When purchasing a new intraoral scanner, should you focus more on its precision or accuracy?
Well the answer is simple; both.
A patient needs their prosthesis to be a comfortable fit, but you also need to consistently scan the measurements correctly.
Let us dive a little deeper into this idea and begin with some definitions.
Accuracy is the difference between the true measurement of what you are scanning and the results of what you scanned. The larger the difference, the less accurate. A crown that fits perfectly would have resulted from an accurate scan.
Precision on the other hand would be how often you can achieve those accurate results or at least the same result. Another word to describe precision is repeatability. If you can consistently get the same measurement, then you’re scanning is precise. If you scan the same patient twice and get two different results, then you’re not precise.
Scanning and getting the correct measurements for the prosthesis on your first try will save you time (accuracy). And if you are able to repeat that each time you scan a certain patient, then you may get referrals and good reviews (precision).
Knowing all this, the original question really does seem simple. The question we should have asked is how do intraoral scanners stack up against conventional methods?
Well, they are actually both similar in terms of accuracy. Both methods work. You can create great protheses with intraoral scanners, but you can also achieve the same results with conventional impression-making techniques. While scanning is the newer technology, traditional means have been able to begin the process of restoration creation by creating accurate molds for patients for years. Both procedures require a learning curve, but accurate results are quite achievable once you are used to how they work. Where the real advantage lies is in the precision.
Human error is higher with traditional techniques than with scanning. A scanner is able to recognize what it has already scanned and is therefore able to precisely obtain the same results. Meanwhile, traditional methods can achieve high accuracy. However, there are times when the material used in creating molds gets deformed as it is removed from the patient’s mouth. Therefore, due to the error, the procedure would need to be repeated. So while it can create accurate protheses, the repeatability is lower than with scanners; less precise.
When purchasing an intraoral scanner, know that you will be able to achieve accurate scans and repeat that process. That means less retakes, happier customers, and a more streamlined workday.
If you are looking at purchasing an intraoral scanner, click here to read about the i500 and its benefits.