Scanning Analog Impressions (Part 2)


In yesterday’s blog I had mentioned that there are some significant efficiencies and perhaps some problems with scanning analog impressions. Today, I will share some thoughts on each.

Being able to obtain accurate hole-free scan data of an impression, can optimize your workflow by enabling simultaneous parts manufacturing. This increased efficiency can be used to reduce cost, decrease manufacturing cycles and improve customer experience.


Through impression scanning, a more dynamic workflow is possible. A new process could look like this:

  • Receive case, sterilize impression and complete data entry
  • QC case into the lab
  • Scan impression using 3Shape ScanIt software and scanner
    • Forward to analog model room for model production


    • Complete virtual M&D and use a Stratasys 260V 3D printer for automated model production
    • Move to model-free manufacturing
  • While model manufacturing is ongoing, perform CAD, CAM and milling
  • If the restoration is zirconia, sintering can be accomplished as well
  • Next day, merge models and restoration for finalization using existing workflow

The obvious change in workflow with impression scanning will enable faster turn cycles, which results in a competitive advantage. This will also improve cash flow for you and your customers. Through new possible workflows we can embrace the opportunity to grow both top line sales and our bottom line profitability.

Another possible advancement that is a derivative of impression scanning, is digital 3D printing for model production. This dramatically reduces labor, inventory of so many consumables and a lot of the dirty work in your lab. We are currently manufacturing crown and bridge and implant models using the Stratasys 260V printer and getting very accurate casts.

Defective Analog Impressions

One of the challenges that still exists with impression scanning is the high percentage of defects in analog impressions. During an analog die trim, laboratory technicians often take the liberty to make small alterations to the die as needed, to compensate for poor adaptation of the impression material to the prepared tooth. This step has been added to 3Shape Dental Designer software as part of the workflow, to enable production of a more accurate die and thus a better fitting restoration.


Also solved, articulation. When scanning a triple tray, the scan data of the side or buccal surface of the tray is captured and the software will recognize data points and align the occlusion accordingly. For closed tray impressions, software intelligence takes over and automatically determines maximum intercuspation for articulation.


In conclusion, it appears that scanning analog dental impressions with 3Shape will be viable in the next few months. This is another step forward for a more efficient workflow. Including this in your lab will only improve operations and reduce manufacturing cycles.

Please feel free to leave comments.

Thanks for reading,

Bob Cohen, CDT

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