3D printing is taking over the world and its influence is felt in all kinds of industries, ranging from engineering, design, medicine and even dentistry. A manufacturing company, Formlabs, has taken steps in creating materials for dentistry with the use of 3D printing. With their Form 2 3D printer, they have opened up options for consumers for high textured SLA additives that have been crafted with digital dentistry as a forefront.
Formlabs have come up boasting about their SLA 3D printer’s capability to create surgical guides that dentists use, aligners and retainers, educational tools and samples, and even bridges & crowns.
The process of creating these objects is easy enough to understand. The dentists would need to get an accurate mock-up of the teeth of their patients. It’s an uncomfortable portion of the process, but it provides the exact data for the external lab to process the needed dental fixture in a highly custom way. But now, with the miracle of 3D scanning and 3D printing tech, dentists would be able to get a very detailed impression of their clients’ oral cavity without resorting to letting them bite onto a mold and wait for the material to set. After scanning, the data would then be sent to the 3D printer’s data base then printed. Suffice it to say that the 3D printer is even located in the clinic.
Dr. Scherer, a Sonoma, California dentist who practices implant dentistry and Prosthodontics, has a lot of things to say about the use of 3D printing to his practice. He says that being able to utilize a 3D printer within one’s own working space would allow a dentist more time and less effort, not to mention the decrease in costs, especially when it comes to the testing room. He will be able to push through with the whole surgical procedure within a short time span of an hour or so, rather than usually lending the mold to a crafter for as long as seven days.
The Form 2 SLA 3D printer provides dentists with a lot of opportunities when it comes to the manufacturing of materials that have a lot of uses for patients and students. As an example, Castable Resin could be the printing source of the STL file, making it easier when it comes casting crowns, partial frameworks and bridges in lithium disilicate in a very affordable way. Many dentists are already getting help with their work from Formlabs through the distribution of instructions and suggestions.
When it comes to creating educational tools and models, 3D printing has also done a lot. The accurate and often intense prints would really show the students the closest thing to an actual person’s mouth because of the degree of detail that’s present in each print. It would help dentists and their students gain more insight and perspective on their cases and how they would be able to address each patient’s dental needs.
Dr. Scherer said that using 3D printing technology in order to generate a full-scale model of a patient’s lower jaw and students to simulate implant surgery through an anatomically correct model of the jaw, absolutely enhance their education because it appears realistic.