Message in a Bottle Mailbag: Inheriting and updating practice technology, advantages of a mobile intraoral scanner

Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, answers a question about updating the technology in a newly purchased practice, discusses the advantages of a mobile intraoral scanner, and comments on earning his MAGD.

Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 08 Dental Operatory Diqthumb

The Message in a Bottle Mailbag is a monthly feature of the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator. Each month, Editorial Director Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, answers reader-submitted questions to help you navigate your dental product decisions (and more!). This month, he answers a question about updating the technology in a newly purchased practice, discusses the advantages of a mobile intraoral scanner, and comments on earning his MAGD.

Dental OperatoryQuestion

Sean from Washington wrote: I just bought a practice from an older dentist who retired. There is a lot that I need to update in the practice, but I can’t do it all at once. Digital x-rays were added about three years ago, and the practice was on Eaglesoft with computers in all of the rooms, so it's not like it came straight out of 1975. If you had to pick between a digital pano, electric handpieces, and a laser, what would you pick? Thanks in advance!


Wow, Sean, great question. Thank you for writing in. I am glad to hear there are digital radiographs and computers already. You aren’t starting from zero, so that makes things much more doable. I am assuming you are a general dentist and not an orthodontist. If you were an orthodontist, I would probably pick the digital pano. As a general dentist, you need electric handpieces before those other two things.

I am not saying that a digital pano or a laser wouldn't be nice to have, but you will use the electric handpieces more often in day-to-day restorative dentistry. The torque and efficiency of electric handpieces make such a difference. There are a lot of great ones on the market I would look at.

I have several different ones because I added them to different rooms at different times. I would look into the KaVo Electrotorque systems, the Bien-Air iOptima, the Star Dental NuTorque, and the NSK NLX Nano. They are all great systems that work beautifully. One might work better than others for your particular setup. Once you go electric, you will never go back. I think it will be a great choice to make an immediate impact on your new practice. Congrats and good luck!


3m Mobile Intraoral ScannerQuestion

Amber from Texas asked: What is the biggest advantage of the new 3M impression scanner [3M Mobile True Definition Scanner] versus the last one [3M True Definition Scanner]?


Good question, Amber. The two big advantages are size and portability. It's not any faster or more powerful than the cart. I wish that 3M Oral Care would have incorporated color or a wireless wand or something big like that. The size and portability are great, but I am watching as manufacturers of other systems make huge updates. Going to a tablet makes sense, but I am greedy—I want more!



James from Wisconsin wrote: Hey, I saw that you got your MAGD in Vegas! Congrats. What is next?


I have been asking myself the same thing, James! I worked so hard for the MAGD that I hadn’t thought about what is next. I have been thinking about it for a month or so and have come to the conclusion that I want to get my ABGD to be a board-certified general dentist. Yes, there is such a thing.

Earning the ABGD has two phases. First you must become board-eligible by passing a 300-question test that covers all phases of dentistry. Then you must challenge and complete an oral examination that consists of a treatment-planning exercise and a traditional oral board exam. It sounds daunting, but I love the idea of being a board-certified general dentist. It won't allow me to get any more from Delta for a Class II composite, but at least I will be able to rest well knowing that I have challenged myself to professional improvement!

Editor's note: Do you have a question for Dr. Austin? Is there a product you'd like to see him review? Or would you like to submit your own Pearl? Send an e-mail to You might just see it in the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator! If you're not a Product Navigator subscriber, click here to sign up.

More reading

June 2017 | A tip for bonding to zirconia, a wound-protecting device, summer movies
May 2017 | Can curing light exposure cause vision problems?
April 2017 |
Expanded-field loupes, oral cancer screening recommendations, NCAA

Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 01 Josh Austin 124 124Joshua Austin, DDS, MAGD, is an editorial director for Pearls for Your Practice: The Product Navigator, an e-newsletter from DentistryIQ and Dental Economics. He also writes the Pearls for Your Practice column in Dental Economics. After graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School, Dr. Austin associated for several years. In October 2009, he opened a solo general practice in a suburban area of San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Austin is involved in all levels of organized dentistry and can be reached at

For the most current dental product articles, click here.

For the most current dental headlines, click here.

More in Products