Dental labs face many challenges with traditional production processes. Manufacturing dental appliances like aligners, retainers, bridgework, dentures, surgical guides, and dental models require significant skill and labor to produce high-quality devices. The highly labor-intensive production methods to traditionally produce these devices drive high costs that must be passed onto the patient and lengthy manufacturing time that delays practitioners from implementing the treatment plan.
3D printing is not new technology and significant advancements of 3D printing machines, 3D printing dental software, and dental resins are enabling on-demand production of highly accurate dental appliances. With a better fit, shorter turnaround times, greater labor productivity, higher yield, and lower costs, there is a more positive experience for patients. Dental labs can implement simplified workflows to produce dental products on-demand with the right 3D printing solution.
3D Printing Workflow for Dental Labs
With digital 3D printing workflows, dental labs can produce multiple products and streamline the production workflow. That accelerated workflow is similar to the following:
Practitioners provide the lab with an intraoral scan of the patient’s mouth, notes on required features, and material specification
3D printing software converts the scan into a full 3D model with margin lines, support structures, and desired printing orientation
The product prints directly using a specialized dental resin material
After trimming supports and washing, the product is cured and ready to use
The lab then ships the finished product back to the practitioner or directly to the patient