Align Technology now owns Cadent, manufacturer of the iTero digital scanning technology. The evolution of these 2 technologies now presents endless possibilities to the GP practice. Optical scanning now replaces PVS for single, multiple, and full-arch impressions as well as Invisalign submission.
I have used various orthodontic techniques for the past 30 years and I have found Invisalign to be indispensable, replacing other techniques such as bands and brackets. About 5 years ago I discarded PVS impression material and switched to the Cadent iTero scanning technology. I find it essential for my restorative solutions. I’m anxious to complete the beta testing of the Cadent 4.0 software, as we anticipate the elimination of PVS for a full-arch Invisalign impression.
Digital information can be used to create “plastic” models, eliminating stone as the medium, increasing accuracy, and reducing lab time. Models can be created from the digital data to be used for many useful purposes, including thermoplastic matrices for surgical guides, retainers, movement appliances, pontic appliances to help optimize tissue morphology following socket healing, pontics to mask missing tooth, and more! Ceramic restorations can be milled directly from CAD/ CAM design so that a “model” is created with restoration delivery in days rather than weeks. Restorations fit better, reduce delivery time, and give additional justification for scanning technology.
Cadent scanning technology’s open platform creates a physical model that any dental laboratory can use to create any indirect restoration. In addition, it can be used to directly produce “modelless” milled ceramic restorations.
Evolution of the Cadent iTero scanning technology has advanced to implant integration via software to scan implant bodies (Straumann). Further, BIOMET 3i’s Encode impression system used in conjunction with Cadent iTero eliminates the need for pickup impression copings. The clinician scans the Encode Healing Abutment, sends it to the lab, receives the specific abutment, and the crown is ready for cementation.
Cadent iTero generic STL export files have been used and imported into Materialise Simplant planning software and Anatomage software to create merged virtual images for implant planning.
I am currently beta testing the integration of orthodontic full-arch iTero scans. The new 3-D diagnosis and treatment management applications developed by Cadent for Invisalign include real-time chairside applications, case assessment, case planning, and case presentation.
A Practice Building Combination
Both Invisalign and Cadent iTero scanning technology are significant adjuncts to my general practice. The advantages of digital impressions include superior accuracy, on-screen visualization with real-time feedback, no impression mess, the ability to fabricate all types of dental restorations, powderfree scans, single-use imaging shields for maximum infection control, open architecture, orthodontic applications, as well as fixture-level implant scans. Both of these technologies have helped me improve my practice.