Dental care has come a long way from using sticks and rags to take care of our teeth. With the help of technology, modern dental tools have made great leaps in oral health care. But what does the future of oral health care look like? A quick search on the internet shows that many people believe 3D printing will change the way dental patients are treated and the dentistry field altogether.
What is 3D printing?
3D Printing is a method of creating 3-dimensional objects by using a computer to create the design. This is typically done with a digital file that acts as a blueprint or directions for an object, a 3D printer, and the material that the finished item will be made of. Materials may include plastic, powders, resins, and metals. Layer by layer, the special printer uses the directions from the digital file to stack and fuse material to a custom object.
How can 3D printing change oral health care?
3D printing is changing oral health care in dental offices all over the world. Not only does the technology save time and money for both dentists and patients, but it also creates products that can be custom-printed based on specific needs.
Check out five ways 3D printing is changing oral health care:
- Low-Cost Customization: Since everyone’s mouth is different, dentistry requires high levels of customization. 3D printing has made dental customizations more accurate, less time-consuming, and more affordable.
- Clear Aligners: An alternative to traditional braces is clear aligners. Clear aligners are removable and much easier to produce. Clear aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic treatments today and they wouldn’t be possible without 3D printing.
- Digital Implantology: 3D printing has transformed the way complex surgical procedures, CBCT, virtual placement planning, and surgical guides are done. The technology is more precise and trending towards becoming the standard for dental implants.
- Digital Dentures: Creating dentures can be a tedious and time-consuming process. 3D printing makes the process more efficient and error-free. New digital dentures are reusable and easy to reproduce with 3D printing.
- Patient Experience: 3D printing has made the dental experience much more enjoyable for both dentists and patients. These upgrades make it more likely for patients to visit the dentist twice a year.
3D printing in the dentist’s office
With new technologies improving the dentistry field, some dental offices are moving toward investing in 3D printing machines in their office.
- Save money: Both dentists and patients will save money in the long term.
- 3D printers have a high initial cost; however, they offer many benefits including quick results, accurate implants, a wide range of functions, and less maintenance than other machines.
- Patient costs will be reduced because the dental office saves money from 3D printing.
- Timesaving: No one wants to spend more time than they need to at the dentist and 3D printers help reduce the time spent in the office. 3D printers provide digital impression technology that can get test results back within minutes instead of waiting days or even weeks.
- Accuracy: 3D printers give fast results that are much more accurate. There is room for human error and restoration failure when dealing with models of teeth and 3D printers eliminate these errors.
- Dental Implants and Usability: Dental implants may not always be a perfect fit due to human error. However, a 3D printer can print accurate surgical templates within minutes. 3D printers also perform other functions including composite restorations, veneer fabrication, dental models, and surgical guides.
- Cross Infection Control: In the world, we live in today, it is essential to avoid passing germs whenever possible. In the past, physical impressions would be passed hand to hand across the dental staff, increasing the chance of transmission. 3D printers have eliminated any chance for contamination because everything is done by machine.
- Esthetic Dentistry: Digital Smile Design (DSD) is a new tool that can digitally design a new smile for patients. This new product makes things so easy that as soon as the patient approves the digital smile, it can be printed immediately.
3D printing has revolutionized the dentistry field by creating new and advanced technologies that help save money for both the dental practice as well as the patient.
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