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How to Choose Between Structured Light and Laser Light Scanning

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Creating accurate restorations is the key to positive patient outcomes. Leaving precision to chance is simply not enough — leveraging the best equipment and technology will yield the best possible results.
Thanks to 3D dental scanners, dental labs can create perfect crowns and bridges consistently and efficiently. However, not all 3D scanners use the same technology, nor do they produce the same quality.
Here is what you need to know about structured light scanners versus laser dental scanners.

What Is Structured Light Scanning?

Structured light scanning is sometimes called white light or blue light scanning — structured light is a more comprehensive term, as it covers all colors of light.
Structured light is known for its accuracy and has become the darling of dental scanners for good reasons. 3D scanning software from Identica and similar brands has several distinct advantages, including:
  • High degree of accuracy: Structured light scanners are known for their accuracy. The object (such as a model tooth) remains stationary, while the light scanner takes a a sequence of images using different patterns of light. Because the light washes over the entire object at different angles, it creates an intricate 3D version.

  • Simple setup: With a structured light scan, the object remains in place for the entire process, minimizing setup requirements. Once the light exposure is set and the analysis settings are in place, the scan is ready to take place.

  • Safety in all environments: Thanks to their lack of focused light (such as with a laser), structured light scanners are safe to operate. The eye safety concerns that arise with the user of lasers are simply not a factor when using white or blue light to scan. This limits OSHA issues and other HR concerns.

What Is Laser Light Scanning?

Laser scanning has been around for a lot longer, and it can produce good 3D replications. During a laser scan, the laser triangulates the object and then passes over the model a single time before the 3D print begins.
Despite its common use, the application of laser scanning is a bit less precise than that of structured light. Yet, laser scanning may be the appropriate option for people who are looking for:
  • Speed: Because a laser only passes over the scanned object a single time, the process is a lot faster. When expediency is of utmost importance, a laser scan may be the best option.

  • Ambient adaptability: Lasers direct intense light in a narrow wavelength, so they can operate optimally in nearly any setting. When the ambient light can't be controlled, the laser scan typically won't be affected in the way a structured light scan would be.

Why Is Structured Light Scanning Right for Dental Work?

dental scanning
Due to its accuracy, structured light scanning is the right choice for dental work. Because placing an accurate crown or bridge is the ultimate goal, white and blue light scans are the natural choice. Structured light scans are able to identify every niche and unique measurement of the tooth to be replaced.

Due to its accuracy, structured light scanning is the right choice for dental work.
Though the 3D scans from structured light take longer to produce than a laser scan, patient outcomes are better — making the slight wait worth it.
Structured light 3D dental scanners are the preferred Medit method for creating accurate dental restorations, and Identica models offer accuracy, speed and efficient software.

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