Your Sneak Peek at 3D Printing for Dentistry

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

dental-model-in-3d-printer.jpgFor decades, clinicians have relied on dental materials in the care of their patients. These materials have been continuously refined by researchers, simplifying their application, improving their aesthetics, and expanding their longevity. Today, research and development concentrates on the processes used in dentistry, and digital solutions have become more pervasive in daily patient care. One such example of digital dentistry is three-dimensional (3D) printing.

Despite being invented in the 1980s, 3D printing has only recently been accepted as a technology applicable to dentistry, and it will certainly be interesting to see its growth as it becomes more frequently applied. As 3D printing and the digital workflow continue to influence patient diagnosis and treatment, dental students are on the cusp of having these technologies become mainstays of their education and future practices. Dr. Perry Jones’ recent webinar for THE NEXTDDS, “Digital Scanning in Invisalign Therapy & Implant Dentistry”, offers some insight on how this digital technology works.

What is 3D Printing?

As opposed to the subtraction process involved in milling blocks (zirconia, lithium disilicate, etc.), 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process. Using plastics and polymer, materials are cured by several different methods of laser technology, processed differently depending on printer. A 3D printer starts from the bottom up, building thin layers bit by bit as each preceding polymer layer is cured, dried, and solidified. At present, 3D printing can produce objects from liquids, solids, powders, and even human tissue!

Three-dimensional printing is accomplished through three primary methods:

  • Stereolithography (SLA);
  • Digital light process (DLP), and
  • Material jetting.

With an SLA printer, a laser is projected against a scanning mirror and directed downwards into a container of liquid resin to cure the material. A DLP printer works in much the same way, instead using a projector instead of a laser source to cure the polymer. Material jetting, or polyjet printing, starts with a tank filled with liquid resin. The liquid is carried by a sophisticated system of tubes to a series of print heads in an extruder, which jets the material onto a platform. Lasers pass by the curing light system to cure the material in successive layers.

The Potential for 3D Printing

In dentistry, 3D printing technology erases the need for stone gypsum. Instead, those materials are replaced with more reliable zirconium and polymer materials, which are stronger than stone, more accurate and durable, and lower in material and labor costs. Some of the patient-specific restorations that can be fabricated with 3D printing include full-arch and canine-to-canine retainers, surgical prosthetic guides, pontic and sleep appliances, removable partial dentures, minor tooth movement, occlusal guards and athletic mouthguards, bleaching trays, and provisional matrix appliances.

Personalized Healthcare

The consumerization of healthcare means that patients want greater convenience and comfort when it comes to their dental care. Digital dentistry and other rapidly evolving technologies allow treatment to be more efficient and consistent for both the practitioner and the patient. As the development of these technologies continue, practitioners will have a first-hand opportunity to witness a revolution in the way dentistry is practiced.

To learn more about 3D digital scanning, listen to the rest of Dr. Perry Jones’ webinar here.


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Tags: dentistry, 3d printing

THE NEXTDDS Spring 2016 Magazine: What to Expect

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, May 05, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

PerilsOfPrivatePractice.pngAs the summer weather finally settles in and many dental students prepare for graduation, there is certainly a lot of change in the air. Maybe you’ve just survived your first year of dental school and are due for a much-needed break, or maybe you’re a D4 who’s now looking for potential employment opportunities. Regardless of where you stand in your dental career, THE NEXTDDS is here to complement you along the way.

One of the many great features of THE NEXTDDS is the publication of our bi-annual magazine. In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing another issue of THE NEXTDDS | Magazine packed full of informational articles, interviews, and other important resources available right at your fingertips. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. THE NEXTDDS Feature Interview – This edition features Abby Halpern (’18) from the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. As a student leader at Georgia, we ask Abby some of her challenges in dental school, and how she’s preparing for her future.
  2. Humanitarian or Dentist? Dental Students Expand Patient Access to Care – For many, dentistry involves a mechanical and an emotional component. This article explores dental students’ outreach programs and other projects undertaken in an effort to provide care to patients in need.
  3. The Perils of Private Practice – Graduating dental students often set their sights on practice ownership. But how do you go about the process? There are many important considerations and THE NEXTDDS reviews here.
  4. Surgical and Restorative Aid of 3D Printed Models for Implant Placement – How can a presurgical 3D printed model be a valuable aid for implant planning and placement? Dr. Arshin Hotchandani and colleagues from NYUCD discuss in this case study.
  5. Best Practices for Managing Iatrogenic Root Perforations - Over 24 million endodontic procedures are performed in the U.S. each year. How does one manage the clinical challenge presented by iatrogenic root perforation in such procedures? Drs. Block, DiFiore, and Supan, describe principles for managing iatrogenic root perforations using the latest techniques and materials.


In the meantime, check out and be on the lookout for the next issue soon!

Tags: student feature, magazine, 3d printing, private practice

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