The Future of 3D Printing in Dentistry
Can the Use of 3D Printing Technology Help Improve Dentistry?
3D printers operate the same way as ink jet printers. However, 3D printers use materials to create three-dimensional objects out of digital images. Many industries are using this new technology to change the way we see, create and use things.
Here are some examples of the impact of 3D printed materials and technology in different industries.
- Automotive – Audi uses 3D printing technology to help produce the wheels on the Audi Lunar Quattro for moon exploration.
- Aviation – In recent news, Boeing will use 3D-printed titanium parts, which could save the company up to $3 million in the construction of each jet airliner.
- Medical – 3D technology has made a tremendous impact in the medical industry. Once a time-consuming process to make a traditional prosthetic leg or arm, can be replaced with a 3D printed version in a shorter amount of time at a fraction of the cost. At the University of Cincinnati, a group of Biomedical engineering students can build a custom, prosthetic hand at a cost of $20. The best part of it all is, “It takes about a week from the time the team finds a patient to having a completed product that’s ready to use.”
- Jewelry – Lavorato, available at Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, uses 3D technology to create its jewelry pieces. A bracelet may take up to 30 to 45 minutes to print but with advancement in this new technology, it will only take several minutes.
Can 3D printing in dentistry help reduce cost and increase patient engagement? Is it possible to use 3D printing dental model of teeth, night guards or braces to solve real life problems?
3D printers could be the future of digital dentistry. Imagine having the ability to print night guards for your patients during their dental visit. This new technology can create a custom night guard within 45 minutes. At the beginning of 2016, a college student was able to produce his own 3D printed, clear aligners for less than $60. While it may be difficult for an individual to replicate this process without experience and expertise in handling dental care, it provides hope in offering a more streamline and affordable solution for all patients directly through the dental care provider.
Have you heard of 3D printing teeth as the new dental technology? There are researches being done today to create a 3D printed tooth made of an antimicrobial plastic that will help stop tooth decay as a replacement tooth. We have seen amazing ways in which 3D printers are being used to create skin, tissue, bone and organs. As in the case of a young boy who received a 3D printed prosthetic ear to help hold his glasses up and also not be the center of attention from other children who may laugh at him for not having a left ear. Pretty amazing! Don’t you think?
Technology has helped and will continue to help us to increase efficiency of creating a product or improving a process while reducing the cost and labor in delivering the end product. Technology has changed our communication process, workplace, and the world. Due to advanced technology, it is possible to work with other team members from across the world virtually without leaving our desk. We see a huge communication shift in how information is being shared. Do you remember having to take pictures on films, developing it at a store, waiting a few days to get them, and sharing them by mail with family or friends from out of state? Now, we are able to instantly take pictures and videos on our phones and viola! — those images and videos are readily available for family and friends to view online. The ultimate business goal in implementing a new technology is focused around efficiency, the ability to deliver a product or service to the end user at a faster rate with more accuracy which will yield a greater return on investment.
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