Dental Laser Milled Co-Cr Metal Crowns/Bridge,3D Printing
Why Metal 3D Printing Works for Dentistry
Metal 3D Printing is a good fit for Dentistry because:
- Each patient is different and each solution must be customised for
that specific patient, allowing for best fit and comfort.
- Dental items are small and complex, aligning closely with the small
build envelope of 3D Printing machines.
- Dental items are value dense, meaning that despite their small size
they command high value. (This helps offset the large expense of
metal 3D printers)
- Perhaps most importantly though, metal 3D Printing works in
dentistry because it can vastly reduce the length and complexity of
the manufacturing process.
Traditionally, metal frameworks for crowns are manufactured using
‘lost-wax casting’. Lost-wax casting is an ancient technique which
involves a number of processes and highly skilled manual labour.By
moving to a more digital process and using 3D Printing it is now
possible to shift from a production timescale of two to three weeks
down to two to three days.But what of the accuracy or quality of
the work? By decreasing the production timescale do we decrease the
quality? Well, a recent study published in The Journal of Advanced
Prosthodontics found that “Dimensional accuracy, surface roughness
and repeatability of metal 3D printing processes are within the
required clinical guidelines of these prosthetics.”Perhaps the most
important reason for adopting the new 3D printing technology and
methodologies however is that they are simply cheaper.
Future of Dental Metal 3D Printing
Metal 3D printing offers an exciting value proposition for dentists
and patients a like; short production times, low costs, and high
quality. We therefore expect to see metal 3D printing disrupt
traditional metal dental implant manufacturing. However, one factor
which may limit this future growth is the rising demand for ceramic
dental implants. Ceramic implants, using materials such as
Zirconia, are in some ways more aesthetically pleasing. Often they
are not as strong as the metal alternative, but the aesthetic
benefits are seen by some dentists as more important than the
functional considerations. Currently ceramic dental prosthetics can
only be made using CNC processes… 3D Printing of ceramic implants…
now that would be interesting!