Intraoral scanners and Biotech Visualisation of Active Demineralisation – What are the differences?
Intraoral scanners and Biotech visualisation are imaging technologies used within dentistry. Yet the two technologies are substantially different regarding what information they capture and how.
Intraoral scanners are designed to produce impressions, an application that traditionally required a material medium, such as plaster. This can now be accomplished with a digital scanner, which captures the surface topology of the patient’s teeth optically. A light source (a laser or structured light) is projected onto the dentogingival tissues and implant abutments. Software then processes the imagery captured, first generating point clouds, then converting these into a three-dimensional surface model (a 3D mesh).[i] The mesh conveys the same information a physical impression would, but with several advantages over the traditional method.
Patients find the experience more pleasant and getting from scan to viewable model is much faster. So much so that it is possible for a patient to be shown the mesh before the end of their appointment for illustrative purposes.
Biotech visualisation systems like the CALCiViS® Imaging System utilise a photoprotein which produces light in reaction to free calcium ions. When a tooth is actively demineralising, calcium ions are released, the photoprotein reacts to these ions in an observable way. The CALCiViS® imaging system is unique in that it will only react to free calcium ions, not calcium still bound in the enamel.
Biotech visualisation can be utilised to produce a helpful demineralisation map. Demineralisation often precedes further dental problems, such as caries. In their earliest stages, carious lesions are reversible.[ii]
Intraoral scanners are typically used for restorations, while in contrast biotech visualisation is more suited to preventive dentistry – helping clinicians to spot demineralisation as early as possible. Biotech visualisation is designed to complement, not replace standard clinical practice. It does not supplant existing methods of assessment but supports preventive dentistry by providing a valuable adjunct.
Like intraoral scanners, the imagery produced from biotech visualisation can help facilitate patient understanding. But instead of helping to explain a restorative procedure, here it can help the patient visualise the demineralisation that is occurring. This helps patients to understand the vulnerability of their teeth and motivates them to take better care of their oral health. Patients practicing good oral hygiene is essential to arresting and preventing tooth decay and loss.
The CALCiViS® Imaging system is the only one of its kind that exclusively targets free calcium ions, greatly improving accuracy.
Intraoral scanners and biotech visualisation have a few elements in common, but are radically different technologies with different intended applications. By facilitating early and accurate recognition of demineralisation, biotech visualisation can help clinicians target potential weaknesses before they progress to a point where the damage becomes irreversible, and restorative work necessitated.
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[i] Mangano F., Gandolfi A., Luongo G., Logozzo S. Intraoral scanners in dentistry: a review of the current literature. BMC Oral Health. 2017; 17: 149. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5727697/ August 1, 2019.
[ii] Carounanidy U., Sathyanarayanan R. Dental caries: a complete changeover (part II) – changeover in the diagnosis and prognosis. Journal of Conservative Dentistry. 2009; 12(3): 87-100. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879723/ July 25, 2019