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Facial Scanning Technology

Facial scanning technology is among the latest innovations impacting patient care and treatment outcomes for oral prosthetic implants. Facial scanners for dental implants are sophisticated imaging devices that capture detailed images of a patient’s facial structure, particularly the oral cavity, teeth, and surrounding tissues. These scanners utilize advanced technologies such as structured light or laser scanning to create precise 3D models of the patient’s dental anatomy.

As the dental implant landscape evolves rapidly, face-scanning technology has emerged as a pivotal game-changer, particularly in crafting beyond precise oral prosthetics. By accurately mapping the contours and features of a patient’s face and mouth, the fabrication and placement of dental implants can occur with accuracy and precision.

Superior Accuracy and Scanning

Accuracy and precision are critical aspects of facial scanning for prosthetics, as they ensure that the digital models accurately represent the patient’s anatomy and provide reliable guidance for treatment planning, implant fabrication, and post-surgery care.

Leading the precision game, advanced desktop and high-end handheld models excel in accuracy, achieving precision down to 45-55 microns, thus ensuring that digital models precisely match a patient’s physical anatomy. Leveraging sophisticated imaging systems, these scanners generate highly detailed digital 3D models, presenting invaluable opportunities for various dental applications, notably in the design and fabrication of dental implants and other oral prosthetics.

Advanced scanning technologies and careful attention to technique are essential for achieving a streamlined process from planning to placement. The precision and accuracy of facial scanners are largely determined by the type and model being used. Details of these elements are examined below.

Comparisons of Dental Facial Scanners

Currently, two primary categories of facial scanners are on the market: desktop and handheld. Within the handheld category exists a subcategory including phone face scanners.

Desktop Dental Facial Scanners

Desktop dental-facial scanners are stationary scanning devices placed on a desk or counter within a dental office or laboratory setting. These devices are primarily used for capturing detailed facial images for dental purposes.

These scanners utilize advanced imaging technologies such as structured light, laser scanning, or confocal microscopy to capture precise 3D images of the patient’s oral anatomy. By emitting light or laser beams onto the surface of the patient’s face and teeth, desktop scanners capture thousands of data points to create highly accurate digital models.

Known for high resolution and accuracy, desktop scanners produce high-resolution images of tooth morphology, gum contours, and other anatomical features necessary for dental diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of dental restorations.

Unlike portable or handheld scanners, desktop scanners are more substantial, typically resembling a small desktop monitor or printer. Although desktop scanners can pinpoint precision and maximum diagnostic information, due to their stationary nature, they are not easily moved between different areas or rooms, making them obsolete in this day and age of implant technology. 

Types of Desktop Facial Scanners

Facial Scanning Technology

RAYFace Facial Scanner

The RAYFace Facial Scanner is a leading desktop scanning device tailored for the dental industry. With six high-resolution cameras and an integrated ring light, it swiftly captures facial scans with exceptional depth and realism. The unique curvilinear design of RAYFace eliminates the need for separate studio setups, offering convenience and efficiency.

The built-in ring light ensures clear scans while maintaining safety for the subject’s eyes and skin, minimizing eye fatigue. Calibration, required every 30 days or after relocation, is a straightforward automated process facilitated by the included calibration tool and software.

ObiScanner Facial Scanner

A desktop facial scanner equipped with LaserClass-1-compliant technology, the ObiScanner ensures patient safety during facial scans. Its external software integration is compatible with various CAD systems, CBCT, and IOS scanners. This scanner allows for rapid movement scans, including relaxed and smiling positions.

Vectra M3 3D Facial Scanner

The Vectra M3 3D Facial Scanner is a desktop scanner tailored for facial and neck imaging. This device was initially intended for plastic surgery procedures like rhinoplasty and facial contouring. Despite its primary focus on plastic surgery, the Vectra M3 scanner can also be applied to dental settings. The Vectra M3 was a prevalent choice before the introduction of the RayFace scanner, which is specifically tailored for dental applications.

Handheld Dental Facial Scanners

Handheld scanners are portable devices used to capture facial scans extra-orally. Similar to intraoral scanners, they are manually moved around the patient’s face to build a comprehensive scan.

As portable devices designed to capture detailed 3D images of a patient’s facial structure, handheld facial scanners particularly focus on the oral cavity, teeth, and surrounding tissues. These scanners offer flexibility and convenience, allowing dental professionals to perform scanning procedures directly in the dental office or even in remote locations.

Unlike stationary desktop scanners, handheld scanners offer flexibility in both oral positioning and orientation. Dental professionals can easily maneuver the scanner around the patient’s face and oral cavity to capture images from various angles, ensuring comprehensive coverage and accuracy.

Many handheld scanners feature real-time visualization capabilities, allowing the scanned images to be immediately viewed on a screen as they are being captured. This immediate feedback enables them to assess the quality of the scans and adjust as needed to ensure optimal results.

Offering flexibility and cost-effectiveness, handheld facial scanners enable dental professionals to perform chairside diagnosis and treatment planning directly in the dental office.

Types of Handheld Face Scanners

Facial Scanning Technology

MetiSmile Facial Scanner

Developed by SHINING 3D exclusively for dentistry, this handheld device includes 50-micron accuracy and a working distance of 500mm. The MetiSmile facial scanner can capture a full arch scan in approximately 30 seconds. It features mandibular trajectory tracking for dynamic occlusion data and optional modules that offer left and right lateral detection and centric and open occlusion. This device is compatible with SHINING 3D’s oral scan 3 for seamless integration of intraoral and facial scan data.

Thunk3D Facial Scanner/InstaRisa 3.0 3D Facial

The Thunk3D facial scanner, also known as the InstaRisa 3.0 facial scanner, offers a cost-effective alternative to the MetiSmile. Serving as a versatile 3-in-1 scanner for facial, bite, and bench-top scanning, the InstaRisa eliminates the need for fiducial markers or analog face bows.

The InstaRisa 3.0 Scanner, used by Infinia, provides high-quality data for easy 1:1 alignment that seamlessly integrates with IOS and Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT). It incorporates three main functions into one device: 3D facial scanning, bite scanning, and tabletop scanning, thus enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of digital dentistry practices​.

Face Hunter Facial Scanner

Introduced by Zirkonzahn, the Face Hunter, a handheld facial scanner designed to work with a laptop, has a compact scanner that seamlessly integrates into the Zirkonzahn workflow, offering digitization with a single click. The Face Hunter creates a photo-realistic 3D digitization of faces as a working basis for manufacturing individualized dental prostheses.

Revopoint POP 3D Facial Scanner

The Revopoint POP 3D facial scanner is a portable handheld device designed for capturing detailed facial scans. The next-gen technology option from this company is the POP 3, which is the latest iteration in Revopoint’s POP series. This scanner features enhanced hardware, design, and usability compared to its predecessor, the POP 2.

Improved capabilities include a class 1 infrared structured light and dual depth cameras. The POP 3 delivers highly detailed 3D models of facial structures with advanced algorithms that further enhance scanning precision. The POP 3D facial scanner offers simplified usage including user-friendly operation, making 3D scanning more accessible and efficient.

Phone Dental Facial Scanners

Phone dental facial scanners, also known as smartphone dental scanners or dental imaging apps, are applications designed to leverage the capabilities of smartphones to capture facial and dental images for diagnostic and treatment planning purposes.

Utilizing built-in cameras on smartphones along with specialized software to create digital models of the patient’s oral anatomy, these apps allow practitioners to capture high-quality images of the patient’s face, teeth, and oral cavity using the camera on a smartphone.

The scanned phone images are processed by sophisticated software algorithms embedded within the app, analyzing the images, extracting relevant data points to create accurate 3D models of the patient’s facial structure and dental anatomy.

Phone dental-facial scanners, such as iPhone apps, utilize the True Depth camera technology introduced with the iPhone X in 2017. These apps turn an iPhone into a handheld scanner, eliminating the need for proprietary devices. Users are able to capture facial images conveniently and securely for dental applications. A notable pioneer in this field, the Bellus3D iPhone app, ceased operations in 2022.

Types of Phone Facial Scanners

Qlone

A budget-friendly 3D phone scanner, Qlone, is an affordable alternative for dental offices who need to be cost-efficient. It can be easily downloaded from the app store. While primarily designed as a 3D object scanner, Qlone can also be used for dental face scanning. However, it lacks the specialized features and integration of dedicated dental scanners.

Despite some refinement needed, Qlone performs well overall, although it does require more time for face scanning due to the camera size and is more technique-sensitive to use compared to dental-specific scanners.

In terms of accuracy, Qlone proved to be accurate in tests against other face scanners, although with less detail than pricier alternatives. Nevertheless, its affordability makes it a highly accessible option for dental professionals.

Facial Scanning Technology

Discrepancies between Scanners

Phone-based camera scanners lack research-backed reliability and may not offer optimal scan quality compared to their counterparts. Desktop and specific handheld dental-facial scanners boast higher mesh density, aligning better with scans and CBCT, which is crucial for detailed dental work.

Desktop scanners prioritize pinpoint precision and maximum diagnostic information, while handheld scanners offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness, suitable for multi-unit integration in

dental offices.

Cost Comparison Between Facial Scanners

Desktop Scanner Costs

RAYFace Facial Scanner

Priced around $20,000, the RAYFace stands out as a premium but user-friendly solution in the facial scanning market.

ObiScanner Facial Scanner

With external software integration that is compatible with various CAD systems, CBCT, and IOS scanners, the ObiScanner is priced at around $5,000, offering an economical option compared to its competitors. It is worth noting that this model provides less sophisticated dental software than alternatives like RayFace.

Vectra M3 3D Facial Scanner

Priced around $10,000, the Vectra was a prevalent choice before the introduction of the RayFace scanner, which is specifically tailored for dental applications.

Handheld Scanner Costs

MetiSmile Facial Scanner

Compatible with SHINING 3D’s oral-scan 3 for seamless intraoral and facial scan data integration, the MetiSmile costs approximately $5000, offering fast scanning capabilities, though it is not a one-click operation.

Thunk3D Facial Scanner/InstaRisa 3.0 3D Facial

Priced at approximately $19,000 for the InstaRisa version and $8,000 for the OEM Thunk3D version, these scanners provide accurate scans that seamlessly integrate with IOS and CBCT.

Face Hunter Facial Scanner

Including intuitive controls, digitalization is only one click away with this device.Request a price quote for the Face Hunter facial scanner here.

Revopoint POP 3D Facial Scanner

Making 3D scanning more accessible and efficient, the Revopoint POP is affordably priced at around $1,500, offering an economical option for obtaining high-quality facial scans.

Cost of Phone Facial Scanners

Qlone

Offering a low price and accessibility, Qlone is available for $29.99 in the US and €34.99 in Europe, making it an affordable option for users.

Choosing the Right Scanner

When selecting a dental-facial scanner, you must consider factors such as operation type (single-click or manual), budget, and desired features. Systems like MetiSmile and Rayface offer sophisticated dental software and integration capabilities, making them suitable for various dental practices.

The precision, accuracy, and customization offered by specific scanning models can ensure that oral prosthetics are perfectly tailored to fit the unique contours of a patient’s oral and facial structure.

Efficiency and patient satisfaction are also key factors. By reducing the time required for surgery and increasing the predictability of outcomes, overall patient satisfaction is improved through better-fitting prosthetics and shorter recovery times.

Facial Scanning Technology

Facial Scanning Technology: How It Changes the Game

Detailed digital 3D models enhance the planning and execution of dental implants by providing precise visualizations of the proposed prosthetics. These models help dental professionals assess the optimal placement of implants, ensuring both aesthetic appeal and functional integrity.

Facial scanners enable the customization and personalization of dental implants to perfectly fit each patient’s unique anatomy. The accuracy and precision allow facial scanners to produce highly accurate three-dimensional digital models of the patient’s facial structure, including the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues. These precise representations serve as invaluable diagnostic tools for dentists, providing detailed insights into a patient’s oral anatomy.

By providing detailed anatomical information and facilitating precise treatment planning, facial scanners contribute to providing more predictable outcomes in dental prosthetic procedures, reducing the likelihood of unexpected complications or revisions.

Revolutionizing Oral Prosthetics and Dental Care

Facial scanning technology has indisputably transformed the foundation of dental prosthetics. With its ability to provide precise, personalized treatments, face scanning devices enhance dental procedures’ efficiency and significantly improve patient outcomes.

This ongoing progression in dental technology reaffirms the critical role of face scanning in today’s dentistry field. As technology progresses, the future of dental care promises to include increased accuracy, cost savings for dental offices, and increased patient satisfaction.

Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/365456987_Facial_Scanners_in_Dentistry_An_Overview

https://zirkonzahn.com/en/products/machines-and-equipment/face-hunter