Most intraoral digital impression scanners are capable of creating a clinically acceptable image. If the image is good, or at least good enough, how do you choose the best option for your office? One feature that varies greatly from one system to another and influences usability and productivity is flexibility.
Many older scanners require the use of a proprietary computer or a cart. Newer scanners can be plugged into any computer or laptop. This flexibility is an advantage for doctors who own multiple practices—they can easily pack an intraoral scanner and bring it to another location. In addition, USB-connected scanners can easily be shared between treatment rooms without space or movement constraints.
If the scanner is restricted to a cart or a proprietary box that can significantly impact your productivity.
Can the digital impression captured by the scanner be used for labs or an in-office mill? Not all restorative cases are good candidates for one-appointment milling; however, most can be sent to the lab as a digital impression instead of as an alginate or PVS impression. If your scanner can only do lab or mill but not both, you are extremely limited and will soon be purchasing a system that can do both.
Some systems allow the user to scan for the lab and or the mill but maintain proprietary control over the scan so that it can only be used with a mill or a lab that is approved by the company.