Intraoral scanners- how to protect the planet with every tooth impression taken

The impact on the environment

The dentist’s attention is always aimed for a minimally invasive approach. This includes not only principles for maintaining healthy dental tissues, but also saving time for both the patient and the dentist, saving money and reducing pain. But do dentists think about how their work affects the environment? Nature is also essential for human health and well-being, so why not also focus on prevention of the environment with the use of intraoral scanners and other methods?

What is the traditional method?

The traditional method of taking a dental impression is with a plastic impression spoon, which takes 450 years to decompose in the environment. The material used is usually “polyvinyl siloxane”, which is sticky, leaves an unpleasant sensation in the patient’s mouth and is very difficult to degrade. The dental practice needs also a courier to take the impression from the dental practice to the dental laboratory.

Unlike the traditional method, the digital method requires several reusable consumables. The impression is digital and dentists sent it via Internet using a secure specialized software for dental orders. This way of working does not pollute the environment.

How big is the impact actually?

According to a study made by Dental Economics ( ), the average dental practice makes 384 dental impressions  per year. The Kaiser Family Foundation ( ) claims that there are 210,030 dentists in the United States alone. Less than one in five * uses the digital method. You can imagine how much material goes to landfill if we assume that all these dentists are still working the traditional method!

As an example, many clinics in Bulgaria still rely on outdated methods for tooth restoration, namely by sending the results to dental laboratories in the traditional way. In addition to being slow, this technology is highly dependent on the skills and experience of dental technicians. It often happens that the model is not accurate enough and you have to go back to the laboratory for correction.

Intraoral scanners – what are the advantages?

When taking an impression with an intraoral scanner, one of the advantages is the high precision, which saves time for both the dentist and the patient. This significantly reduces the time for possible corrections afterwards. With an intraoral scanner, doctors can  reduce the materials used. This not only protects nature from pollution, but also saves the dentist costs. An analog print requires paper, careful packaging, a courier by car and extra delivery time. Instead, dentists send the digital tooth impression to the lab in seconds over the Internet, using a secure specialized software for dental orders. This saves time, reduces the negative impact on the environment and also there is no danger of the print to being broken or damaged.

A good investment

Digital prints have a number of benefits for dentists, staff and patients. No transport is required to transmit the dental impression. Less time for the patient in the dentist’s chair, money saved from consumables for dental practices. Traditional methods are also reliable, but in the modern world of digitalization, more and more opportunities are opening up for dentists. The intraoral scanner is a good investment in the long run both for nature and for the specialists and patients themselves. Because it does not only facilitate the work process, but we also leave a few less negative traces in the environment.

Learn how you can add STL files from intraoral scanners in the software AMOSYS to dental orders:
  1. 01.26.2015; “Modern technologies that make a visit to the dentist more enjoyable” Part 1;
  2. “Intraoral scanners – protection of the planet with each tooth impression”;
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