Intraoral Scanners in Dentistry: A Review of the Current Literature

Francesco Mangano; Andrea Gandolfi; Giuseppe Luongo; Silvia Logozzo


BMC Oral Health. 2017;17(149) 

In This Article


Study Design

At present, it is difficult to conduct a complete systematic review of IOS, given the insufficient number of randomised controlled trials available on the clinical use of these devices as well as the numerous possible clinical applications and the technological elements to be considered; authors who have attempted to address this topic systematically in fact focused on specific clinical applications of IOS[6] and/or had difficulties finding sufficient randomised controlled trials to include in their systematic reviews.[5,7,8] For these reasons, we decided to perform a narrative review and attempt to answer a series of focused questions that may be of interest to the reader. In fact, these focused questions enable the investigation of the indications (and contraindications) for the clinical use of IOS, as well as the most important technological features of these devices, providing the reader a detailed overview of the subject.

The focused questions are:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of optical impressions with respect to conventional impressions?

  2. Are optical impressions as accurate as conventional impressions?

  3. What are the differences between the optical impression systems available commercially?

  4. To date, what are the clinical applications of IOS?

This narrative review was prepared and written based on the indications that emerged during the State of the Art of Digital Technologies in Daily Dental Practice Consensus Conference of the Digital Dentistry Society (DDS) held in Milan in September 2016.

Search Strategy

The protocol of this narrative review recognised that in vivo studies are the most appropriate to address a focused question that embraces the clinical effectiveness of IOS. However, as IOS have been recently introduced commercially, and as it is not possible to mathematically evaluate the accuracy of IOS in vivo, both in vivo and in vitro studies were included in the hierarchy of evidence for this review. Among the in vivo studies, both experimental (randomized controlled/crossover trials) and observational (controlled/comparative studies, prospective/retrospective cohort studies, case series and case reports) clinical studies were eligible for this review. Electronic database searches of MEDLINE, Embase and Scopus were performed using keywords and MeSH terms based on a search strategy used for searching MEDLINE (via PubMed): (((intraoral scanners OR digital impressions OR optical impressions OR intraoral scanning systems)) AND ((accuracy OR trueness OR precision OR time efficiency OR reliability))). The searches were confined to full-text articles written in English and published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2007 and June 2017. Titles and abstracts were screened and then full texts of all potentially relevant publications were obtained and reviewed independently in duplicate by F. Mangano and S. Logozzo, who also performed the data extraction. The investigators recorded the study title, authors, year of publication, journal in which the research was published and study design and type (in vitro or in vivo research). For in vitro studies, the investigators recorded subject area, materials, number of samples, outcomes, statistical findings and conclusions. For in vivo clinical studies, the investigators recorded subject area, randomisation and/or blinding where present, number of patients treated, controls (if present), treatment phases, follow-up, results, statistical findings and conclusions. Finally, the two independent investigators reached consensus for the inclusion of researches in this review.