3D printing technology is a rapidly growing industry and dentistry is one of the many fields that are massively influenced. This technology allows dentists to efficiently fabricate appliances and models to provide faster and more precise services for patients. Today, 3D printers can be applied to orthodontics and to other branches of dentistry.
Dental 3D printers often require specialized resins created solely and specifically for dental practice because their applications are required to be highly accurate and precise.
Dental professionals continue to use 3D printing technology to revolutionize the field of dentistry. This technology has replaced many traditional procedures for fabricating crowns, dentures, and orthodontic appliances. Numerous other possibilities exist for 3D printing in the dental industry. New dental products and new applications for 3D printing continue to be developed for dentists to use in their practice.
There are many ways in which 3D printing technology can be incorporated into dentistry. The following are some common and universally popular applications.
Night Guards and Aligners – The fabrication of an aligner begins with a scan of the patient’s teeth. The dentist then uses software to create a 3D model of the teeth. This model is adjusted to the intended shape of the patient’s teeth. One of the main benefits of using 3D printing is that it delivers greater speed, accuracy, and customization into the creation of a night guard or an aligner.
Crowns – Conventional methods to create a crown to replace the broken part of a patient’s tooth can be time-consuming and expensive. Dental 3D printing serves as a quicker and cheaper alternative. Dentists only need to scan the tooth, use software to generate a model of the crown, and create one with special resin or porcelain. The time it takes to create a crown is reduced from several weeks to about an hour. 3D printing is also the more inexpensive option for both the dentist and the patient.
Surgical Guides – A dentist performing oral surgery can improve precision with 3D printed guides fitted perfectly into their patient’s mouth. These can be generated with a simple scan and designed as an aligner would be. Surgical guides reduce the likelihood that even minor dental mistakes are made.
Models – Dentists can print a model of their patient’s mouth and use this model to ensure that an implant, crown, or aligner has a precise fit. These models can be powerful tools for a dentist as they enable the dentist to make the necessary adjustments and confirm the precision of the make before they are surgically implanted into a patient.
Continued improvements in 3D printing software and technology have limited the number of steps required for the fabrication of 3D printed dental models. This relatively simple process allows the technology to be more easily adopted into a busy clinical practice.
New applications for 3D printing continue to emerge in different niches in the dental industry. In the future, 3D printing may be used to create dental necessities like temporaries and dentures. The technology continues to show promise, especially in the field of dentistry.