Tekscan's T-SCAN III

March 21, 2012
Issue 3

As I began doing more comprehensive cases in practice, I found fine-tuning occlusion to be a constant challenge. In searching for a solution, I was turned on to the T-Scan III, a thin arch-shaped sensor that can be used repeatedly on a single patient from start to finish. This simple device provides the extra level of information and accuracy I need in complex cases.

As I began doing more comprehensive cases in practice, I found fine-tuning occlusion to be a constant challenge. In searching for a solution, I was turned on to the T-Scan III, a thin arch-shaped sensor that can be used repeatedly on a single patient from start to finish. This simple device provides the extra level of information and accuracy I need in complex cases.

The crew at TekScan has been very helpful and thorough during the entire process, from acquisition to implementation. Shortly after I purchased and installed the T-Scan in 2008, I began the process of selling my office, which put my T-Scan use on hold. After finally settling into a new practice, I ran into the need to reintegrate the T-Scan into use. Even though it had been more than a year, TekScan was incredibly helpful, offering webinars on all phases of T-Scan use, from beginner to advanced.

The included instructions were easy to follow, making it easy for me to get started. A simple USB connection and an installation CD had me up and running in no time. Before using the device with patients, I used our team as guinea pigs to work out the kinks in my own understanding.

What it can do
One wonderful thing about the T-Scan is that it can detect force as well as location. Because force has a profound effect on teeth, ligaments, joints, bone and gingiva, this information could be extremely valuable. The T-Scan can detect a mobile tooth as an initial contact as the tooth is moving and it also can help isolate the contact forces on teeth with wear, abfractions or fractures.  

Initially, I was concerned the thickness of the sensor might affect tooth movement, causing false positives or negatives in contacts. But the software is designed with the sensor’s thickness in mind, virtually eliminating false readings. In my own comparison, I found the readings to coincide with occlusal indicator paper markings; however, the T-Scan was more accurate in determining the small nuances in occlusal discrepancies and force of contacts.

Despite this advantage, the T-Scan can be difficult to work into daily use in a busy practice setting. Most of us are accustomed to working with occlusal indicator paper, and we have established routines and knowledge based on this. With a majority of patients, this works just fine. Personally, I still reserve the T-Scan for large cases, pain patients and trouble-shooting difficult occlusal scenarios.

How we’re using it
In our office, we’re working to make greater use of the T-Scan by training the hygienists to take screenings on perio patients and pain patients. This will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s existing situation and facilitate treatment. It also provides a very easy, graphic way to interact with the patients on the presence of issues affecting their condition.

The only change I would make to the T-Scan would be to give the sensor the ability to mark on the teeth. This slight change would speed up the process of finding exact points of interference or elevated contact force.

With the T-Scan, even the most complex case becomes a fun challenge, and rising to that challenge is easier than ever.