3D printing in dentistry: where it is used, how it works, advantages over traditional methods for the patient

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A modern 3D printer can print just about anything: houses, cars, prostheses, and more. Not surprisingly, this unique technology has made its way into the field of dentistry, where it has revolutionized orthopedic treatment.

The first attempts to introduce 3D printing in dentistry were made in the 90s by Align Technology. Using a 3D printer, the company produced mouthguards for straightening teeth, which gave a powerful impetus to the development of this technology in the field of dentistry. Thanks to modern equipment and its capabilities, a fundamentally new method of manufacturing artificial orthopedic systems has appeared: prostheses, crowns, implants, etc.

However, the development of this technology was not so fast: it took about 20 years to achieve high print quality and optimize work according to current treatment protocols. In 2012, the first implant was printed by Layer Wise. In the same year, the first successful implantation of a mandible made of titanium, completely printed on a 3D printer, was performed on a patient. After that, the technology began to develop rapidly and improve in quality from year to year.

Features of the use of 3D printing technology in a dental laboratory

In the traditional dental method of prosthetics, plaster casts are used. The formation and manufacture of such an impression is carried out in several stages, and also requires many related adjustments and adjustments.

With the help of a dental 3D scanner, it is possible to create the most accurate and detailed model of the patient’s dentoalveolar system. The equipment simulates the entire oral cavity without any discomfort for the person. After obtaining a full-fledged three-dimensional model, it can be divided into separate elements of the required size in a special editor.

Ultimately, a dental 3D printer prints a finished model of a prosthesis made of polymers or metal. The finished product fully corresponds to the individual parameters of the patient, does not require additional adjustment and fitting, which significantly speeds up the treatment process.

Benefits of using 3D printing technologies in dentistry

A modern dental 3D printer is capable of producing high-quality and durable models of crowns, veneers, bridges and other orthopedic structures. This significantly speeds up and facilitates the work of the dental laboratory: thanks to the wide range of materials, any task can be solved in the shortest possible time. In just one session, a 3D printer is able to print a fairly large number of necessary products. All three-dimensional models are stored in files, which allows you to re-produce a similar design in the future.

The patient no longer has to wait 2-3 days for a plaster model to be made. With the help of modern technology, everything happens faster: using an intraoral scanner, the doctor can create a three-dimensional model of the oral cavity in just a few minutes and send it to the laboratory where it will be printed. Maximum precision and speed make treatment more efficient, comfortable, fast and economical.

What can be printed on a dental 3D printer?

Among the most popular areas that have a demand for the use of 3D printing technology, the following designs can be distinguished that can be printed:

  • individual mouthguards for teeth alignment, guides for maxillofacial surgery; surgical templates for implantation;
  • clasp prostheses, crowns, bridges;
  • collapsible and demonstration models of jaws, sectoral reproduction of jaws in occlusion, etc.

In addition, there is such a promising direction, which is now actively developing, as the printing of temporary and permanent orthopedic structures, as well as bases for removable dentures.