3D printing has evolved as one of the most promising technologies and is penetrating deeper revolutionizing various niches. The dental industry is the most prominent niche where the benefits of 3D printing can be easily noticed.
Apart from adding more flexibility to the work, 3D printers for dental applications have made huge changes the way the industry worked before. You can count on dental 3D printers for realizing beautiful teeth or for getting the broken teeth repaired.
The accuracy and precision that the machine has provided are worthy of every applaud.
3D printed teeth look closest to the real ones. Hence, are very much desired. While we have already found a lot of reasons for using a 3D printer for dental application, the research is still on. The developments have fascinated the entire industry and it will continue to do the same.
The first and foremost requirement for a dental 3D printer is precision. Hence, the 3D printing technologies that are commonly used for manufacturing these machines are Digital Light Processing and SLA.
For different applications, a variety of resins have been developed. These specialized resins are helpful in providing the desired results.
Applications of 3D Printer for Dental Industry
You may have heard about one or two applications of 3D printers, however, there are quite a some more that you haven’t heard of yet.
This is because the industry is progressing parallel to the 3D printing technology. The jobs that used to take days to complete can be accomplished in hours with the help of additive printing technology.back to menu ↑
You must have heard about this one. This has become very common and 3D printing is widely used for designing these night guards and aligners.
Being able to create transparent objects and parts, 3D printers are capable of printing aligners that could hardly be noticed right away. These transparent aligners serve as an alternative to the braces. And, are highly desirable because of the transparent look that they provide.
The question is: How is this created? The process is easy and simple. Without taking much time of the patient or the dentist, it can be accomplished by scanning the patient’s teeth.
Later, the scanned image is used for generating a 3D model of their teeth with the help of different software. The best part is that the probability of error comes down to almost zero. Hence, no more adjustments problem and trails for fixing the aligners for the perfect fit for the patient’s teeth.
There are two ways for printing the aligners. One is to print the patient’s teeth exactly the way it is and using a vacuum for forming a plastic sheet over the printed teeth model. This plastic sheet then converts into an aligner.
Another way involves software that is used for creating the model for the aligner itself. This model is then printed and is fixed over the teeth of the patient as an aligner.
However, one must remember that the later one must be accomplished with the help of a very high definition dental 3D printer that uses specialized resin. Or else, the results could be dis-satisfactory.back to menu ↑
Every one of us is scared of oral surgeries. Mostly because it is difficult to achieve the best results in one go. Patients may need further visits to the dentist clinic for satisfactory results.
However, 3D printing has provided the highest precision and accuracy of the procedure. Moreover, it takes less time to create surgical guides with the help of 3D printers than any other traditional method.
This is the reason why 3D printed guides have become an indispensable asset for orthodontists. All they have to do is scan the patient’s mouth.
And, using this scan, the model for guides can be created using the software. These are similar to aligners, however, with openings at spots that require surgeries.back to menu ↑
What are crowns? This would be the first question if you have been lucky not to break your tooth while playing with your friends when young. Crowns are used to fix the broken tooth.
This crown is used to replace the tooth’s part that is broken. When done using traditional methods, you may have to go through a long process that may be highly expensive, depending on the damage.
This is not the case with 3D printing. The technology has made the entire procedure less time consuming and easy.
Again, the procedure starts with a scan, however, this time not the entire teeth but the broken one. The software then helps to create the model of the crown.
It does not take more than 30 minutes to create these crowns. So, it can be fixed the same day the scan is done. With the help of the special resin, the crown is carved out of porcelain.
This procedure is cheaper and short. Instead of waiting for days to get the crown installed on your tooth, you just have to wait for a couple of hours. Isn’t that feasible for both the dentist and the patient? It sure is.back to menu ↑
You can call it models or prototypes, whatever helps to make the concept clear. As discussed before, precision is what we crave for more than anything else when it comes to dentistry.
Getting things right in the first go is a challenge through conventional methods. On the other hand, 3D printers have made this a breeze. One can print models for difficult scans and verify the perfect fit before actually carving the aligners or crowns.
The same procedure applies when printing models. The scan of the teeth is used for printing models using designated software. With the help of various power tools, dentists are able to check the accuracy of these parts before surgically implanting these to the patient’s mouth.
These are easy to print and do not require special resins. One can design these models with cheaper resins as they are not implanted inside the patient’s mouth.
These models shorten the trial and error period and help the dentist remove the slightest of the confusion when carrying the surgeries.
What Are the Benefits and Limitations of a 3D Printer for Dental Application?
It is true that 3D printing has helped accomplish difficult tasks, however, like any other technology it does have few limitations.back to menu ↑
3D printing has provided an error-free resolution to dental applications. There are many ways technology is helping in achieving the optimum result.back to menu ↑
The flexibility of accomplishments:
By now, you may have understood the importance of 3D printing in the dental applications. However, the benefits do not end at ease and speed. There are other benefits too.
One is the flexibility of work that can be achieved with 3D printing. As we all know that the variation of the human mouth is countless and this encourages the need for different materials.
In short, one can conclude that dentistry depends on the material used for surgeries and implants. The best part is that the dentists can now use these materials to print at their office.
Hence, minimizing the visits of patients and easing the entire procedure. All these upsides of the technology make 3D printing an inseparable part of dentistry.back to menu ↑
Easing Trial and Error:
It is no surprise is your dentist comes up with a tooth that does not fit perfectly in your mouth. These procedures are prone to mistakes.
However, with 3D printing, these errors can be corrected very easily. Even, one can eliminate errors with the help of models completely. Again, these can be accomplished inside your dentist’s office itself.back to menu ↑
More to Come:
The good news is that 3D printing is evolving consistently. The innovations are happening every now and then. It may be a case that the researchers would have been able to find something new by the time you finish reading this post.
That’s the intensity of 3D printing expansion. The researches such as the development of anti-bacterial resin capable of killing bacteria in contact is underway.
And, many other advancements are still to be announced. These examples signal that the technology is not planning to stop anywhere. It would expand and grow further.back to menu ↑
There are few limitations that make 3D printing brings with itself.back to menu ↑
Demand for Exact Accuracy and Precision
Precision is where it starts as well as ends. Dental procedures are carried inside small spaces that we call as mouths. It is not only difficult to reach every inch inside the mouth, but the visibility is also compromised at some spots.
Hence, there is no room for error which may lead to life long-suffering of the patients. Hence, it is very important to use the 3D printer for dental applications that is highly precise and provide the best results.
The accuracy of the tiniest details is what one craves from these machines. Not all the printers are capable of getting even closer to the expectations. However, one must need to be careful when designing the models or crowns. Any mistake in the 3D design can lead to failed attempts.back to menu ↑
Training is a part of achieving hands-on experience with a 3D printer. You cannot expect to start operating these machines right out of the box without any prior experience, especially when utilizing it for specialized applications.
From the precise setup of the 3D printer to designing the accurate 3D designs, you need to excel at everything. This will require you to go through some training. Being from a medical field, you must have put extra effort and years while preparing to become a dentist.
Hence, you know how crucial training is. You must acquire extra skills to use the machine for getting the best results, otherwise, it wouldn’t be useful at all.back to menu ↑
Dental 3D Printer Price
One more setback that limits the accessibility of 3D printers to a few hands. It is true that the 3D printers are available for around $1000 when looking for an SLA or DLP printers. But not every 3D printer is a 3D printer for dental application.
One can expect the cost to go somewhere around $3,000 and even more. And, this cost does not include the maintenance or material cost.
The only good news is that the materials for dental applications are not very expensive. Moreover, the technology is evolving. Newer applications are coming into practice.
It may happen that in a few years, your 3D printer may not cater to all the new services recently included. Hence, you must expect investments down the line, if not sooner.back to menu ↑
How to Choose a 3D Printer for Dental Application?
This is where most of the dental experts feel confused and agitated. After learning about the technology, finding the aptest machine is again a challenge. There are so many different ones available in the market. Which one to choose is a difficult regimen.
So, what are the things that one must look for when buying a 3D printer for dental applications? While there are so many important specs, here are a few most important ones.back to menu ↑
Capable of Delivering High Precision
This has been underlined many times in the post itself. There is no further way to accentuate the importance of precision any further. One cannot go wrong with precision and accuracy.
A 3D printer incapable of creating closet fit for the dental procedure is nothing more than a box sitting idle with no work. Hence, finding the one with proper precision is the key to finding the right machine.
Go for DLP or SLA 3D printers as they are the most accurate 3D printing processes. Also, look for the layer size you may be desiring for achieving the desired results.back to menu ↑
Capable of Providing Add-Ons Services
With time, you may be using the 3D printer you bought a few months back for more services. As your knowledge and experience will grow, you will get equipped with 3D printing. And, it is imperative too.
Also, the technology is evolving, with that, patients would expect you to cater to wider needs. Hence, a 3D printer capable of including add-ons later would help you stay with regular expenditure. And, you would be able to serve more applications with time.back to menu ↑
Do You Like Any Specific Design Tool?
Why is this question so important? The fact that these tools aren’t always easy to learn, makes it even more important to stick to the one you already have experience with.
Hence, you must look for the 3D printer that is compatible to work with your specific tool. This will ease your printing procedure and can get you the highest precision right away when out of the box. You can learn and grow while taking full advantage of the software you are familiar with.
And, you will find plenty of SLA as well as DLP 3D printers compatible with your choice of software. So, that won’t be the most difficult challenge.back to menu ↑
Can Work with Biocompatible Resins
This is also the most important feature that your 3D printer must be able to handle. Are you looking for printing only models or wish to take complete advantage of 3D printing?
You cannot use crowns or aligners that are unsafe inside the mouth when used 24/7. For this, you must own a 3D printer that can work with biocompatible resins.back to menu ↑
Best 3D Printers for Dental Application
Down to business now. The best 3D printers that you can actually make use of when operating a dental clinic. These are some of the best choices to consider.back to menu ↑
Objet Eden 260VS
If you are looking for 3D printers for dental applications, you must have come across the name of Stratasys. The company has built many dental printers with different suitability.
Their name precedes them. Objet Eden 260V is one of the many choices that Stratasys offers. It is a poly jet 3D printer and capable of achieving high accuracy.
It offers a build space of 255 x 255 x 200 mm which is large enough to carry almost everything related to dental applications.
One can carry on works like printing of dental models, surgical guides and various other orthodontic appliances.
It can help achieve accuracy of 16 microns and can work with materials like VeroDent, VeroDentPlus, VeroGlaze, Clear Bio-Compatible, and others. This is a very accurate printer and can be used for the highest precision.
Dentists use this 3D printer for many applications. The company also offers different options for dental 3D printers. Another one is the Objet260 Dental. This one runs on triple PolyJet Technology and is also a highly precise option for dentists.back to menu ↑
SprintRay is one more company offering various 3D printers for dental applications. MoonRay S is one of them. It is based on DLP technology and is very accurate.
Utilizing the power of lasers, the machine works wonderfully for accomplishing a variety of dental applications. One can easily use the machine for printing ortho Models, dental models, surgical guides, custom night guards and much more.
MoonRay S is capable of attaining a minimum feature size of 100 microns. With 5 x 3.2 x 8 in of build volume, one can accomplish many tasks with ease.
It comes with a year warranty and is very helpful for dentists looking for large build volumes maintaining the accuracy of details. It works with liquid resin and precise at what it does.
One can choose between the layer heights of 20 µm, 50 µm, and 100 µm. Hence, dentists can change the setting for different purposes. MoonRay D is one more 3D printer offered by the same company.
Based on DLP technology, it offers comparatively lower build volume. However, the results are still worth noting. MonoRay D is manufactured to serve applications like creating crowns, copings, Bridges, RPDs and much more.back to menu ↑
VIDA HD CROWN & BRIDGE 3D Dental Printer
EnvisionTec does not need any introduction when it comes to dental 3D printers. With the release of Vida, EnvisionTec cleared that the company excels at pointing out the needs of dental applications precisely as their 3D printers are capable of.
What else would you expect when getting an open-architecture and easy-to-maintain 3D printer with user-friendly operation, that too at a lower cost. This machine can be used for different applications including various dental ones.
The machine can help achieve a high resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with custom UV optics. One can work with the Perfactory software suite to design the 3D prints and later transfer it to the machine for printing. This can be accomplished via Ethernet, USB connection or WIFI.
From great surface finish to high accuracy, one can get the best from this machine. As the name suggests, it can be used for crowns and bridges and many other dental applications. It offers a build volume of 90 x 50 x 100 mm. It does come with a one year warranty.
This is a plug and play device with lots of amazing features making it one of the best choices for dental applications.back to menu ↑
3D printing for dental applications is nothing new. However, the developments around the niche is always a topic for discussion around the users of the machine.
Dentists have found these 3D printers helpful much more than any other conventional method for printing small details. The technology is progressive and highly beneficial. With some training and experience, it opens new doors for success.
It has been backed by many dentists who have replaced their traditional methods with this most revolutionary technology. The fact that the 3D printing machines are highly accessible these days, make it even more popular among its users.
The amount of workload it reduces is commendable. Moreover, it shifts the control of procedure into the hands of dentists.
With 3D printers, dentists are able to complete the procedure inside their clinic instead of waiting for the third party establishments for creating the dental parts for implants or other usages.
Isn’t that handy for both dentists and patients at the same time. The benefits are many and limitation is few. With proper planning, dentists can search for the best 3D printer for dental applications that can suit their needs. So, why not one should opt for better technology?