The time efficiency of intraoral scanners: an in vitro comparative study

J Am Dent Assoc. 2014 Jun;145(6):542-51. doi: 10.14219/jada.2014.23.


Background: Although intraoral scanners are known to have good accuracy in computer-aided impression making (CAIM), their effect on time efficiency is not. Little is known about the time required to make a digital impression. The purpose of the authors' in vitro investigation was to evaluate the time efficiency of intraoral scanners.

Methods: The authors used three different intraoral scanners to digitize a single abutment (scenario 1), a short-span fixed dental prosthesis (scenario 2) and a full-arch prosthesis preparation (scenario 3). They measured the procedure durations for the several scenarios and compiled and contrasted the procedure durations for three conventional impression materials.

Results: The mean total procedure durations for making digital impressions of scenarios 1, 2 and 3 were as much as 5 minutes 57 seconds, 6 minutes 57 seconds, and 20 minutes 55 seconds, respectively. Results showed statistically significant differences between all scanners (P < .05), except Lava (3M ESPE, St. Paul, Minn.) and iTero with foot pedal (Align Technology, San Jose, Calif.) for scenario 1, CEREC (Sirona, Bensheim, Germany) and CEREC with foot pedal for scenario 2, and iTero and iTero with foot pedal for scenarios 2 and 3. The compiled procedure durations for making conventional impressions in scenarios 1 and 2 ranged between 18 minutes 15 seconds and 27 minutes 25 seconds; for scenario 3, they ranged between 21 minutes 25 seconds and 30 minutes 25 seconds.

Conclusions: The authors found that CAIM was significantly faster for all tested scenarios. This suggests that CAIM might be beneficial in establishing a more time-efficient work flow.

Practical implications: On the basis of the results of this in vitro study, the authors found CAIM to be superior regarding time efficiency in comparison with conventional approaches and might accelerate the work flow of making impressions.

Keywords: Intraoral scanner; dental economics; dental impression technique; time efficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Dental Impression Technique*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Time and Motion Studies*