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UHNM Orthodontics moves to innovative 3D digital scanning thanks to charity funding

Orthodontic patients at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) can now benefit from having faster, more accurate and less invasive impressions of their teeth taken thanks to charity funding.

UHNM Charity has helped the Trust’s Orthodontic departments at Royal Stoke and County hospitals purchase two of the latest innovative 3D digital intra-oral scanners to take digital scans of the teeth and surrounding structures which will replace analogue paste impressions.

The new scanners enable consultants and clinicians to view the images of the patient’s teeth and occlusion instantly which speeds up treatment decisions with patients reducing waiting times. The scans can also be transmitted electronically to the laboratory for manufacturing appliances reducing appointment intervals.

Jinesh Shah, Consultant Orthodontist at UHNM who led this project said: “Our new 3D digital intra-oral scanner has given a new experience to our patients, many of whom disliked having the analogue paste impressions which deterred them from having dental treatment. The new digital method of recording the relationship of teeth and occlusion is cleaner, faster, accurate and more comfortable for patients and they feel more relaxed about having this done. The scanned image appears instantly on the screen which the patients like so they can see and understand their proposed treatment better”.

“The scanners have the latest state-of-the-art software to send electronic scanned impressions of the teeth to the laboratory immediately. Once received, the manufacture of the prescribed appliance can commence straight away so reduces the fitting time. There are no distortions in the digital scan taken which makes it more accurate and therefore the appliance made should fit better in the patient’s mouth. This technology has opened up many new opportunities to improve the patient care and experiences when treating complex multi-disciplinary cases with other specialties which we will be exploring”.

The scanners has been in use for just over a month and have proved popular with patients like Emily Weavell from Newcastle-under-Lyme who was one of the first patients to have the scanner used.

Emily said; “I’ve been receiving my treatment at UHNM for the past two years and have had the analogue impressions taken previously. I found these to be uncomfortable and very messy. This new method with the scanner was more comfortable and faster. I was amazed to see my teeth straight away on the screen and I could understand everything explained to me about my treatment easily as I could see on the screen. I was very impressed and would recommend this to other patients.”

The scanners are also improving patient experience at County Hospital.

Sally Walker, County Hospital Oral and Maxillofacial Clinic Manger said: “As well as more accurate and less invasive treatments the new scanner has sped up treatment times for orthodontic patients at County Hospital. Prior to us using the scanner, traditional casts were sent via internal post to Royal Stoke, sometimes taking a couple of days. The new digital scanner means accurate scans can be sent to the lab instantly, without the risk of being damaged in transit.”

The project has been awarded the UHNM Specialised Surgery Directorate Star “Team of the month” Award July 2021, for its high impact on improving patient care and experiences.

If you would like to fundraise for UHNM Charity visit for more information, or call 01782 676444 to speak to one of the UHNM Charity team.

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