At Powell & Tiller Dental Care, we are always excited when innovative advancements in dentistry come along. We just bought the latest digital scanner from iTero this past year. iTero was first introduced in 2007. Guess what year we got our first one? Yep, 2007! We were only the 4th office in all of Texas to purchase one. When other dentists would ask us about it, we'd say it is so good, don't even have the rep come demonstrate unless you are ready to write a really big check because you won't want to take a regular impression again after you've tried it!
Nobody likes those goopy old impressions we used to take, including dentists! Our patients didn't like that big ol' tray full of impression material coming toward there face, much less into their mouth and offering the gaggy-feeling only it was able to create! And neither of us liked when we took it out and sometimes found there was a bubble on the very spot we needed to see most and needed to take it again!
With digital scans, we just use a wand over your teeth that takes 3D images in real time and if there is a spot we need more clarity on, just one more quick click. We love that we are no longer adding all those impression trays and models to our landfills since they are just stored digitally!
There were also times when the impression or model was damaged in shipping or at the lab and we'd have to bring a patient in to take a new one! None of that with digital scans - we have as many copies as we want!
Fun fact: we owned an iTero before Align Technology (the company that owns Invisalign and now iTero too!). For years, we were asking Align if we could scan patients for Invisalign rather than taking impressions. And for years Align told us this was something they were looking into incorporating. The crazy thing was that Invisalign was all done in 3D technology. No models were used, but they still had dentists take impressions that they would then scan with an MRI to turn into an STL digital file! It made zero sense to us. Finally, the big day came that we could just plain send a digital file for Invisalign rather than making an analog impression to turn into a digital file! Then within 6 months of releasing this, Align technology bought iTero! (We told them they'd love it! I'm guessing a few others did too!)
So, how has iTero improved since our old 2007 model? The OG iTero took one image at a time, so top of the tooth-click, side of the tooth-click, other side, click, move on to the next tooth. Almost a decade later, the iTero Element was introduced and we were very ready for it! With the Element, we are able to just move the wand across the teeth and it takes thousands of pics as we go in real time. It is fast, easy and comfortable. We kept our old iTero and thought "well if two people need it at once, we can always use the old one" But the Element was so fast we ended up just waiting a minute for the new iTero and left the old one sitting in the back! We took one last photo of the old iTero, but he is definitely headed to "a farm upstate!"
Now we just added another iTero to the digital family. The iTero Element 5D. This one not only takes a digital impression of the teeth for 3D models, Invisalign, or 3D milling or printing of restorations, it also "sees" inside the tooth! It uses transillumination which can show decay or fractures inside the tooth without the use of x-rays!
Dentistry just keeps getting better! And we are committed to bringing those advancements to our patients.