Dental applications of 3D printing technology

The field of dental processing provides a very fertile application soil for 3D printing technology. Compared with other industrial manufacturing industries, dental processing is the field with the most opportunity for full 3D digitization. 3D-printed digital oral technology brings high precision, low cost, high efficiency, and oral data in line with standardized production chains to the dental industry. At present, the application of 3D printing technology in the field of dental restoration mainly includes removable dentures, aligners, and dental implants.

Among them, the commonly used 3D printing technologies mainly include: photosensitive resin selective curing technology (SLA), selective laser melting technology (SLM), inkjet printing technology (Polyjet), and metal laser sintering technology (DMLS). Dentistry is currently the most promising medical field where 3D printing technology can be applied on a large scale.

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What are the advantages of 3D printed dental implants compared to traditional dental implants?

Dental implants refer to a tooth-suppressing method in which artificial tooth roots are implanted in the alveolar bone tissue of the oral cavity as support by surgical methods, and crowns are repaired on the artificial tooth roots. If a traditional cone-shaped implant is used in dental implants, it needs to go through the steps of minimally invasive tooth extraction, preparation of implant holes, implantation of bone powder, covering with collagen film, submerged healing, secondary surgery, crown fabrication, and insertion, etc. The treatment cycle takes about 6 to 8 months and is expensive.

3D printed dental implants can directly form the entire tooth body containing the root. Only minimally invasive tooth extraction, implant placement, and crown restoration are required. It can be seamlessly integrated with the original alveolus, reducing patient pain and chairside treatment cycles. For one to two hours, the doctor’s operation time is only half an hour, and the cost is greatly reduced.

removable dentures

Traditional denture processing is inseparable from the manual skills of dental technicians in making wax models and casting crowns. This production method leads to a high rate of denture rework, which not only reduces the work efficiency of dental laboratories, but also reduces patients wearing dentures of comfort.

The advantages of metal 3D printing technology in crown production cost and efficiency are even more prominent. Waxing, embedding, and casting processes can be omitted, and the workload of turning gold is greatly reduced. Instead of manual wax-up and lost-wax cast crowns, digital mouth model scans, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and automated crown cutting processes are used instead.

dental braces

The application of 3D printing technology in dental braces is mainly lingual braces and invisible transparent braces. The 3D printing technology of lingual braces is mostly SLM (Selective Laser Melting) technology. The metal lingual braces printed by SLM technology are not only invisible, and beautiful but also large in size compared to traditional dental braces. More suitable for the patient’s tooth status at each stage of the orthodontic period. Compared with the traditional method, which needs to be adjusted based on the experience of the dentist, this orthodontic technique has more advantages.