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Accuracy of five intraoral scanners compared to indirect digitalization

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Direct and indirect digitalization offer two options for computer-aided design (CAD)/ computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)-generated restorations. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of different intraoral scanners and compare them to the process of indirect digitalization.

Material and method

A titanium testing model was directly digitized 12 times with each intraoral scanner: (1) CS 3500 (CS), (2) Zfx Intrascan (ZFX), (3) CEREC AC Bluecam (BLU), (4) CEREC AC Omnicam (OC) and (5) True Definition (TD). As control, 12 polyether impressions were taken and the referring plaster casts were digitized indirectly with the D-810 laboratory scanner (CON). The accuracy (trueness/precision) of the datasets was evaluated by an analysing software (Geomagic Qualify 12.1) using a “best fit alignment” of the datasets with a highly accurate reference dataset of the testing model, received from industrial computed tomography.


Direct digitalization using the TD showed the significant highest overall “trueness”, followed by CS. Both performed better than CON. BLU, ZFX and OC showed higher differences from the reference dataset than CON. Regarding the overall “precision”, the CS 3500 intraoral scanner and the True Definition showed the best performance. CON, BLU and OC resulted in significantly higher precision than ZFX did.


Within the limitations of this in vitro study, the accuracy of the ascertained datasets was dependent on the scanning system. The direct digitalization was not superior to indirect digitalization for all tested systems.

Clinical relevance

Regarding the accuracy, all tested intraoral scanning technologies seem to be able to reproduce a single quadrant within clinical acceptable accuracy. However, differences were detected between the tested systems.

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The authors would like to thank all manufacturers of the scanning systems (Carestream Health Inc., Zfx GmbH, Sirona Dental Systems, 3M and 3shape) for their support during the study and for the providence of open STL data for the analysis.

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Correspondence to Jan-Frederik Güth.

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Conflict of interest

Dr. Güth reports research grants and honorarium for scientific lectures from 3M, Sirona and Zfx outside the submitted work. Cornelius Runkel, Dr. Keul and Dr. Stimmelmayr report no conflict of interest. Prof. Edelhoff reports research grants and honorarium for scientific lectures from 3M outside the submitted work. Prof. Beuer reports personal grants from Sirona outside the submitted work. The authors have full control of all primary data and they agree to allow the journal to review their data if requested.


The research was supported by the Department of Prosthetic Dentistry, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this kind of study formal consent is not required. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

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Güth, JF., Runkel, C., Beuer, F. et al. Accuracy of five intraoral scanners compared to indirect digitalization. Clin Oral Invest 21, 1445–1455 (2017).

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