3D printing in dentistry
3D printers, capable of producing single crowns, bridges or full arches with tolerances of 50 micrometres, are already used in laboratories. As they evolve, manufacturers expect interest from multi-practice corporates intent on managing production costs.
How are they different?
3D printers promise greater accuracy and efficiency over the high-tech in-house crown system currently found across Australia. (These CAD/CAM machines known as CEREC, produce ‘while-you-wait’ crowns from a digital scan, milling the product from a single block of material.) It’s unlikely that smaller businesses will embrace 3D printing technology for some time, with the cost of these printers estimated to be in the 6-figure range and extra software costs.
Until then . . .
In the meantime, crowns and bridges will continue to offer the best solutions for certain problems. Traditionally, dentists produce a model of the client’s arch – upper, lower, or both – which are sent offsite. Today, overseas labs offer increasingly rapid turn-around including international delivery, and can nearly match local production times.
The local advantage
At CJ Carter Dental, however, we maintain a great relationship with local technicians and liaise with them for particular requirements; the dentists value knowing they can speak about particular solutions with the person who will be doing the work. The lab we use is dedicated to quality materials and processes which means that, should problems present with the final product, fit or colour etc, adjustments are made free of charge and within a day or two. The last thing anyone wants in this scenario is further delay and costs associated with international delivery.