Hughes’ Views Dr. Michael Hughes’ Dental Blog

3M Dental Digital Scanners

After using the 3M COS digital scanner for 5 years I have decided to put this expensive device in the closet. The technology for doing digital impressions for crowns and bridges is very exciting and the future is very bright but the future is not now. I received the first device in the southeast United States and have gotten very good results with it, however, the results are not predictable causing this dental staff, our dental labs and our patients significant inconvenience.

The scanning device works as expected and when the lab at 3M performs professionally the resulting crowns and bridges are the best fitting most accurate I have ever seen.

The problem lies with 3M labs. The model production necessary to make the crowns and bridges must be as accurate as the digital scans. This only occurs about 10% of the time causing endless frustration for the lab technicians as crowns must be sent back to the lab and then they take excessive amounts of adjustment time chairside to seat the restorations. The end result can be fantastic but the predictability of delivering a crown is nonexistent. This naturally reflects poorly on the practitioner as patients experience the rescheduling and lengthy chairside adjustments.

Dealing with the employees at 3M labs is even more frustrating. The lab personel from two separate dental labs and my dental office staff have found the 3M employees to be belligerent and rude every time we have been able to actually get them on the phone. There is no recognition or understanding of the ramifications of their poor performance on the outcome of dental treatment.

I was working on a Microscope video for more than a year to showcase the incredible fit and accuracy of crowns made using the 3M digital scanner but I was never able to finish it due to the reasons noted above. You may however find the video interesting to watch.


3M Digital Impressions from Hughes’Views on Vimeo.

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