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Scanning Analog Impressions (Part 1)

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Almost since the introduction of Procera in 1989, many have been eager to scan impressions. Unfortunately, there have been some ongoing challenges to achieve good scan data. Today we are closing in on a milestone of technological advancement, where we can obtain complete and accurate impression scan data. This will enable labs to increase efficiency and manufacturing cycles.

There are several challenges to impression scanning. First, scanners can easily scan the surface of a convex form such as a model. Cameras in desktop scanners can easily capture all the surface information. When scanning an impression, we are attempting to capture the surface detail of deep concavities. For instance, consider the different requirements to scanning a mandibular central incisor preparation from an impression versus a die. It’s common sense to conclude the die would be far less challenging.

Recently, 3Shape has overcome many of the challenges found in scanning dental impressions. I had the opportunity to participate in a demonstration and concluded through the addition of the  ScanIt Impression software module and the use of either the D1000 or the D2000 scanners, the process is extremely viable. These scanners are multi-line scanners and thus have an advantage due to this unique camera configuration. As a result, we will soon predictably scan nearly any impression. According to 3Shape the older model scanners will work, but do not have the multi-line scan capability. Keep in mind, I have not personally implemented scanning impressions, thus the inclusion of the words “nearly any impression”. I plan on starting when ScanIt software becomes available this June.

There are some significant efficiencies to be gained through impression scanning. There are also some problems that cannot be overlooked. I will post Part 2 of this blog to discuss the pros and cons of impression scanning tomorrow.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned,

Bob Cohen, CDT

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