that scanners will bring to your practice, both the CS 3600 and CS 3700 are also certified for use with Resmed, Panthera Sleep, ProSomnus Sleep Technologies and SomnoMed.  Thanks to our open file format, datasets acquired with Carestream Dental intraoral scanners can be used by any appliance manufacturer that accepts digital files.

Contact the Carestream Dental team today to learn more.

The Digital Stream Carestream Dental Blog Administrator