How Can 3D Printing be Used Within the Dental Industry?
Large-scale adoption of 3D printing is here, and it’s particularly widely used within the dental industry for a range of purposes. Read on to learn exactly how this technology is used.
What are Some Innovations in the dental industry?
3D printing can be achieved within both the dental practice as well as specialist off-site laboratories. Although, relatively new in adoption, Dentists are turning to this technology in large-scale due to its convenience, improvements in speed and reductions in cost.
Statistics from Wohlers Associates showed that 11.3% of additive manufacturing globally was shared between the health and dental industries. The potential use of is widespread and 3D printing dental parts is a realistic technology even now.
What are Some Examples of 3D printing dentistry applications?
Here are some applications within the dental industry:
- Antimicrobial Teeth – Although still fairly futuristic, many Dentists are optimistic about the future use of 3D printed antimicrobial teeth as a possible replacement for fillings. The whole tooth would be 3D printed and would replace the extracted tooth, the difference here though would be that the replaced tooth is decay resistant, compared to a patient’s natural tooth
- Crowns and Bridges – Very common orthodontic 3D printed pieces are crowns and bridges. These predominantly correct both damaged and missing teeth. Materials used include ceramics as well as many metal alloys. A 3D scanner takes a scan of the patient’s mouth from which a 3D model can be printed for testing the fit of the crowns and bridges (which must be exact)
- Models – Various models of dentistry items can be printed. These can be used for training and education purposes in particular
- Other orthodontic pieces – A range of other orthodontic pieces can be 3D printed, such as aligners, nightguards, retainers and splints. The process is similar to crowns and bridges, where a 3D model is produced, which enables the orthodontic pieces to be printed and tested for their exact fit within the patient’s mouth
- Surgical guides – A 3D scan is taken of the patient’s mouth and then surgical guide models are created. These are for use in subsequent “complicated” dental surgeries, where the Dentist needs a guide to avoid drilling into ultra-sensitive patient nerves (which can cause worst-case scenario, partial facial paralysis). The guides have metal drilling inserts embedded, which means the Dentist can drill with much higher levels of accuracy and reliability
- Tools and medical devices – as with other areas of healthcare, a range of surgical tools and devices can be 3D printed. As long as a Dentist has a 3D model, they could 3D print the tool/device locally saving costs and also reducing lead-time on tools replacement
The following articles about 3D printed and additive manufacturing are all interesting, related reading:
- 3D metal printing an overview
- Additive manufacturing – a definition
- Additive manufacturing in the medical industry
- Additive manufacturing processes
- How does additive manufacturing work? and
- Practical applications and uses for additive manufacturing
Contact SPI Lasers
Have you tried 3D printing yet? If not, then there is no time to waste, why not contact us to discover how our lasers can make your plans for 3D printing dental products and other items a reality? SPI Lasers have a wide selection of applications, as well as additive manufacturing they can also ablate, drill, engrave and mark for example.
Speak to us now on +44 (0)1489 779 696, our contact form is also available here. Our support staff will be able to advise on 3D printing solutions for your business. Call us, we are always delighted to help. Receive regular SPI content at this link.
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