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March 2018
Volume 39, Issue 3

Visualize a Better Practice With the iTero Element® Intraoral Scanner

When it comes to dental impressioning, 2-dimensional (2D) is "old school," says Perry Jones, DDS. Jones would know a thing or two about old-school versus "new-school" dentistry, having opened his Richmond, Virginia-based private practice in 1976. Today he is an advocate for the use of all things high tech at his practice, including scanning technology, 3-dimensional (3D) printing, and surgical guides.

"The world of restorative dentistry is changing rapidly," Jones insists. "Everything in our offices is done with 3-dimensional information, including 3D scans."

The iTero Element® Intraoral Scanner from Align Technology is his go-to comprehensive system used in restorative crown, bridge, and custom implant cases, as well as to show patients the projected outcome of their Invisalign® treatment through the scanning system's exclusive Invisalign Outcome Simulator. This chairside application helps patients visualize how their teeth may look at the completion of the clear aligner treatment.

"We take iTero Element scans on every patient. The scans are archived and can be used to demonstrate to patients changes such as tooth surface wear, occlusion, and abfraction. I can make projections from the information that comes from the iTero scanner and see changes and make manipulations that I would have never perceived before," Jones says.

Scanning with the iTero Element helps Jones confidently place and restore implants with the highest level of accuracy, he says. "Working with my dental lab, I can merge CBCT DICOM data and iTero Element STL scan data. Using a virtual planning platform, I can plan the precise location of the implant in relation to the planned restoration. It all starts with digital scanning, and the iTero Element provides the confidence to place implants using precise 3D-printed guided surgical guides."

Jones continues: "Using dedicated ‘scan body' analogues, we precisely record the position of the implant fixture, and the dental lab can then design and mill precise implant restorations for individual or multiple crowns and complex implant cases. The iTero Element software enhances lab connectivity."

Digital iTero Element scan data allows dentists to work in a 100% workflow with virtual design and milling of materials such as BruxZir® zirconia crowns, Jones adds. "I can use the iTero Element to send the scan data to a designated lab or to our in-house milling machine. We can deliver pre-sintered zirconia crowns in about an hour, which is a huge time savings, and it eliminates a second appointment delivery visit.

Jones also is impressed with iTero Element's speed and ease of use. "The quick learning curve means you don't have to fear investing in technology that is too complicated to use. Everyone in our office is comfortable using the iTero Element," he says. Jones even boasts that when he asks his staff to complete a scan, he barely has enough time to get back into the room before the scan is done. "To see speeds of full-arch scans using the iRecord scan type in about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes is really fantastic."

Designed to automatically save scan data every 2 seconds, the iTero Element scanner utilizes a disposable single-use sleeve for patient protection. "With some scanners, the dentist has to hover over the teeth being scanned, which is hard to do and fatiguing," he explains. "This scanner allows you to actually touch the teeth as a frame of reference instead of hovering." Additionally, he points out that the scanner is designed to act as a retractor, gently pushing the buccal mucosa away from the tissue to allow the camera to clearly visualize the teeth.

In short, Align Technology has changed the way Jones approaches restorative and orthodontic treatments. "The iTero Element scanner allows us to see the shapes and curves of teeth in a more accurate way than point-source. With high-definition video, a touchscreen, and 3D visualizations in real-time, we can provide our patients with a visual outcome to encourage them to proceed with treatment. We're able to orient teeth in a virtual world, which is phenomenal," Jones concludes.

Align Technology
2820 Orchard Pkwy
San Jose, CA 95134

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