Computer technology increasingly shapes the way we live our lives. With the advent of 3D printing, it is also shaping medical devices and prosthetics, including tooth implants, crowns, and orthodontic appliances.
Today, 3d printers are mostly being used in dental labs, replacing dental milling systems for crowns, dentures, implants, and guides. A recent report from SmarTech Publishing, a leading provider of industry-analysis services, suggests that by 2027 3D printing technology will mostly be found in dental offices, enabling dentists and oral surgeons to perform many of these tasks internally. Combined with intraoral 3D scanners, 3D printers may provide faster, safer, more cost-effective treatment.
According to the report, “Patients are a primary driver of the digital dentistry revolution currently taking place, because ultimately most patients choose where to receive care.” The report goes on to say that patients do not like the current process of making physical dental impressions and the discomfort of poorly fitted devices and are looking for alternatives.
In addition to dental implants and devices, 3D printers can be used to create guides for more accurate drilling and implanting directly in the dental office. Previously drilling guides were costly and took several weeks to produce.
Improvements in software have reduced the learning curve, and in-office desktop systems that use certified dental printing resins are increasing available for under $5,000.
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