I was really impressed with the technology when I first saw an intra-oral scanner nine years ago. I am something of a novice when it comes to computers and back then I didn’t think it was ready for clinical application; there certainly wasn’t anything on the market. When I learnt that iTero was backed by a reliable partner, at the end of 2010, I decided to go for it – even though I didn’t know of any colleagues who could share some experience with me. I don’t regret my decision and the scanner still impresses me and my team every time we use it.
The training took an afternoon and I scanned five patients the next day. Having support from Straumann the first time I used the equipment was a big help, although it’s very straightforward. Right from the start, the results were every bit as good as those I was getting with the conventional procedure.
I never really enjoyed taking impressions and the conventional method is not very pleasant for patients. The taste and a mouthful of impression putty often make patients nauseous. The scanner eliminates all the unpleasantness. It is faster and I can verify the results immediately. This allows me to manage my time better and there are scarcely any delays. All in all, it means less stress for everyone. And my patients are happier to see us using new technology and putting ourselves out for them.
The work is all digital now, which makes everything much simpler. In the past, the lab sent someone round several times a day to collect the impressions. Now we just send the data to them via the Internet. This saves time and money. The technicians enjoy using the new technology more, which encourages them to do their job even better.
I genuinely believe that it benefits all involved: patients, dental technicians, the industry and me, of course. The scanner makes impression-taking much more pleasant for patients. Thanks to enhanced efficiency, digital processes and new materials, this technology allows us to offer top-quality care at lower costs. For the same reasons, labs remain competitive and can strengthen business relationships with dentists. My scanner together with CADCAM and new materials have all helped me to treat more patients despite the difficult economic environment.
Someone once said: ‘The person who stops being better stops being good.’ This maxim applies to my work. My practice has come a long way digitally in comparison with my Swiss colleagues. Now I want to concentrate on putting my digital system to optimum use and improving the established protocols so I can treat patients even faster and more efficiently. I also want to simplify my work processes even more, and I would really like to see digital intra-oral solutions for removable prosthetics. I hope this is something that the industry will develop in the not-too-distant future.