The medical industry seems to come up with new uses for 3D printing almost daily, with one of the most recent being the manufacturing of cancer drugs, but now the revolutionary technology of 3-dimensional printing is making its way to dentistry. Using a combination of oral scanning, CAD/CAM design and a 3D printing machine, dentists can now produce things like crowns, bridges and complete recreations of your mouth in far less time than it used to take traditionally.
The old way of molding dental prosthetics involved manual modeling, which takes time to get right. This delays the time between appointments and can lead to human error, which can increase production costs. 3D printing eliminates human error and makes the dental modeling process far more efficient.
What used to take days by hand can now take minutes using 3D printers and dentistry. There’s even a video on YouTube by Apex Dental Milling that shows the process of 3D printing in action.
The company says that it used to be able to create about three to four dental restoration models per hour with the traditional method of manual modeling. Now, with the combination of 3D printing and dentistry, the company is able to churn out quality dental models at a rate of 20 to 30 per hour.
How 3D Printing and Dentistry Work Together
Using highly-advanced imaging technology, your dentist will make a mental scan of your mouth, teeth and gums. This information is fed into a computer, which creates a 3D model of your mouth. This information is then sent to a 3D printer where composite materials are spread out and laid on top of each other layer by layer until a 3D model of your teeth remains (or the crown, bridge, or whatever else the 3D printer was set to create.)
The printed designs are accurate and they allow for fewer delays between appointments and faster and higher quality service for all dental patients.
This makes us excited for the future of 3D printers and dentistry and we should all expect to hear many more revolutionary uses for these awesome machines. The more patients we can help with higher quality dental services, the happier we’ll be and the more satisfied you’ll be with your smile.