How Do T-Scan and Intraoral Scanners Compare on Measuring Dental Occlusal Contact Area?

t-scan compares to intraoral scanningOne of the more common questions we receive from dentists concerns how T-Scan digital occlusal analysis compares to virtual cast articulation found in intraoral scanner technology. While we’ve addressed the primary differences between the two technologies in a previous article, a new research paper brings more evidence to the importance using T-Scan to optimize the occlusal contact pattern that an intraoral scanner virtually designs.

As its title suggests, “Reliability and Validity of T-Scan and 3D Intraoral Scanning for Measuring the Occlusal Contact Area,”(1) specifically addresses both technology’s capacity to measure a patient’s occlusal contact area. Occlusal contact area is broadly defined as the total number of occlusal units across an individual’s complete dentition. In this study:

  • Thirty-one dentate adults had their maximum bite force, and 50% of their maximum force both measured by the T-Scan.
  • Their occlusal contact area was scanned intraorally considering the occlusal contact at two interocclusal distances (0-100 and 0-200 μm).
  • Test–retest reliability was assessed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and validity by Pearson correlations.

Results:

T-Scan Vs intraoral scanners

According to the data, T-Scan proved to be a reliable and valid method to measure occlusal contact area, especially when subjects intercuspated their teeth with maximum occlusal forces (ICC = 0.79; p <0.0005. The intraoral scanner however, did not perform as favorably, at either of the interocclusal distances that denoted exiting occlusal contact (ICC = 0.37, and ICC = 0.42; p <0.05).

The researchers stated that, while T-Scan was not developed to analyze occlusal contact area, the digital images produced by this technology is a viable method for performing an occlusal analysis assessment.

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(1) Raul Ayuso-Montero, DDS, PhD, Yumaysla Mariano-Hernandez, DDS, Laura Khoury-Ribas, DDS, Bernat Rovira-Lastra, DDS,PhD, Eva Willaert, DDS, PhD & Jordi Martinez-Gomis, DDS, PhD. “Reliability and Validity of T-Scan and 3D Intraoral Scanning for Measuring the Occlusal Contact Area.” Journal of Prosthodontics. (July 3, 2019).  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopr.13096