iTero Digital Scanner

The Evolution of Intraoral Scanners

Initially, metal braces were the only options available to align your teeth for a straighter smile. With metal braces, pressure is applied to teeth through a wire that runs through brackets. Each bracket is, in turn, attached to a single tooth. Aligners, on the other hand, use clear trays made of medical-grade plastic to apply pressure to teeth.

The FDA approved aligners back in 1999. This treatment proved to be quite popular. Just five years after this approval, more than 200,000 people had benefitted from this technology. When this treatment first started, however, stone models of a patient’s teeth were the only options available for customizing aligners.

Aligners are very particular in how they apply pressure. They are designed to move teeth a quarter of a millimeter every two weeks. Consequently, a patient’s pressure requirements change every two weeks. This is why Invisalign patients change aligners every fortnight. Accurate and up-to-date intraoral scans guide aligner design for the best results. Aligners have magnified the need for detailed scanning, paving the way for the development of intraoral scanners.

The History of iTero Scanners

Intraoral scanners or itero scan can be traced back to the late ’80s. The first real scanner was invented in 1985. However, the scanners of the ’80s are worlds away from the modernized versions we use today. As will be illustrated shortly, the technology is a long way from what it was back then.

On the technical side, a revolutionary player entered the market in 2007 — iTero intraoral scanners. These scanners are synonymous with accuracy. A recent study of over 170,000 cases revealed that they reduce alignment rejection ten-fold and fit issues seven-fold.

This scanner is especially favorable for our Invisalign patients. iTero intraoral scanners integrate seamlessly with the Invisalign system to allow for a highly digitized experience. For patients, that means no more gagging while getting a dental impression, no more goop, no more discomfort, and no more long wait for aligners. The smooth integration of iTero and the Invisalign system significantly speeds up the production of aligners. This is because Intraoral scans are transmitted to the IDS (Invisalign Doctor Site) three times faster than Polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) impressions.

The smooth integration of iTero and Invisalign also affords your orthodontist the unique opportunity to micro-manage your progress. This focused approach to teeth alignment allows for faster and more accurate results.


iTero scanners feature a laser, or light-emitting wand, that is run through your mouth to create an equivalent digital 3D impression. The wands of today are significantly smaller than the wands of previous intraoral scanners. The bigger wands of the past were impossible to maneuver for a complete scan. Consequently, older intraoral scanners were criticized for their inability to create accurate impressions of a patient’s molars. On the contrary, the iTero wand is small enough to reach the farthest molars: a massive win for intraoral scanners.

A smaller wand size also means you don’t have to open your mouth uncomfortably wide. The reduced size also gives the orthodontist more flexibility as they take your scan. During the scanning process, flexibility always means greater detail. iTero digital impressions are, therefore, both quick and accurate.

iTero scanners also allow for real-time simulations. This means that you get to watch the generation of your dental impression as the wand moves through your mouth. The simulation gives you a bigger role and increased control in the process. All resultant scans can be forwarded to your aligner manufacturer of choice if you wish.


The iTero-Invisalign integration gives patients two main benefits:

  • Outcome simulation
  • Invisalign Progress Assessment (IPA)

Outcome Simulation

The Invisalign Outcome Simulator is exclusively iTero-powered. It not only allows patients to see their scans come to life in real-time, but it also simulates the final results on-screen. That way, you get to suggest changes before it’s too late. These projected corrections also give you something to look forward to. The visualization has also been instrumental in helping patients plan for future treatments. It’s not unheard of for a patient to plan for further orthodontic intervention after they realize that scheduled treatments won’t give them their desired smiles on their own.

Invisalign Progress Assessment

The Invisalign Progress Assessment is an Invisalign tool that allows us to monitor the progress of your treatment. The tool compares your scans to your ClinCheck treatment plans. If there is a substantial difference between the projected results and the results exhibited, Invisalign will respond appropriately. The Invisalign Doctor Site (IDS) receives reports of your progress, allowing the company to iterate your aligners for the best results.


Everyone qualifies for our intraoral scanning services. Our scanners use radiation-free lasers, which guarantee both safety and accuracy. Intraoral scanning is especially appealing to teens, those involved in sports, and anyone who must speak in public. Yet they also have benefits anyone can appreciate.


Teenagers are very conscious of their images. Image is so important at this age that it affects their self-esteem into adult life. That’s why teenagers, for the most part, don’t like traditional braces. Aligners, to their credit, work subtly. They straighten your teenagers’ teeth without showing through their smiles. It’s no wonder that out of the over five million patients who’ve benefited from Invisalign technology so far, a million have been teenagers. Our Invisalign Teen treatment is virtually invisible; it’s tailored for teenage life.

Intraoral scanning precedes every Invisalign treatment. The good news is that even teens with sensitive gag reflexes can now get a scan comfortably. iTero scanners are designed to be gentle enough to avoid triggering gags.


With traditional braces, anyone involved in sports needs specialized mouthguards for their braces. Not so with Invisalign aligners. These aligners are designed to be worn for only about 21 hours every day, so you can simply remove them for a sporting activity without affecting their efficacy.

Public Speakers

In a business setting, you’ll often find yourself addressing colleagues. You may even be required to make a presentation the next time your boss calls for a meeting. With aligners, you don’t have to feel self-conscious in these moments where confidence is critical. Simply remove your aligners for the presentation.


The removability of aligners also comes in handy when you’re brushing your teeth. All you have to do is remove them and you can carry on as usual. Traditional braces make it impossible to clean areas where brackets connect to your teeth.


If aligners are more practical for you than traditional braces, we’re here to help. Our intraoral scanning process only takes a few minutes. Below are four situations outside of teeth alignment that may necessitate an intraoral scan:

  • Creation of dentures
  • Creation of dental crowns
  • Preparation for oral surgery
  • Dental records


Dentures need to fit perfectly into the spaces left behind by missing teeth. Therefore, an accurate understanding of the patient’s mouth must guide denture creation. Intraoral scans enhance the accuracy of dentures, reducing the risk of a misfit.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are used to cover teeth in cases of severe discoloration, decay, and chipping. The crowns cover the tooth above the gum. Intraoral scans customize crowns to your teeth, affording you a natural-looking smile.

Oral Surgery

Intraoral scans provide dental professionals with valuable insight into a patient’s mouth dynamics, which makes jaw surgery far easier and more accurate.

Dental Records

Accurate dental records allow dental professionals to offer patients high-quality care and informed follow-up for the best results. Our iTero scanners guarantee precise and detailed records. iTero intraoral scanners are responsible for the bulk of intraoral scans that Invisalign receives every day. Invisalign makes over 400,000 custom aligners every day, so that’s no small task.


Intraoral scanning is the new reality in modern orthodontics. That said, intraoral scanners are not all equal. iTero scanning has an evident edge over the competition. Studies have revealed that a practice performs more intraoral scans when it owns an iTero. The scanner is accurate, detailed, and comfortable. Gagging, for example, has always been a concern for most people seeking an intraoral scan. The iTero is engineered to maximize comfort during the scanning process.

When you are looking for an outstanding dentist in the Laguna Hills area, give us a call at (949) 770-7077 to make an appointment. We will make sure that you are comfortable and well informed during all procedures. Welcome to Alicia Dental!