3D Printing Orthodontic Lab & Practice - Dental 3D Printing:
Additive manufacturing has reached a significant number of sectors and industries, subsequently offering important advantages in terms of productivity, costs, customization and lead times. In the field of dentistry the technology creates solutions adapted to the needs of each patient. It is also a flourishing industry, not too long ago the consulting firm QY Research announced that dental 3D printing was expected to reach $930 million by the end of 2025. In other words, the market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 17%, which can be explained by the constant development of 3D technologies and their materials. Indeed, dental 3D printing includes different processes such as stereolithography or direct metal sintering and therefore a variety of materials: resins, plastics, metals, etc. The application of 3D printing in dental is wide, it is possible to make surgical guides, crowns, trays and dentures and each solution is adapted to each patient with high precision.
Finally, we also find metal additive manufacturing as a process in dentistry. Mainly used to produce implants, stellites, or nickel-chromium screeds. Oliver Bellaton comments, “This technology requires sustained production to absorb investments of up to several hundred thousand euros with skills coming from the industrial world rather than the dental sector.” Metal printers are much more expensive than other technologies and will sometimes require more post-processing work reducing productivity for some. After talking with a dental technician, he explained that a crown made by machining requires 15 minutes of work, however a 3D printed metal one requires 5 hours of printing. On the other hand, in terms of cost per unit, additive manufacturing is much more interesting, 75 cents for the latter against more than 7 euros.
Dental 3D Printing Technologies and their Materials
When we talk about dental additive manufacturing, it is important to understand that several technologies are involved, whether it is fused deposition modeling, photopolymerisation or laser sintering, the choice will depend on the type of application at stake. For example, the FDM process will manufacture pieces “at a cost of a couple of pennies and no post-processing after printing. However, speed, accuracy and biocompatibility are not present.” Generally, the latter technology will be used to create orthodontic dental models for thermoform gutters, whether for alignment, bleaching or restraint. On the other hand, 3D printed dental solutions using PEEK are emerging. The 3D printer manufacturer, IEMAI3D said, “There are many advantages to making partial prostheses with PEEK. It is a strong and lightweight material that will improve patient comfort. The frame of the prosthesis is produced without metal and is completely neutral in terms of taste.”
Another additive manufacturing process used in the dental sector and probably the main one is photopolymerisation. Whether we are talking about stereolithography (SLA) or DLP, this process offers a much higher resolution, and most importantly biocompatible materials. In this case, liquid resins. Anton Lopez, Channel Sales Manager France at EnvisionTEC told us, “Combined with CE/FDA approved materials, photopolymerisation and especially DLP, gives more accurate printing which allows more accurate devices to be created. The finishing is much less complex, which reduces manufacturing time. Also, it is very easy to change materials and print for different applications. This is very beneficial for the dental industry because professionals can treat their patients more quickly”. In terms of applications, this technology offers more possibilities due to its precision; we are talking about surgical guides, temporary crowns and bridges, calcinable elements such as dental stellites, etc.
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Last Update : 27 January 2023 8:23 PM
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