There are main areas of application of 3D printers in dentistry: orthodontics, surgery, prosthetics.
Ready solutions for orthodontics
As you know, orthodontics is the bite correction by any means. Previously, these were records, then braces appeared, and now transparent aligners have appeared.
What is interesting with the aligners?
The first advantage – does not spoil the enamel. The element of the bracket system is not glued to the tooth, and after a course of treatment it is not dismantled. There is no load on the enamel, it is simply missing.
Secondly, and the most important thing is the correct movement of the teeth. Because the teeth move inside the jaw, and a new bone tissue is formed around them. When braces are put on the patient – they put gum, constantly tighten, and there is always a movement of the jaws relative to each other, a change of the bite is possible, and what is most terrible – constant clicks and discomfort from pain in the cervical spine up to headaches are possible because once the patient wore braces.
Transparent aligners are a technology that allows you to move your teeth in all directions. For example and forward, and back, and up, and down – it all depends on what clinical case.
The next important factor and plus of this technology is that, by using transparent aligners, the doctor, having given the kit to the patient, can forget about it. After a month or three, the patient will come, make a check. If everything is in order, the treatment continues. There is no need to tighten or regularly visit the dentist.
And finally, an important factor – transparent aligners do not interfere with personal life. They are not visible, food does not get stuck, etc., i.e. you are able to do whatever you want. From the meter, transparent aligners are practically unmentioned, unlike braces.
There are two world-famous service centers that provide services for dentists to make caps for transparent aligners.
How were the aligners made before?
Filmed plaster model of the initial position of the teeth. It was cut and with the help of wax they created several blanks that mimic the step-by-step movement of the patient’s teeth.
Further, these cut plaster models (the process is absolutely identical to casting in silicone) will be replicated. And according to them, polyurethane models were made for these forms for the final vacuum molding.
Production time about 10 days. A lot of manual labor: cut the plaster model, manually move it. There is no virtual modeling, nothing is there, it all happens manually, about 10 days are spent on one clinical case in the laboratory. Manual labor – many mistakes creep in.
How do they do it today?
The first and the most important step is the scanning of the cast. It can be either a plaster cast, or a cast made through two component silicone.
After the blind scan has been received, the file is “driven” into the software, in which the virtual modeling of the movement of the dentition “from” and “to” occurs, i.e. from the original crooked position of the teeth to a perfect smile.
Then the simulated treatment course is sent to the printer, printed. Vacuum molding of caps on printed modified models is done, and a cap is given to the client through a doctor.
Why it is worth using 3D printing for the manufacture of aligners?
First, high profitability.
Secondly, treatment can begin as early as the day after the scans are removed. This means that you do not need to wait until the parcel arrives, until the 30th set of caps is printed and while it is pressed out. You can print one first start cap, give it to the patient, and he will be happy tomorrow for a course of treatment.
And another important factor. In the course of treatment, something can always go wrong, and in the case of working with service centers. We will have to send them a corrective scan, and they will start the treatment again from that moment on. Yes, for a doctor it is free, but it is a waste of time: for 2 weeks, at least, the patient’s treatment process is inhibited. It can have a negative effect on the entire course of treatment with transparent aligners.
Software for the manufacture of aligners
“3Shape” – excellent and the most advanced CAD/CAM system today.
“Maestro 3d Ortho Studio” – an italian software. The price corresponds to the quality, you get the software completely open. You will always receive the stl file at the output, one license is purchased for life. If there are any new modules, you can purchase them separately. But the new modules do not affect the old functions. There is just some new functionality that you can buy if you wish.