The Mid-Winter meeting and IDS 2017 are behind us, and as usual, there were several new products introduced. Most notably at both shows this year were 3D printers. Although there is a lot of interest in printing surgical guides, splints, temporaries, patterns for casting and pressing and impression trays, a lot of the interest is focused on model printing. This, of course, is mainly driven by the dentists' purchase of intraoral scanners. There were new scanners introduced, including 3Shape's wireless Trios scanner. Also,  Dentsply Sirona announced that the Cerec would become an “open" system this summer. At one meeting in Chicago, it was said that in a study of 1,400 random dentists, 50% were going to purchase an intraoral scanner within the next 2-3 years. Even if only 25% of dentists purchase an intra-oral scanner in the next couple of years, that’s a lot of scanners. With this information in mind, I thought now would be a good time to review some of the information that is good to know when one of your customers is interested in purchasing a scanner.Receiving the digital impression from your client is different with just about every intraoral scanner. We are going to take a look at the top 6 scanners currently being purchased: 3M True Definition, PlanScan, iTero, Cerec, Trios and Carestream.

3M True Definition from 3M ESPE

3m-intraoral-scanner.jpgThe Tru-Def scanner is an open system scanner that requires a light spray in the patient's mouth before scanning. Once scanned, the case gets sent directly to the 3M Connection Center. To be able to access the case, you must pay a monthly subscription fee for what is called the 3M True Definition Scanner Lab Package. Also, with 3M, your first 30 cases will go to a margin marking lab that will mark the margins for you.


Planscan from E4D

e4d-intraoral-scanner.jpgThis is typically sold as a package with PlanCAD and PlanMill 40 for chairside milling. The Planscan does export as an STL file, however you do need a secure way to receive the files. They typically recommend DDX, which is a web based service that charges $1.29 maximum per case or $250 a year. If your client is going to do his or her own designing in PlanCAD, and use Romexis for collaboration between you and them, it is recommended to do a test case. Their design geometry is very tight and can cause severe bottlenecks when spooling in the CAM software for milling.

iTero by Align Technology

iTero-intraoral-scanner.jpgiTero is another open system that is sold with certified connectivity with E4D Planmeca and Glidewell IOS Technologies Fast Design system to offer same day dentistry. Although the scanner exports an STL file, the lab must choose from one of three levels what type of iTero lab they are going to be. The minimum being $300, which gives you the ability to buy milled models.


Cerec from Dentsply Sirona
Cerec.jpgThe one that started it all. They offer two different scanners; one that needs powder and one that is powder free. It is typically sold to dentists who want to offer same day dentistry. This system has always been “closed” when it comes to exporting files, unless the doctor pays an outrageous fee to “open” it, making it not only expensive, but very difficult to work with. It was just announced at IDS 2017 that Cerec will be “open” this summer. We will all stay tuned to see how this shakes out.

CS 3500 and CS 3600 by Carestream Dental

Carestream.pngThis is another open architecture system that can be purchased with CAD and mill for in-office operation. Like most of these package systems, the mill is mainly indicated for single tooth restorations. Carestream Dental has recently launched CS Connect, an online portal that enables the practitioner to electronically submit cases to the lab of their choice – with open STL files, the lab has the freedom to use the CAD design software of their choice.

Trios by 3Shape

TRIOS_Pod_Solution.jpgThe company introduced a wireless scanner at the IDS Meeting and a low cost scanner in the fall of 2016. If you are a 3Shape lab, then you are all set when it comes to accepting Trios impressions. You do need to become Trios ready, which your 3Shape reseller can help you with. If you are not a 3Shape lab, you can purchase Trios In-Box to accept Trios files. 3Shape also offers Dental System Trios only, which is a full design seat for Trios impressions.


Every lab that has gone digital knows there is a lot of information they need to know. This is no different when a dentist is looking to go digital with their impressions. As you can see, his or her decision will definitely affect your dental lab in some way. If you have questions or would like to add any information to this please connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or comment below.


 Editors Note: This blog has been updated since it's orginal post date.


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