How 3D Dental Scanners Are Transforming Diagnosis

Woman who has benefitted from a 3D dental scanner.

In the past decade, technological advancements have transformed orthodontic treatment. With the introduction of the 3D digital scanner, getting a smile you love no longer means putting up with goopy, uncomfortable impression trays. And that isn’t the only advantage to 3D scanning. This innovative approach to imaging allows for more accurate diagnosis, more comfortable treatment experiences, and better outcomes. 

3D Dental Scanner: Advancement in Diagnostic Technology

Technology is instrumental to how we diagnose and treat patients. Today, 3D dental scanners are among the most valuable tools orthodontists have to gain deep insight into patient health, develop comprehensive treatment plans, and improve the overall treatment experience.  

A 3D dental scanner, also known as an intraoral scanner, uses a handheld wand to take thousands of pictures of your teeth. As the orthodontist moves the wand around your mouth, it captures up to 20 images a second and gradually assembles the images into a 3D model of your entire mouth. This true-to-life model, also known as a digital impression, can then be used to diagnose alignment issues and other problems and serves as the foundation for personalized treatment.

The benefits of 3D dental scanners include:

  • Greater Comfort:

    For patients, the most immediate advantage of 3D scanning technology is comfort. Gone are the days of biting down on a mold and trying to remember to breathe through your nose. With a 3D dental scanner, you simply open your mouth for a few minutes while your orthodontist completes the scan and watch as the digital model comes together.

  • Improved Image Quality:

    The images created by 3D dental scanners are higher quality than traditional X-rays, extremely detailed, and allow your orthodontist to see your dental anatomy from virtually any angle. This makes it easier to identify issues that may be missed by other types of imaging or conventional impressions, leading to more accurate diagnosis and better treatment planning.

  • Comprehensive Insight:

    Unlike traditional impressions and X-rays, 3D dental scanners provide insight into your alignment issues as well as overall oral health. Advanced scanners can reveal both hard and soft tissue changes and detect cavities, allowing you to receive treatment as early as possible and support greater wellness.

  • Increased Patient Engagement:

    With a 3D dental scanner, you and your orthodontist can view your digital impressions together so they show you exactly what they see. Depending on the scanner they use, they may even be able to simulate treatment outcomes so you can see the effects of treatment before you have it. This gives you a meaningful way to be involved in your care and make more informed decisions about your health.

In forward-thinking orthodontic practices, 3D dental scanners aren’t just considered nice to have; they’re an essential part of the diagnostic process. But despite their benefits, you won’t find 3D scanners in all orthodontic practices. If you’re choosing an orthodontist, be sure to ask whether or not they use 3D scanners so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised. 

3D Dental Scanners and Invisalign

While 3D dental scanners can benefit virtually anyone, they are particularly valuable for people who are undergoing Invisalign treatment. In fact, every Invisalign treatment plan is based on a 3D scan of a patient’s mouth, ensuring that your aligners fit perfectly and move your teeth effectively. 

Some scanners, like the iTero, are designed specifically for integration with Invisalign, streamlining the orthodontic workflow and ensuring you can start treatment as quickly as possible. Once treatment is initiated, you will have periodic 3D scans to make sure your progress is on track.

iTero also offers:

  • Invisalign Outcome Simulator: This simulation shows you what the results of Invisalign will look like so you’ll know what to expect and decide if Invisalign is right for you
  • TimeLapse: iTero’s timelapse technology allows you to see how your treatment is progressing

Not only are these features valuable for patients, they also open up opportunities for you and your orthodontist to discuss your goals and finetune your treatment plan. 

Get the VIP treatment

At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we’re Invisalign experts. We’re also committed to using the best technologies available to empower patients, get the most accurate diagnoses, and create the best outcomes. 

We’re the only practice in Los Angeles with iTero 5D Plus imagining systems. These 3D scanners are designed to:

  • Support all restorative needs
  • Detect class II caries
  • Act as an informal camera
  • Show bite patterns
  • Track changes in soft and hard tissue
  • Show what your teeth will look like when they are straightened—before you even start treatment
  • Make it easy to share files with patients

By combining iTero 3D dental scanners with Invisalign, we are able to offer personalized, comfortable treatment experiences and achieve outstanding results.