Additive manufacturing has been transforming the dental industry for years now, and the advanced applications have proved its mettle in several use cases. 3d printing has not only improved the scope of dental operations but also thrived the volume. Apart from generic 3d printing in the dental industry, metal 3d printing is creating a whole new paradigm shift.
Today, dental 3d printing is not only limited to prototyping purposes, but the industry is leveraging this technology in a full-fledged manner. Earlier, one fits all solution was the only conventional approach in the dental care domain. However, with metal additive manufacturing, patients are now getting custom solutions which are more feasible and comfortable.
Impact of metal 3d printing in the dental industry
Accuracy, quality and precision are the three critical significant impacts that the dental industry is embracing metal additive manufacturing. Earlier, manufacturers used to prepare dental pieces like braces, retainers, and crowns with ceramics and health-grade plastics. But, with the advancement of metal filaments, the industry is now capable of delivering custom-sized metal implants.
These metal implants are of high resistance, cohesive and easy on daily-care as compared to the conventional replacements. With metal printers, dentists can print high-quality partial dentures, bridges and custom-fit crowns with dental-specialized filaments.
This modern technology is making the custom parts manufacturing process possible on a scale which is helping in cost optimization. Manufacturers can now match the implants and prosthetics perfectly with the patient’s morphology, earlier, which was a challenge in the traditional approach.
Metal and another custom filament-based 3d printing are helping the industry to grow at scale in a time-saving manner. The most significant positive impact is in the re-do of designs of implants. For a perspective — when dental parts don’t fit perfectly, dentists can make quick changes in the CAD file rather than performing the entire process again. On this note, let’s have a look at prominent applications of additive manufacturing technology:
3d printing of dental retainers
Dental retainers made from metal and other filaments are the most significant advancements for the dental industry. The conventional vacuum-based retainers bring in the least level of deviation from the initially proposed model. 3d-printed dental retainers are playing an instrumental role to overcome the quality gap.
The orthodontic retainers made up from the combination of metal, and plastic filaments offer a longer life-span and fit perfectly. As the manufacturers can leverage the CAD software to build custom retainers, the overall turnaround time is reduced significantly. The printers are capable of producing exact size, less expensive and highly durable retainers.
Efficient dental implants
A wide range of dental 3d printing materials is available to the manufacturers that help in producing efficient and top-notch quality dental implants. One significant advantage of metal printed dental implants is custom design parts.
Many surgical scenarios arise where traditional implants are hard to use due to their rigid and unchangeable design. To overcome this, the dentist can print a bespoke part that offers the highest level of accuracy when it comes to fitting. This approach is quite helpful in case of partially broken dental parts and crowns. With 3D CAD, engineers can easily map the patient’s x-ray and the custom CAD file to ensure it fits naturally.
With metal printers, companies can produce implants in an error-free manner which help the patient to get back to their regular activity faster. In the traditional process, the patient has to visit multiple times for post-surgical maintenance, but this is not the case with additive manufacturing.
Dental 3d printing software
Manufacturers and dentists have access to dedicated dental 3d printing software which makes the entire process much easier and faster. Unlike the traditional process, 3d printed implants are easy on designing even if the patient needs a bespoke fit.
The feedback loop with such software is relatively short, and engineers can fix any possible errors by making minor changes in the existing file. The complete digital workflow makes the scanning, designing and 3d printing process quick and accurate.
Once the designing is done using the 3d printing software, it’s sent for manufacturing. The best part is that the post-production work is very minimal and the product gets ready to deliver within a few hours or days.
Depending on the complexity, manufacturers can pick suitable metal or plastic filament and begin the production process. Many hubs provide professional 3d printing services in Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities to boost this industry.
Future of metal 3d printing in the dental industry
With all these modern advancements, we are still scratching the surface, and this technology has massive potential for the dental domain. Be it replacing the braces, crowns, or performing custom implant scanning, additive manufacturing is here to stay.
As of now, the metal 3d printing is growing with a rapid speed & there are a lot of things to explore and make this technology the next big thing. 3d printing technology is significantly cost-effective than traditional techniques, and it will become more affordable in the future.
Many companies are already working closely with this industry and are providing bespoke metal 3d printing in Melbourne and other cities to fulfil the demands. Like other medical advancements, the dental industry is catching a rapid pace to provide better treatment to the patients. With the availability of various metal 3d printing filaments, the future scope of this technology is substantial.
As the metal 3d printers are also evolving in technology and their sizes, it’s bringing more opportunities for the dental treatment centres to have their in-house machine. It will not only speed up the complete treatment cycle but also save patients from hefty implant charges.