The revolutionary impact of metal 3D printing in the dental industry
Additive manufacturing has truly transformed the dental industry in recent years. It has not only improved the scope of dental operations but also improved their volume. And apart from generic 3D printing in the dental industry, metal 3D printing caused yet another wave of changes.
Today, dental 3D printing is no longer limited to just prototyping. Before, the one-fits-all solution was the only possible approach in the dental care domain, but with the emergence of metal 3D printing, patients can get custom solutions that are much more comfortable and feasible.
Impacts on the dental industry
Accuracy, quality, and precision are amongst the most significant changes brought to the dental industry when implementing metal additive manufacturing. Before that, manufacturers had to create pieces like retainers, braces, and crowns with health-grade plastics and ceramics, but with the advancement of metal filaments, now they can deliver custom-sized implants made of metal.
Such implants have a higher resistance rate, are easier on daily-care, and more cohesive when compared to their traditional counterparts. With metal printing, dentists can even 3D print high-quality partial bridges, dentures, and even custom-fil crowns using specialized filaments.
This technology makes it possible to manufacture custom parts of high quality with ease on a scale, which makes it great for cost optimization. Manufacturers can also perfectly match the prosthetics and implants to the patients' morphology, which is hard to achieve with the traditional approach.
3D printing with mental or with custom filaments can help the industry when it comes to time-saving. For example, when it comes to redoing the designs that don't fit well, dentists can easily make changes to the project using the 3D modeling software instead of creating a new piece from scratch.
And on that note, let us have a look at the most prominent applications of additive manufacturing in the dental industry.
3D printing of dental retainers
Dental retainers being 3D printed from metal is the most significant advancement in the dental industry. Conventional vacuum-based retainers come with certain levels of deviation from the intended models, while the printed ones do not. Because of that, 3D printed dental retainers play a huge role in overcoming this quality gap.
The orthodontic retainers made from a combination of plastics and metals are designed to fit perfectly, and they have a longer life-span as well. And when manufacturers take advantage of the 3D modeling software to design custom retainers, they can significantly reduce the turnaround. In short, 3D printers can produce less expensive, highly durable, and, most importantly, customized retainers.
3D printed dental braces
Another significant advancement is in the field of dental bracers. Even though, at the moment, manufacturing follows the universal design patterns, using metal 3D printing along with other filaments has shown massive potential for substantial growth and efficiency.
When dental braces are mass-produced, it leads to reduced production costs to a significant extent. The advancements of metal 3D printing in producing dental braces are still in progress, but it has already shown immense potential. In the future, with ample availability of metal 3D printing and advanced technology, dentists will be able to produce more efficient and customized braces.
Efficient dental implants
There are many dental 3D printing materials available to the manufacturers. It helps anyone in producing top-notch and efficient quality dental implants. One great advantage of the 3D printed metal implants is the ability to customize the designed parts.
Most surgical scenarios arising from traditional implants are usually hard to use because of their unchangeable and rigid designs. To overcome this, the dentist can print a bespoke part that offers the highest level of accuracy when it comes to fitting, which is especially helpful in broken dental crowns. With the 3D modeling software, medics or dentists can easily X-ray the patient and design parts that will fit perfectly.
Additionally, with metal printers, companies, medics, and engineers can produce implants that are free of error. Such an improvement will help patients to get back to their regular activity much faster than before. In the traditional processes, patients have to visit post-surgical maintenance several times, but this is not the case with 3D printing.
Dental 3D printing software
Both dentists and manufacturers usually have access to the specialized dental 3D printing software that makes the entire process much faster and easier. The 3D printed parts themselves are rather easy to design, even when patients require a bespoke fit, unlike in the traditional process.
The feedback loop in such software is relatively short, and engineers and other designers can fix errors by making minor adjustments in the existing file. The entire digital workflow makes the designing, scanning, and 3D printing process accurate and quick.
Once the design process is done using CAD software, it's then sent for manufacturing. The good thing is that the work of post-production is minimal. The entire product is ready for delivery within days, or sometimes even hours.
The manufacturers can also pick plastic filament or suitable metals depending on the complexity and begin the production process. There are many hubs that provide professional additive manufacturing services in Melbourne, Brisbane, and other cities to boost this industry.
What is the future of metal additive manufacturing in the dental industry?
Despite all these advancements, we are still looking forward to this technology reaching its full potential in all those areas. As of now, it's still developing rather rapidly.
Additive manufacturing is significantly cost-effective when compared to the traditional techniques, and we are looking forward that it will even be much affordable in the near future.
Like other advancements in the medical field, the dental industry is growing rapidly in order to provide better treatment to patients. With the availability of metal 3D printing, the future of this technology looks much promising and substantial.
As metal additive manufacturing continues to evolve in size, more opportunities are opening up in the dental treatment centers, especially the in-house machines. And this is not only speeding up the entire treatment cycle, but it’s also saving patients from the high charges of implants.
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