Dental 3D Printers | How Effective Are They in Dentistry?

What Are Dental 3D Printers?

Dental science, like all other cases, is progressing and digital technology has created a new nature for it. It has been about a decade since the 3D printer entered dentistry and has brought about a huge transformation in the field of dental treatment. Upon this arrival, the process of tooth restoration and reconstruction has become very fast. The 3D printer is very accurate and is widely used in digital dentistry. All modern dental clinics and dental laboratories are equipped with this device. Dental 3D printing is done both in the dental clinic and in the laboratories. In this article, we are going to discuss dental 3D printers.

What Is Digital Dentistry?

Digital Dentistry is actually more than 3D printing of teeth. It begins with a digital scan of the patient’s mouth by a handheld intraoral 3D scanner or an external scanner. The digital images are then uploaded into the CAD software to design the crown, implant abutments, and dentures. In the next step, the files are uploaded to the slicer software. The slicer software matches the printer’s unique features and optimizes the 3D printing process. After going through these steps, everything is ready for a quality print.

How A 3D Printer Works

The 3D printer is a fully automatic device and uses layers of melted plastic or powder. These layers are placed together using ultraviolet or light glue. Then the 3D design is converted to 2D layers. This type of technology is much more efficient than dental molds and does not have the negative effects that industrial molds cause on the mouth.

To make tooth molds, digital scans are used in 3D printing, so that compared to the old molding methods that were done using Allegiant molding materials, you will no longer feel the difficulty of traditional molding and, instead, will have an accurate mold.

Advantages of Dental 3D Printers

The time it takes to make a mold with a 3D printer is much less compared to the traditional molding method. This time saving is because, with this method, both upper and lower jaw removals are possible at the same time. This is while in the traditional molding method, several moldings are done for each jaw. Also, 3D in dentistry reduces the patient’s costs for corrections and also eliminates other disadvantages that exist in traditional methods.

Applications of 3D Printer In Digital Dentistry

The superiority of digital dentistry over traditional methods can be understood through the use of 3D printers. There are many different methods that dentists can use for 3D printers. Depending on the application, different resins are used in dental 3D printers, and many specialty resins have been developed just for dental 3D printers. In the following, we mention the most important applications of 3D printing in dentistry.

Aligner and Night Guard

The most common application of 3D printing in dentistry is the 3D printing of aligners and night guards. Aligner acts as an alternative to braces (orthodontics) and is quite popular among the people due to its relatively easy construction and not being obvious in the mouth due to its high transparency.

The aligner manufacturing process begins with scanning the patient’s teeth to produce a 3D model. Next, the output file must be edited in the modeling software. It is interesting to know that modeling for night guards requires minimal settings, as the goal is to place the teeth in the way they are.

Dental Crowns

If a tooth breaks, dentists replace it with a new crown. But since the conventional process to do this is time-consuming and expensive, 3D printing technology has proved to be quite useful. 3D printing has made the dental crown production process very easy as well. The dentist first scans the broken tooth.

Next, they use special software to create a 3D model. After that, the technician either uses 3D printing technology or CNC technology to carve the crown model. In this case, the time to perform this process is reduced from several weeks to less than an hour, and its cost is much more economical for both the dentist and the patient. The construction of dental crowns and bridges is a major part of dental 3D printing.

Surgical Guides

Like most medical procedures, oral surgery also requires high precision. For this reason, a 3D-printed guide that fits perfectly in the patient’s mouth is considered a vital tool for the dentist. Similar to the aligner construction process, a model is created based on a scan of the mouth, the opening of which is placed exactly where the surgery is to be performed. These guides are created with resins similar to the aligner and night guard resins by any dental 3D printer.

3D Dental Models

That correct construction of 3D models in the first place is an important point in dentistry, and 3D printers give us this confidence. Before printing the dental models, the scanning process is done from the patient’s mouth. Because these models don’t fit into anyone’s mouth, they don’t require any advanced technology or resin – simple and useful!

3D Artificial Teeth

Another application of 3D dental printing is the production of 3D artificial teeth, which significantly saves both time and money. In cases where it usually takes a few days or a few weeks to create an artificial tooth using conventional methods, 3D printing does it in the blink of an eye.

The work steps include scanning, designing, printing, washing, and post-processing. The final product is polished after processing to have an excellent and beautiful appearance. In the construction of artificial teeth, the base and the teeth are 3D printed separately. Then by removing the support from the base and gluing the printed teeth together, the base and the tooth are connected.

Dental 3D Printers: A Groundbreaking Revolution

The use of 3D printers in digital dentistry is not only more accurate and effective in constructing dental models and oral surgeries, but also, compared to traditional methods, it saves the time of the dentist and the patient. It also significantly reduces patient costs for any possible subsequent corrections. It is estimated that soon, 3D printing will be used in dental tissue structures and bioprinting.