Making the switch to Digital

Dr Dan Shaffer BDS RDT PGCertDentLaw

CoFounder Active Aligners UK

Dentist, Technician


“10 reasons to take the plunge”

Posted on 13 October 2021

Intra-Oral Scanners (IOS) are revolutionising dentistry and you might not have taken the plunge yet. Digital scanning can make a real difference to your practice so maybe now is a good time to consider why you should invest in one.

Here are 10 reasons to make the switch:

  1. Increase efficiency

Using your IOS across a range of workflows has the potential to save you time which can then be used to create space for additional consultations. There is undoubtedly a learning curve, but once the basic skills are embedded, the process of capturing scans is simplified. With practice, you will be able to complete a full scan within 2-3 minutes and, having the opportunity to review a scan with the patient in the chair means any corrections can be swiftly dealt with; simply hit delete and re-scan. Your scanner is also an invaluable aid to corroborate patient consent. Everything can be explained, every option discussed and added to the notes.

  1. Streamline workflow

Using an intra-oral scanner, the process of acquiring digital impressions is typically faster than traditional impressions, reducing the number of steps required and delivering images to your computer instantly. A benefit here is that you have the potential to minimise patient recalls.

The majority of clinicians rely on PVS impressions. The chances are you will have experienced issues delivering the consistent accuracy demanded by your laboratory. Ensuring all the anatomy is captured without air bubbles or tears is key to an accurate impression. With a modern IOS, a well taken scan should meet the expectations of your technician, however, it remains true that accuracy will vary from machine to machine.

Changing workflows requires effort and taking good scans requires practice. Digital files can be easily shared, turnaround is much faster and you can track cases. Waiting time is reduced and updates are online which is great for all concerned. Ultimately, your scanner can enhance the relationship with your laboratory.

  1. Drive revenue

Intra-oral scanners are revolutionising dentistry and can make a real difference to your practice.  An “open” intra-oral scanner can be used for your choice of workflow. A relatively straightforward place to start is with the provision of clear aligners.

The Active Aligners workflow is as simple as scan & send, review and treat. Developed for dentists, by dentists, the protocols have been streamlined and the portal has been simplified. This means it can be perfectly simple to improve your patients’ smile.

So, showcase your investment to initiate clear aligners, capture crowns or image implants. Your revenue, you decide.

  1. Improve patient comfort

Evidence continues to build demonstrating that, when compared to conventional impressions, use of an intra-oral scanner is more comfortable for patients1.  The traditional use of PVS, is messy, requires the patient to sit with material in the mouth for ten to fifteen minutes and can lead to patients gagging.  Use of an IOS takes just a few minutes and has been shown to be preferred by patients2.

Your confidence in using your IOS will be reflected by confidence from your patients. So, take time to practice your technique, encourage your colleagues to learn new skills and go on your digital journey together.

1Goracci C et al. Eur J Orthod. 2016;38(4):422-8
2Yuzbasioglu E. et al. BMC Oral Health. 2014;14(1):10


  1. Showcase your investment in patient care.

Your patients’ first experience with an IOS has the potential to change their perception of a visit to the dentist. They engage more fully with you, get more involved in their care. This helps them to better understand what is happening and gives them the sense of having had the best treatment.

You can showcase modern technology across a variety of clinical situations. Use your IOS for clear aligner treatment that will move teeth effectively or use it for restorative and implant treatment. As your experience grows so should your revenue. Then you can consider further investment that will reinforce your practice profile.

By projecting a cutting-edge image, you can help your practice stand out and increase the spread of positive news as your patients talk to family and friends. So, simply using an IOS can improve your marketing, bring in new patients and increase revenue.

  1. Enhance the routine check-up and engage patients.

It is likely to be the first time your patient sees an image of their own mouth on the screen. Not only will this engage your patients and improve communication between you, but it can help you to explain what treatment you are proposing and enable the patient to self-identify issues that they want to resolve. Perhaps a new composite filling, a veneer or an opportunity to improve their smile with clear aligners, leading to happy patients and a further boost to practice revenue.

  1. Increase staff utilisation

Introducing Active Aligners can create the opportunity to increase staff utilisation. Developing scanning expertise amongst your nurse and/or hygienist team will build their skills and make them more effective in the practice. Where relevant, they can discuss topics such as clear aligners whist conducting other procedures. As the team become more engaged in practice revenue generation their motivation is likely to increase. You may wish to consider putting in place a suitable reward mechanism.

  1. Build a practice profile

If you can attract more patients to the practice, you increase the likelihood of growing your revenue. Take simple steps to present your practice effectively to your patients. You will have built a patient database and can utilise that simply to communicate via email. Perhaps one of the team will coordinate a newsletter that highlights the range of treatments offered across the practice. Social media can be an effective tool and again, maybe a team member is familiar with this medium and willing to take on the responsibility to build the practice profile. Most importantly, your website must work to your advantage. Collect testimonials, describe your services and ensure that anyone looking for a dentist locally sees you.

  1. Medico-legal implications.

While the mantra “the customer is always right” may apply in the practice as well as the high street, the phrase, pioneered by Harry Selfridge did not actually mean that the customer is right in every situation. Today, the likelihood of facing a legal challenge from a dissatisfied patient is unfortunately growing. In addition to routine charting, using your IOS for baseline assessments and ongoing reviews helps to easily and accurately monitor changes within the dentition over time. You can ensure every patient has a robust digital, clinical record which may help protect you should a challenge be initiated.

  1. Benefit you, the patient and the environment.

Fear of gagging is one reason patients avoid visiting the practice. Their anxiety during the procedure can lead to an unsatisfactory end result.  If you make the switch to digital scanning, you can dramatically reduce the need for PVS impressions, saving material costs plus you have no models to store! Taking a digital impression removes the fear, can deliver a high quality scan, save money and create less waste.

Take advantage of our FREE* Intra-Oral Scanner offer

If you are looking to acquire an Intra-Oral Scanner that is unlocked and can be used for workflows of your choice, Active Aligners UK are offering you a Free* intra-oral scanner (with a small monthly volume commitment).

*Terms & Conditions apply.