3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a method of creating a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer from a digital file. Dental 3D printers feature a light or a laser that polymerizes a liquid with the computer-guided precision required to produce small objects with complex details.
It is a catalyst for digital dentistry in that the objects are computer-created, unlike subtractive manufacturing processes, where a final item is simply cut from a larger block of material. Nowadays 3D printing is also known for its reliability and high quality as it has come a long way in improving the technology, and much has changed since the first desktop 3D printers appeared.
Not a long time ago, dental 3D printers were rarely found and affordable only to the top dental centers, while now they are a common thing in many clinics of any size.
These days, 3D printing is widely used around the world. It seems that we can witness the scope of 3D printing expansion every day. As for its applications in dentistry, more and more dental centers are embracing the 3D printing process. The technology has been making its way into this industry for the past couple of years with new businesses, improved equipment, and materials. Thus, it is hardly surprising that with the help of 3D printing in dentistry it is possible to replace or repair a damaged tooth, create an orthodontic model, produce ceramic crowns, bridges, caps, dentures, produce surgical tools, etc. Besides, it presents many noteworthy advantages over the more traditional manufacturing methods of subtractive manufacturing processes.
As mentioned above, subtractive manufacturing processes (in contrast to 3D printing) imply cutting the final items from the bigger block of material. As a result, 3D printing technology creates less material wastage. In addition, it provides a clean workplace for a dental technician, so that one does not have to inhale dust or do dirty and drudgery work. Digital workflows in dentistry require less labor and lower costs. Moreover, it saves the dental technician a lot of time. When you visit your dentist to get a ceramic crown or a bridge, the traditional way will involve sending the intra-oral scanning to a lab and waiting for a few days or even weeks before you can pick up your prosthesis. This not only leads to great inconvenience for you and your dentist but can also involve much more costs. With 3D printing, though, the dentist instantly sends a digital copy of the scanning to a 3D printing lab, which receives it in minutes. Hence, it becomes possible to start the work double-quickly. So, 3D printing simplifies technicians’ workflows, reduces the amount of labor required, resulting in time and cost savings on both lab’s and practitioner’s sides.
Manual model-making is a very laborious process. In the meantime, 3D printing technology in orthodontics allows dentists to create various products, all from one machine. In fact, different items can easily be printed on the same machine. Furthermore, accuracy is also improved since when we talk about manual work on the client’s issue, human error is a common thing on the part of both the technician and the patient, as it can entail heavy costs. Dental 3D printers, however, convert digital images into physical objects by printing 16-micron-thick layers one on top of the other. In this way, you can be certain that your prosthesis will be prepared exactly according to the desired dimension – 3D printed devices are much more customizable and better fit the patient with no need for extensive trimming and polishing. This is particularly appropriate when it comes to dental services for kids. All in all, increased production capacity and more accurate final results benefit both dentists and patients. Hence, if you want to take care of your and your family’s oral health, then finding the best family dental clinic in Albuquerque should be your top priority.
Since the 3D-printed oral devices are much more precise than the ones made by technicians, they are more likely to have no structural defects or imperfections that can reduce their life. As a result, such devices have a longer life than traditional ones.
The 3D printer’s story begins with the first stereolithography devices that were developed more than 30 years ago. Already at that time, dental printers were used for rapid prototyping, making molds for thermoforming, and since then it has significantly transformed the dental industry. Dentists and dental technicians using 3D printers together with digital oral scanners found out that they could produce dental devices with more accuracy, less waste, and in a much faster way in comparison to the traditional methods. Obviously, at first, 3D printed devices needed additional significant steps and supported a limited range of materials only. But now, we can witness a wide application of 3D printers in the dental industry. The usage of modern 3D devices implies a combination of next-generation hardware, software, and materials that provide direct printing of high-quality products and minimal or no post-processing steps. Such tremendous improvement in this technology provoked 3D printing solutions to be generally used in the dental industry to produce different types of oral devices like clear aligners, retainers, nightguards; restorative dental treatments such as crowns, bridges, dental implants; surgical instruments and 3D dental models, including resin or porcelain veneers.
Now that 3D printers are cheaper to produce and maintain, experts predict that they will be common even in our homes. But until that happens, 3D printing can be used to create just about anything you can come up with – all you need is the digital file and the necessary material. Therefore, the potential applications are limitless in various industries – construction, aviation, food, education, and last but not least – the medical and dental fields. Though it is still a relatively new technology, more and more dental laboratories are becoming exceedingly interested in 3D solutions. For instance, molds for clear aligners are globally the most popular 3D printed items in the dental industry. They are commonly produced by resin and powder-based 3D printing processes, as well as via material jetting.
Apart from being used by dental specialists, 3D printing processes have become considerably more affordable. It resulted in the wide application of this technology in various industries such as aviation, construction, healthcare, food, education, etc., thereby making 3D printers an inevitable part of our everyday life.
In conclusion, the first three-dimensional printing technology was introduced more than 30 years ago, and since then the industry has developed many different technologies that are now being used in a range of fields. It is based on computer-aided design digital models, using standardized materials to create customized 3D objects with the help of automatic predefined processes.
These days, more and more dental clinics and centers can afford to use 3D printing technology. It can successfully contribute to simplifying dentists’ workflows, reducing the amount of labor required, and resulting in time and cost savings. Furthermore, it provides super high quality, accuracy, and diversity of materials for 3D oral devices. Dentists that implement 3D printers at work gain total control over the workflow, have the possibility to customize it, and offer same-day solutions to their clients.