Trying to recruit the best 3D printing experts in the dental industry for your practice? At Alexander Daniels Global, we’re here to help. This detailed article highlights how additive manufacturing works in conjunction with dentistry, including how it benefits the dental industry, whilst focusing on how to best recruit 3D printing candidates for your dental team.
3D Printing Dental Applications
Similar to how additive manufacturing is used in the medical industry, 3D printing technology supports a number of procedures and processes, revolutionizing dentistry as an industry.
For most cases, dentists are able to scan the patient’s mouth with a small digital wand, which creates a 3D image of the teeth and gums. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software then allows the dentist to digitally design the dental requirement (e.g., tooth repair, retainer mold post-braces) and print the product using a 3D printer.
The most common uses for 3D printing in dentistry include:
- Surgical tools – 3D printing allows for certain instruments to be specifically designed to complete certain dental procedures, such as drill guides.
- Dental implants – implants such as crowns, caps, dentures and bridges can be created using additive manufacturing technology.
- Orthodontic models (e.g., retainers) – if you’ve ever had retainers, you’ll surely be met with the memory of biting down into gooey, uncomfortable putty (also known as dental alginate) to create a perfect mold of your teeth. With 3D printing, this procedure is no more – orthodontists can now create 3D printing dental retainers based on images captured of the patient’s teeth and gums.
- Repair damaged teeth – 3D printing can also help with the repair and replacement of damaged teeth, using 3D printed molds of the patient’s teeth and gums.
The first use of additive manufacturing in the dental industry can be traced back to the late 1990s, where dental implants were produced. In more recent years, advances have been made in the technology, allowing other procedures and processes to benefit, such as intra-oral scanning and cone-beam computed tomography systems (CBCT).
Benefits of using 3D printing in the dental industry
There are numerous benefits associated with additive manufacturing in the dental industry that benefit both patients and dentist alike:
- Saves money for dentists – the cost of producing manual dental implants alone, plus the costs of employing skilled staff to create the implants, can seriously impact the overheads of a dental business or laboratory. However, investing in a 3D printer, which is a one-time cost, uses less resources, and acts as a much more cost-effective way of running a dental laboratory.
- Saves money for patients – when 3D printers are used to create dental implants, overhead costs are significantly reduced – meaning that dentists can reflect these savings on to their patients, too.
- Improved accuracy – with the precision of additive manufacturing technology, converting digital images into physical objects, dentists are able to create more accurate molds and implants to address patient needs both faster and more efficiently.