The dental industry is one of the constant users of the additive manufacturing process and extensively used in manufacturing dental implants and tools. In a rather new innovative solution, it is supposed to be used for 3D bioprinting tissue-like structures which would be a completely novel discovery in the field of science. And it is all made possible by the use of 3D printing technology.
The dental 3D printing sector is booming a lot and is speculated to touch the $930m mark by the end of 2025. The vast share of the market is captured by the development of dental tools that are implanted in the mouth, including dentures and crowns. There are dedicated 3D printers and 3D scanners that are being used in this growing industry for all the dental applications listed ahead.
From a wide range of 3D printing applications like dentures, braces, crowns to building any surgical models for dental implants, 3D printers are all in one solution for these dental processes. They can build sturdy bio-friendly products and constantly improve them through the accelerated feedback process.
Benefits of 3D Printers in The Dental Industry
- Accurate shape and size: Making any dental piece is a very personalised & sophisticated process that needs dedication and focus on the existing dimensions. 3D printers are handy when it comes to making an accurate dental piece and even customise it with intricate geometrical fittings.
- Making flexible dental models: 3D printing technologies enable researchers to make a flexible dental model that can be used as an early model for approaching new innovative solutions.
- Cost-effective: Prosthetics which fits the patients’ morphology, is expensive with the prevalent conventional manufacturing processes. With 3D printers, it becomes very flexible to design and integrate all the morphological structure of the patient and produce the prosthetics in a short time.
Applications of 3D Printing in The Dental Industry
- Dental models:
Embrace new technological advancements to print an early dental model which could be heavily optimised upon doctors and patients feedback. The early designs can also work in the preclinical and clinical trials for generating a perfect final product.
- Surgical guides: It takes the intraoral scan of the implant site to make a surgical guide and then uses it to check the fittings of dental pieces. The computer-guided 3D implant planning system is required for this procedure which also consists of a 3D printer to make the dental piece according to the guide.
- Aligners: Aligners are used to set and correct the alignment of the tooth set and can often be a costly procedure for a middle class household. But due to 3D printers, it can now be manufactured at an economical price and made ready in a short span of time as per the use.
- Dentures: Dentures are the set of full to partial teeth that have to be replaced in the mouth. It can be due to many simple to complex reasons like tooth decay or broken teeth and is generally replaced by putting dentures over the gums. 3D printing allows printing an exact morphological model of dentures required by the patient that fits and is convenient. Moreover, the 3D printers are used to make the dentures through many different types of materials that are durable and biologically viable.
- Bridges/crowns: Printing crowns is one of the wide applications of 3D printing dental industry. It is a simple process and can be made by the dentists themselves, which is often initialised by taking a scan of the patient’s tooth set. The designs can be then modified and printed in a short time.
- Night guards: They are worn over the biting surface while sleeping to prevent the top and bottom surface of teeth from touching. They are expensive items and hence are not utilised by most people. But due to 3D printers, the cost of manufacturing has reduced drastically.
- Indirect bonding trays: It is used for applying brackets for braces to the teeth so that the entire set of braces can be applied. 3D printed indirect bonding trays allow a faster treatment plan as it replaces the entire set of braces at once.