As we have described in many articles on our blog, additive production or 3D printing has brought numerous benefits in many areas. Another industry where there are amazing benefits of 3D printing is stomatology.
3D printing technologies bring effective solutions in a field where the unique human body needs personalized treatments.
As a result, the dental industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation, with digital workflows involving increased efficiency, consistently high quality and lower costs for dental laboratories and practices.
Here are some ways in which digital workflows are revolutionizing the dental industry.
Mass customization at low cost
There is no secret that stomatology has always involved high levels of personalization and costs. This is because mostly manual methods were used to create customized devices. Today, however, digital workflows allow mass customization in a consistent, automated way, with less work and at lower costs.
It is clear that each of us has a unique tooth, and here we refer to the way teeth are positioned and developped. Therefore, dental indications should be made to match the anatomy of each patient. When using classic manual workflows, the quality of the finished products depended largely on the skills of each individual technician.
Using digital workflows, each dental product is accurately detailed according to the specifications required by the patient’s anatomy. 3D printers are amazing because no other tool can currently produce such a wide variety of dental products with a consistent quality.
Using dedicated materials, laboratories and offices can print 3D orthodontic models, crown and bridge models, all with extremely good accuracy. Other products that can be made by 3D printing in stomatology are prostheses, calcinable or pressable restorations, etc.
It is clear that digital technologies simplify workflows, reduce errors and work time. 3D printing helps save time and reduce costs for laboratories and cabinets.
The traditional manufacture of prostheses is an analog workflow that requires time and a lot of work. It involves several visits to the dentist and several production stages. Dental laboratories try to find technicians with advanced skills and expertise needed to produce prostheses. Prostheses are one of the latest innovations in stomatology. They offer an efficient and cost-effective, simplified production solution.
Digital prostheses are cost effective and provide a consistent workflow for a quality final product. The production of dental prostheses with the help of 3D printing involves fewer steps, a more consistent workflow and a quality final product. In addition, digital prosthesis models are reusable, modifiable and easy to reproduce by 3D printing.
Orthodontics as a dental specialty has come a long way, starting with classic wire braces. Transparent and detachable models today offer a much more attractive alternative. Transparent braces could not exist without digital technologies. Their manufacturing process involves a brilliant combination of multiple digital workflows.
An orthodontist or dentist first prints a patient’s dentition with a 3D intraoral scanner or simply takes a traditional fingerprint that the lab can then scan.
The digital model provides a basis for planning the progressive stages between the current and the desired position of the teeth. Each stage is then 3D printed, and the braces are thermoformed for these 3D printed molds. In the beginning, large, complex, high-performance and very expensive 3D printers were used for these operations.
Now, however, smaller-format desktop 3D printers are capable of creating molds for thermoformed devices, and that means a prestigious lab or office can invest in such equipment. Thus, production can be expanded without substantial overheads.
Digital technologies are helpful in complex surgical procedures. The accuracy of the implant placement during surgery is almost guaranteed. The risk of surgical complications decreases and the overall results are improved. With the help of 3D printing technology, specialists can use CAD software to plan treatments with impeccable precision.
A better patient experience
In the end, patients are the ones who have the most advantages from the advances in digital stomatology.
Starting with a visit to the dentist or orthodontist, the possibility to visualize a dental procedure can be much more reassuring for the patient.
Virtual treatment planning, highly detailed dental models will help patients more easily understand the treatment steps. Thus, anxiety will be reduced and the patient will be much more relaxed.