Improving Process Efficiency with Intraoral Scanning
Communication portal helps laboratory optimize benefits
Productivity and efficiency are top priorities for high-volume dental laboratories, and the Leixir Group is no different. Leixir's philosophy centers around harmonizing people and technology with the aim of being dentists' choice of dental laboratory. The key is combining personal relationships with state-of-the-art technology.
"Speed, accuracy, and overall experience are critical to laboratory customers and their patients, and when leveraged to its fullest potential, technology can have a tremendous impact in these areas," says Lonnie Lee, Vice President of Leixir Resources, PVT, LTD. "In recent years, a proverbial explosion in technology has enabled new levels of workflow productivity and efficiency, and Leixir has been harnessing the power of technology from the start."
Today, Leixir is seeing even greater benefits from technology as an increasing number of dentist partners leverage contemporary scanning and project management systems.
"Working together," Lee says, "we have been able to significantly reduce the steps and time required to create quality fabrications using highly accurate measurements."
Of course, the digital workflow often begins with intraoral scanning by the dentist, and Leixir has identified several ways that this benefits the laboratory. Increased accuracy helps the laboratory's technicians fabricate restorative units with considerably fewer errors, avoiding costly rework that is crucial for clinical practices and patient care. Similarly, it radically improved communications between practices, modeling centers, and laboratories, making collaboration much more efficient.
Digital scanning also has paved the way for new digital workflows, both within a dental practice and between practices and laboratories.
"Building on established models," Lee says, "digital workflows deliver more value with fewer steps and less effort. Today, digital workflows allow us to produce prostheses with no intermediary scan services or enhancements required. We can mill and print using end-to-end digital project management and do a large amount of fine-tuning while a patient is in the chair."
Leixir's scanner of choice is the iTero® intraoral scanners from Align Technology. iTero intraoral scanners are designed to deliver speed, reliability, intuitive operations, and outstanding visualization capabilities for general practitioners or orthodontists. iTero scans have been used in more than 7.5 million restorative crown, bridge, and custom implant abutments cases, and more than 35.4 million orthodontic cases.*
In particular, Align Technology's MyiTero portal has played a pivotal role in helping Leixir's laboratories service more patients faster. Using the MyiTero portal, a dentist can send digital scans directly to the laboratory and solicit immediate feedback and adjustment while the patient is still in the chair. Initiating a discussion is easy for the laboratory—simply click the "Return" button to send the case back to the dentist with any necessary notes.
"When a patient's scan comes in," Lee says, "we assess the quality of the scan's metrics and make immediate recommendations regarding effective unity preparation and scan quality. If a dentist needs to rescan to provide an optimal impression, we can advise them immediately, eliminating redundancies and saving the patient a trip back to the practice."
Importantly, Lee adds, the dentist does not need to rescan the full arch in many of these situations.
"Only the communicated area for improvement needs to be rescanned, saving the dentist time and optimizing the patient experience," he says.
Receiving an accurate digital impression in real-time while the patient is still in the chair is critical to minimizing the potentially costly variables associated with traditional modeling and processing.
"Using this system, we can clearly see every dimension of a patient's structure and bite pattern—and how it changes over time, as well—and we can begin production without worrying about material shrinkage or other uncontrollable risks," Lee says. "MyiTero puts our laboratory in the driver's seat for digital workflows and dentist communications. Our laboratory benefits from receiving optimized intraoral scans in minutes as it allows us the ability to return the case to the dentist if scan adjustments are needed. Moreover, the ability to review scans and prescriptions without downloading patient files increases the efficiency of starting cases. Lastly, the greatest opportunity of streamlining the entire process from start to finish is the ability for open export to CAD software. It provides our laboratory a single user interface to direct our workflow in any way desired."
Advances in digital scanning and the opportunities for efficiency are just one aspect of what is possible with new and improved technology. Lee looks forward to Leixir capitalizing on further evolution in the future.
"The pace of innovation continues to grow," Lee says, "and adopting new ways of working will result in real and measurable benefits for laboratories now that will continue to grow in the future."
*Data on file at Align Technology, as of April 1, 2021.
For more information, contact:
Align Technology, Inc.