What’s the biggest news about the future of 3D printing in dental offices? The fact that it’s estimated to be a $6.5 billion market by 2025 is fairly big. Many industries have benefited from 3D printing technology, but few as much as dentistry.
The reasons for that are extensive. First, almost every dental appliance must be tailor-made to fit a patient’s mouth and teeth. The materials used are also very costly. Traditional manufacturing methods meant customizations were painstaking. And there was more loss of materials in their manufacture. The result was high labour costs and higher materials costs. And that doesn’t include the higher risks of issues due to the lengthy time interval between measuring a patient’s mouth and fitting the patient with the appliance.
Today, it’s easily possible for a patient to be measured for an appliance this morning and be set in place this afternoon.
But what about tomorrow? Can 3D printing continue to revolutionize the dental industry at the same pace as it has over the last decade?
3 Dental Innovations to Look For From 3D Printing
It would be tough to match the same pace of innovations that 3D printing (additive manufacturing) has already achieved. But the following are sure to help.
Advances in Materials
In addition to matching and surpassing the strength and durability of materials traditionally used in dental products, like porcelain, newer nano-ceramic resins will be better able to match the colour and translucence of natural teeth, while being many times stronger and more moisture resistant.
Advances and greater variety in available materials will mean a broader range of applications and products. Implantable teeth produced with additive manufacturing will be easier to manufacture, while also improving on the long-term biocompatibility of appliances.
The Main Manufacturing Process for Dental Appliances
If it isn’t already, additive manufacturing will be the manufacturing process of choice for dentists, dental clinicians and dental service providers. As uses and applications increase, costs and availability, both chairside and as a service, will decrease and be more common.
To learn more about 3D prining in dentistry, check out our recent article What You Need to Know About Digital Dentures.