As the version 1.5 software update was pushed out for the iTero Element, they added features like TimeLapse and multi-bite scanning, but they also revamped the software codebase allow you to capture scans faster without changing the rate or quality of the data capture. These improved scan times close the gap with the Trios intra-oral scanner and the machines should now be fairly comparable in terms of quickness (as has been our experience with both scanners in our office).
The improvement in scan times has been dramatic enough that Invisalign is even going so far to call this a “1 minute scan.” Their claim that patient scans can be completed in as little as 60 seconds, with the same accuracy and reliability as before, is based on a small pilot study on scanning times performed with the new software. Align technology was able to provide us details regarding the pilot study.
Data analysis was based on 40 iRecord scanning sessions with average scan time of 58 seconds by 2 experienced persons scanning. Each scanning session consisted of an iRecord intra-oral scan protocol (scanning both upper and lower jaw along with bite), one patient (Align Employee – an intra-oral scanner model), and two different scanner operators (Align Employees). Every variable was carefully measured to reliably imitate the workflow of a dental patient, a dental professional, and a dental practice. Each operator was timed from the start of the scan (where the scanner was placed on the initial lower back molar tooth) and ended after the scanning of the bite. The scanning of both jaws with the bites is enough data for an entire dental digital impression, which is what professionals consider a full scan. Both operators were asked to conduct scans as effectively as possible while capturing all accurate dental data.
The conditions of the scanning sessions are meant to replicate how many dental professionals perform their scans and in what conditions that these scans are performed. From the data, the average scan time of 58 seconds leads the iTero team to believe that a 58 second scan will be a time goal other dental professionals and practices can obtain once gained an experience.
What we should take away from this data is that, with practice, your staff is going to develop the muscle memory to knock out intra-oral scans on relatively mild malocclusions in about a minute, which is fantastic. More challenging bites to scan will naturally still require a little more time, but they will certainly be much much quicker as well.