Chief clinical editor and technology editor John Flucke, DDS, shares his experience testing out the latest version of Align Technology's intraoral scanner line, the iTero Element 5D Plus. Find out why Dr Flucke was so impressed with this scanner. [7 minutes]
Hi, I'm Dr. John Flucke. I'm technology editor and chief dental editor of Dental Products Report® magazine, and today I want to talk to you about a test drive that I've completed recently on a product that really, really impressed me. And that product is the iTero Element 5D Plus, their newest and greatest imaging system.
Now you'll notice that I didn't say scanner, and that's because this is a digital impression system. And of course, a lot of folks when they hear iTero in dentistry, they think of Oh, digital impressions. And it is a digital impression system. But it is that and very, very, very much more. So we spent about two months just exclusively using the iTero Element 5D Plus. And the first thing that I can tell you is that the processing speed and the video power of this device are really incredible. When you use this, when you move the wand around in the mouth, the imaging, the probably the best analogy I can use is that it's like water just flowing over an object or like a waterfall, you know, flowing over rocks, it's very smooth, very crisp, very clear. And what you get is gorgeous scans. This machine is incredibly fast and provides incredible, incredible visual results. And incredible results in the finished product.
The system comes with built-in what they call NIRI, which is NIRI near-infrared imaging. And what this does is it as you scan the teeth in the mouth, it illuminates the teeth with near-infrared light, which passes easily through the tooth structure. And so this becomes a really important and powerful transillumination device, which will help you be a better diagnostician because you can see caries interproximally or around restorations you can visualize cracks, lots of things. And you get all of that while you're scanning the patient, even if you're scanning for a crown or for a bridge or whatever.
One of the other things and this is why I think the caries detection is such a nice feature with this, is the device has a feature called Time Lapse. And what this means is that when you scan a patient, you can let's say you do a full mouth scan today. And then a year from now you do a full mouth scan again. And then the next year you do a full mouth scan. what the system does is it then takes and will put together a time lapse video of how the patient's teeth have changed over that time span. So you can see the wear you can see things shifting, and it's a great educational tool. So patients can actually see how things have changed over time. And that's a tremendous, tremendous advantage in education.
It also has a function called occlusogram where the iTero Element, 5D Plus overlays the occlusal surfaces of the teeth with kind of a weather radar map that shows where the most forces are where the lighter forces are, where the lightest forces are. And then of course where the teeth aren't touching at all. So it's a great tool for the patients to learn how their teeth come together. It's also a great thing for the doctor because it helps us to see exactly where the wear is. And also when you're doing a case for any kind of fixed prosthetics, you can also see if you have enough occlusal clearance, which is a wonderful thing to know ahead of time. It's a great time saver. It's a great educational piece for patients.
The last function it has is it functions as a true intraoral camera. So it's a great feature to have while you're scanning to just click click click take a few pictures. Also, as I've always said about intraoral cameras, a phenomenal piece of patient education. This gives them the first images or the first chance to see into their mouth that maybe they've ever had. And we all know that better educated patients make better decisions about their health care.
The final thing I want to tell you, I was about three quarters the way through the test drive about 45 days into the 60 day test drive. And I realized, I can't send this back. I can't be without what this device does. It's become that important to our processes. And so I contacted iTero and I said, I'm going to need to have one of these when we're done. And so I signed the paperwork, I agreed and purchased one at the end of the test drive because I was that impressed with what this device delivers.
Now, I know there are a lot of digital impression systems on the market, they all work well. But what I found was that the iTero Element 5D Plus with all of the extra things that it provides was something that I really needed in my practice.
So if you're in the market, either for a new scanner, a second scanner, or your first scanner, I truly honestly believe after having my hands on the device and using it clinically, I truly feel that this device, the iTero Element 5D Plus, it needs to be on a very short list of the devices that you consider for your practice.
I'm Dr John Flucke. Thanks for watching.