What Is An Intraoral Scanner Used For?

Gone are the days of messy impressions and uncomfortable imaging tests. At Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington, Dr. Chad Carver and his team use intraoral scanners to perform a wide range of orthodontic procedures.

If you’ve ever been fitted for braces, clear aligners, or even a nighttime mouth guard, you understand the dread that comes with taking impressions. In the past, dentists and orthodontists have used a physical mold of your mouth to create your treatment plan.

Not only are these impressions messy and goopy, they’re also very uncomfortable. For patients with a sensitive gag reflex, it can be especially difficult to create an accurate impression without causing discomfort.

Fortunately, intraoral scanners eliminate the need for physical impressions. Instead, these scanners use advanced digital technology to capture an exact replica of your teeth and gums. Stellar Family Orthodontics is committed to investing in the latest technology to ensure you feel comfortable and cared for at every visit.

What is an intraoral scanner?

An intraoral scanner is a small, handheld device that captures a precise impression of your mouth. Rather than relying on physical molds to create a replica of your mouth, an intraoral scanner uses imaging sensors to build a digital model. The scanner never actually touches your mouth, making for a more comfortable experience overall.

After capturing the digital images, the scanner processes your impressions through its own scanning software, which produces a 3D model. 

There are plenty of intraoral scanners on the market, but Stellar Family Orthodontics has invested in the iTero Element® scanner, which offers unmatched accuracy and comfort.

What are intraoral scanners used for?

The iTero Element scanner is used for any type of treatment that requires an impression of your mouth. The most common reasons Dr. Carver may use an intraoral scanner during your visit include:


Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear aligners, rather than metal brackets and wires, to straighten crooked teeth. Made out of BPA-free plastic, these aligners are custom-made and mold to the shape of your teeth. Using digital impressions to create Invisalign ensures that your clear aligners are comfortable and undetectable.

Conventional braces

Intraoral scanners allow Dr. Carver to capture a highly accurate digital impression of your mouth. Because digital impressions are more precise than physical ones, they can produce better-fitting braces. This drastically reduces the number of fit issues that can arise with braces, so you don’t have to come into Stellar Family Orthodontics as often for new fittings.

Custom-made mouth guard

Custom-made mouth guards don’t always fit as well as they should. Whether you need a nighttime mouth guard for teeth grinding or a sports guard, the iTero Element scanner can help create a custom mouth guard that fits you perfectly.

What are the benefits of intraoral scanners?

When compared to traditional molds, intraoral scanners offer numerous advantages, including:

  • Improved comfort
  • No messy impressions
  • Less time spent at the dentist
  • Fewer chances of errors
  • Quicker turnaround time for orthodontic devices
  • Ability to store digital impressions for the future
  • More accurate impressions for a better fit

To find out how an intraoral scanner can improve your orthodontic experience, call the expert team at Stellar Family Orthodontics or book a free consultation online now!