iTero Element 5D Plus Series
The iTero Element 5D Plus series was released in February 2021 as the latest generation intraoral scanner by Align, the parent company of the iTero intraoral scanners. This new intraoral scanner was a relatively surprising release as iTero recently launched the iTero Element 5D just before in early 2019 – first being showcased at the International Dental Show.
Last year, we reviewed the iTero Element 5D. Overall, although it was a good scanner with some fantastic technology built into it, the hardware let it down significantly, resulting in a laggy user experience. To read our review of the iTero Element 5D click here. This year, the team at iDD were lucky to be the first in the Asia-Pacific region, and one of the first in the world to test the iTero Element 5D Plus.
It seems that iTero has listened to our reviews. The new Element 5D Plus is not exactly a brand new scanner as it is the same as the previous generation Element 5D. Instead, the changes are entirely hardware-related. There have been significant improvements to the computer components that run the scanner, resulting in a vastly better user experience. It also looks a lot better. The Plus Series comes in two options – a new cart and a tablet (mobile) version.
The cart is similar to the previous generation Element 5D cart but with a new modern aesthetic. The mobile configuration is a medical-grade, compact portable scanner solution that delivers the same high-quality images as the cart configuration. You can no longer buy the Element 5D Plus as a USB scanner to use with any computer/laptop, unlike the Element 5D which had this option. It is either a cart or tablet with the Plus series, with the specific computer hardware that iTero has chosen. Those looking for a USB ‘plug and play’ scanner may opt for the iTero Element 5D laptop configuration or the iTero Element Flex, which is iTero’s more ‘entry-level’ option.
The Element 5D Plus Series is iTero’s fifth-generation intraoral scanner. This new lineup of scanners and imaging systems builds on the success of the Element 5D. It offers all of the existing orthodontic and restorative digital capabilities users have come to rely on, with one fundamental improvement – faster processing times for a seamless scanning experience in a new sleek, ergonomically designed package.
Secondly, the design and shape of the scanner wand has not changed significantly since the first generation iTero Element intraoral scanner. There are some unique design choices that iTero opt for, such as the scanner head not being parallel with the scanner body. Instead, it protrudes downwards at about a 45-degree angle. The shape and size of the scanner head are said to be designed in this way so that while in use, the scanner itself will retract soft tissues meaning that one person can scan without requiring an additional person to provide retraction of the cheeks/tongue. There is no doubt that this design does help somewhat with soft tissue retraction, but at the same time, it also makes scanning tight to reach areas more inconvenient. On top of all this, the iTero Element 5D Plus still has one of the largest scanner heads on the market. A larger scanner head means it is harder to use in small mouths and hard to reach places. It can be tricky to capture the distal surface of a second or third molar using this scanner, for example, and scanning children can be problematic.
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