If you are somewhat a tech-savvy person, most likely you’d not be surprised to see that 3D printing services are making waves all over the world. With particularly promising breakthroughs both in the medical and dentistry disciplines, the possibilities for its future applications are nearly unlimited.
At the moment, industry insiders and those experts who are in the know are still considering 3-dimensional printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing technique, as relatively new technology.
If development and progress of use and applications for 3-dimensional printing continues at its current rate, traditional dental laboratories will be pushed into the phantom zone. They will become obsolete as industries like the medical and dental sectors are likely to make a shift to it. It will have the same fate as film cameras and typewriters.
Growing Application of 3D Printing in Dentistry
According to a study released in May 2015, the 3D printing business will be growing to a whopping 3.1 billion industry by the year 2022. Similar products and systems are being created in several other markets, but improved 3D printing machines and 3D applicable materials are now being developed specifically to meet the needs of the dental sphere.
SmarTech projections for 3D printing equipment in dental laboratories will be purchased by customers twice as frequently in the upcoming years, from the current figure of $240 million to $480 million by 2022. Industry experts say that more than 60% of dental output will be supplied by 3D printing services come the year 2025, and maybe more in some sectors, such as dental molds.
Capabilities of 3D Printing in Dental Industry
While dentists typically use 3D printing, how precisely do they use it? To further give you an idea how helpful this manufacturing technology is to dental professionals of today, here is an overview:
Repair or Fixed a Damaged Tooth
By taking advantage of a small digital wand, a dentist can scan the mouth of his patient to inspect his teeth for cavities, tartar formation, and other similar dental issues. This enables him to produce a 3-dimensional image of the teeth and gums and saves them to a computer file. The dentist initially will repair the tooth digitally. Once completed, the repaired tooth will be 3D printed using CAD or Computer-Aided Design software.
Come Up with an Orthodontic Model
Before the advent of 3D printers, patients were asked to bite down on a gooey, painful clay until it hardened into a cast. This will serve as the initial model for designing dental braces or Invisalign treatment.
When it comes to 3-dimensional printing, this is not the case. A dentist can employ the same technology as in the previous example to scan the teeth, develop an orthodontic device, and make the finished version in-house.
Create caps, bridges, dentures, crowns, and more.
The same procedure as described previously can be used to 3D print various kinds of dental implant placement. The only distinction is in the used printing material.
Create Surgical Instruments
3-dimensional printing machines are not only capable of handling dental implants, but they can effectively 3D print the drill guides needed in a number of dental operations.
For countless years, the dental sphere has relied on traditional laboratories to create dental bridges, crowns, and several other implants. Needless to say, they are used to it for countless numbers of years. Why would you want to transition to 3-dimensional printing now?
In a nutshell, this is beneficial for everyone concerned:
Dental patients can save money.
The exorbitant dental laboratory costs will reflect on the bill of the patient. And evidently, on the part of the patients, it is one of the most complained about issues of visiting a professional dentist, their fees.
A single dental crown can cost around $2,000, and this procedure would use standard technology. For dentists, reducing administrative expenses allows them to give savings to their patients.
Dentists save money.
Adding a dental laboratory to any dental practice comes at a significant extra cost. The cost of implementation alone could reach a whopping amount of $100,000. Moreover, producing dental implants will incur a large recurring expense.
Generally, running a typical dental laboratory costs around $100,000 per year. In acquiring a top-model 3D printing machine with an initial supply of raw materials (3D applicable), one might spend around $20,000 more.
Since 3D printers create physical items by printing 16-micron-thick layers, stacking them on top of the other, accuracy is also boosted. More precise findings and increased manufacturing capacity benefit both dentists and patients.