December 19, 2018

A few days ago a good discussion came up on a dental forum about the Pros and Cons of the iTero and 3Shape scanners. The question was about the main benefits of these scanners and their main uses. I posted on the forum and would like to share my thoughts with you.

You will find groups that love the iTero and those that love 3Shape. Personally we have owned a TRIOS for 4+ years but do not have a iTero. I have used the TRIOS extensively for many aspects of dentistry (smile design, implant planning, restorative, FMR) and the iTero in other practices and loaners.

iTero excels in Invisalign. Being the same company, they make the Invisalign ClinCheck seamless after taking a scan and it really is a nice system if your primary focus is aligners. It is not as good for restorative or smile design. Its current market is for full-mouth orthodontic impressions, and mostly specific to Invisalign treatments.

Both are very fast scanners. Both come in Black and white or colour. Both systems have subscriptions. Something to note is the iTero Element 2 is one of the biggest and heaviest scanners on the market. The TRIOS is lighter and has multiple configurations such as attaching to a laptop, cart and the TRIOS Move which is a neat concept.

There is also a wireless model, which is surprisingly fast in terms of scanning speed and response time. The TRIOS system has a lot of modules that require purchase based on your needs (restorative, implants, ortho etc), all these have subscription costs that can become pricey if not utilised clinically.

For me the point of difference seems to be the 3Shape system is a more complete in-house system. It has a very good design software for restorative (almost everything you can imagine with the right modules) and is releasing an elaborate aligner software which I have used that enables you to make your own aligners in-house (you will need a printer for models and a suckdown machine for fabricating aligners).

3Shape's DSD software is also out and it quite good too. By far my favourite 3Shape software is the implant studio which makes implant planning incredibly straight forward and easy. A bonus being it is at tissue level rather than bone (helps with fitting guides). I am not sure the iTero software does any of this in their own design centre. From memory a lot of it is sent out to labs to be fabricated rather than being able to do it in-house. Again its main niche is Ortho.

The other great point about 3Shape is its clearly investing heavily in their software and hardware. This is an important consideration when considering the long term benefits of which scanner to chose. Currently with all the developments in their system both hardware and software it feels that 3Shape are the leaders in the field. For a complete in-house workflow, the 3Shape system is still let down by 3rd party mills that don't seem to be on the same level however. 

We haven't included iTero in our CAD/CAM comparison article which only focuses on equipment that we have owned and use in-house over the past 10 years. If you want to read about the differences between CEREC Omnicam, 3Shape TRIOS and Planmeca Emerald read the article here.

About the author 

Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny

Dr Ahmad is a global leader in digital dentistry and intraoral scanners, carrying out lectures as a KOL for many companies and industry. He is one of the few in the world who owns and has tested all mainstream scanners and CAD/CAM systems in his clinic. Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny is also the Director of The Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), which is a world-leading digital dentistry education provider. iDD offers live courses, masterclasses, and an online training platform, with a mission to ensure dentists globally have easy and affordable access to the best digital dentistry training possible.

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