At Smilelign, digital isn't the future, it's now!

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Digital technology is changing the landscape. Never before has there been so much opportunity to take control of the possibilities and reap the rewards. Smilelign were early adopters of digital technology, being one of the first dental laboratories to introduce a digital workflow to produce dental appliances and clear aligners.

Since its introduction in the 1990s, Intra-oral scanning has increasingly become a preferred option for producing impressions – for both the dentist and the patient. Advancements in technology have contributed to this, with scanners now providing a smooth technique, and a high-quality end product.

Similar to other 3D scanners, Intra-oral scanners (IOS) project a light source that is moved slowly around the mouth over the dental arches, logging their structure before using cutting edge software to produce a digital ‘mesh’ surface model. This is then sent to the laboratory to produce your patient’s appliance.

With an increasing amount of literature being released surrounding this method of impression taking, and how it compares to its traditional silicone or alginate counterpart, the benefits of implementing an IOS in practice are not always clear.

Why choose an Intra-oral scanner?

The introduction of an Intra-oral scanner can pose a number of improvements, both to patient experience and business:

·      Patient comfort – physical impressions often cause discomfort amongst patients, due to the material placed in the impression trays. Intra-oral scanners remove this issue and are therefore viewed more favourably.

·      Increased accuracy – IOS simplify the impression process, leading to more accurate results that greatly aid the technician producing the appliance. Improved accuracy also leads to reduced retakes for the dentist.

·      Lower costs – Though a large investment at the initial stage, IOS remove a number of costs for the practice, including impression materials, shipping, and model archiving.

·      Time efficiency – Several studies have shown that IOS impressions are time-efficient, leading to reduced chair time, and cost, for the dentist.


Digital Dentistry with Smilelign

An innovative laboratory, S4S Dental are the exclusive manufacturers of Smilelign clear aligners. S4S has been accepting digital cases since 2005 and actively encourage the use of digital impressions. We have made large investments in 3D CADCAM technology and 3D printers. This growth in digital dentistry means that each month, over 60% of our retainer cases are received digitally. Smilelign help support dental practices who embrace digital technology by not charging for 3D printing when an appliance is ordered. There is an obvious benefit of speed, digital impressions can be emailed direct from the surgery to the laboratory without any shipping delays. Better still, the accuracy of digital scans has almost ruled out fitting issues of appliances.

Digital Archiving

There are still some practices that aren’t quite ready to make the move into digital dentistry and may be holding out to see what innovations will be launched in the coming months. No doubt there will be some new products launched at the IDS Show in Cologne March 2019. For those practices that want to take a step into the digital world, the first step for many practices, particularly orthodontic practices is to digitally archive their study models.

The S4S digital archiving service removes the need to store patient models physically – saving space and minimising the risk of damage. With digital storage offering an accurate, convenient and risk-free way to archive your models and impressions, all of your cases are easily retrievable. This means that patient models can quickly be produced and digitally printed, should the need present itself.

How to send your scans

Smilelign accept scans from all leading platforms, including iTero, 3Shape, CS Connect and Sirona. They can use any STL files sent through Dropbox or WeTransfer. They have a designated team of technicians who are responsible for preparing and printing all digital cases. Investments in cutting-edge technology mean they currently have ten form labs and two vector printers. They print splints and implant stents in a resin specifically developed for oral use, printing over 200 models per day.

Visit cases or email with your digital files. These will then be checked, approved and printed in our dedicated print room.

Maddie UdallComment