Mastering Intraoral Scans: 6 Essential Tips for Dentists


Dentist Holding an Intraoral Scanner after making a mistake with their intraoral scan.

Do you still take ‘backup’ impressions because you are still not confident in scanning?

Don’t let it turn into an expensive paperweight, get stuck into some training. The more you learn, the more you’ll use it, and the better your day-to-day will get. If you’re looking to get friendly with your intraoral scanner, here are some tips to help you master it:

  1. Improve your Margin Isolation
  2. Remove obstructions
  3. Develop a scan strategy that works
  4. Look at the screen while you scan
  5. Spend on a decent computer
  6. Get the team involved

1. Improve your Margin Isolation

Improving the visibility of the sub-gingival margin significantly improves the outcome of your intraoral scan. Two effective methods of doing this are by using a soft tissue laser to remove inflamed and unhealthy gingival tissue, and secondly by using packing cord. Both are effective in exposing the sub-gingival margin, and can minimise scan errors in intraoral scans.

2. Remove Obstructions

Are soft tissues loitering around your scanning area? If you have blood or excess saliva on the prep area, the camera will not be able to pick it up. To avoid these problems occurring, it’s best to keep the entire area dry and clear to scan. Use whatever tools you’ve got— a suction pump, retraction cords, your assistant’s steady hands—to clear the view.

3. Develop a Scan Path That Works

Scanning haphazardly won’t cut it; you need a game plan. A methodical approach to scanning is crucial for capturing accurate and comprehensive data in your impressions.

Start at the back and scan from the occlusal surface of the posterior teeth, moving slowly towards the anterior, ensuring you cover the entire tooth – including the front, back, and biting surfaces. Do the same while capturing both the buccal and lingual surfaces, moving slowly and with a steady hand.

4. Look at the Screen While you Scan

Look at the screen while taking your scan, take note of the image on the screen of the computer itself. It’s crucial to observe the image displayed on the computer while scanning because this lets you see exactly what the scanner is capturing. Understanding what the scanner picks up and what it misses is key to achieving an accurate digital impression.

5. Spend on a Quality Computer

Your scanner is only as good as the computer it’s connected to. We recommend that you don’t skimp here. Ensure your practice is equipped with a computer system that meets the specifications required by your scanner. Get a good one, and you’ll notice that it not only enhances the scanning process, but also prevents technical glitches that can disrupt your workflow.

6. Get the Team Involved

Team work in the dental office. Assistants helping with intraoral scan.

This isn’t always a one-man show. Training your dental assistants and hygienists on how to operate or assist with the scanner means they can help with retraction, drying, and even scanning. It’s a team effort, and everyone should be in the loop.


Wrapping up, mastering intraoral scans doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right approach and mindset, you can turn it into an invaluable asset for your dental practice. By focusing on margin isolation, clearing any obstructions, strategising your scan path, keeping an eye on the screen, investing in capable hardware, and involving your team, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

It’s all about making small improvements, practising regularly, and working together as a team. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering how you ever got by without your intraoral scanner.


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