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  • Writer's pictureNoe Chaparro

3D Printed Dentures

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Its probably accurate to say, that over the last ten years our society has gone through some monumental changes. Technology as it progresses has changed our lives for the better and worse. Think about it. In 2007, the late Steve Jobs released the first iPhone ever. I often wonder whether he even fully understood how significant that moment in history would be. Smart phones have changed our lives, from social media to simple communication. Its these technological advances that also fuel the technology available in dentistry.

Dentistry has also been impacted by advances in technology. On of the most recent and existing advances are in 3D printing. 3D printing is a process in which models are build layer by layer over time. The material used depends on the application you need it for. In dentistry the material used is usually a bio-compatible resin. This technology has given birth to an exciting and predictable way to manufacture dentures. Dentures, historically are a labor intensive prosthesis to fabricate. A lab technician has to spend hours setting teeth, and processing the denture. Its a fairly old and antiquated way to fabricate these, but its also been the most consistent way of doing it over the past 100 years. Enter 3D printing!

For 3D printing a few things are needed:

  1. A way to digitize models

  2. Computer-aided design (CAD) software

  3. A biocompatible resin

  4. A 3d printer

  5. Patience

At Cross Creek Dental, we can digitize models using the amazing Medit i500, an intra oral scanner. We can either scan directly in the mouth or scan impressions or stone models. While ideally it would be amazing to scan intra-orally in the mouth, sometimes thats just not possible especially for denture cases. In denture cases I prefer to take traditional impressions, and scan that. For cases like crowns, or aligners scanning in the mouth works really well. After we acquire and digitize the data, we then take that information into CAD software, where we design the prosthesis. In this example, a denture has been designed. Finally, we take the design and print it with biocompatible resin, that is then post processed and then delivered as a try-in or final prothesis.

Why is 3D printing so significant in dentistry?

Its significant because we can deliver a predictable prosthesis, that fits better and routinely in a shorter amount of time. Because these files are stored digitally, if you were to lose for example, a denture, we could print it and it would be exactly like the on you're replacing. Traditionally, all dentures are made by hand, therefore if you lost your denture you would have to return for several appointments and your denture would not be exactly like your old one. With 3D printing, you could always have a new one within days without any additional appointments.

Medit i500 is a phenomenal scanner that we use in order to digitize teeth and models.

While 3D printing is in its infancy, it is progressing at a very rapid pace! There are new applications being added every day, like printing actual houses! How crazy is that?!

If you're interested in learning what we can do at Cross Creek Dental to improve your smile using these technologies don't hesitate to call and make an appointment with us!

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