3D Printing in Dentistry
View the segment on WJXT here.
The use of 3D printing has revolutionized everything from crafting to construction - but it also has a rapidly growing role in medicine, specifically dentistry. In fact, the global dental 3D printing market is projected to reach $6.5 billion by 2025 from $1.8 billion in 2020.
And while 3D printing in dentistry may seem unusual, dentists have found that it minimizes infections, increases accuracy, and speeds up dental procedures dramatically. Dr. Cary Berdy of Berdy Dental Group joined the WJXT team to talk about the rise in 3D printing in dentistry and how patients can reap the benefits of this growing technology.
Breakdown of 3D Printing
In the field of dentistry, 3D printing has been around for a while, but it really began to take off in recent years and has redefined the industry in many ways.
This technology, also known as additive manufacturing, begins with a digital 3D model and high-quality resin – the main ingredient in the final product. In some respects, the material is similar to hot glue in that it starts as a solid, but as it’s heated, it forms into a liquid that eventually will harden and form into the desired shape.
In total, the 3D printer at Berdy Dental takes about an hour to complete one project. Each item is printed one layer at a time, and the process is incredibly precise. As it builds up piece by piece, you can see it begin to take shape and fulfill the designed form.
While 3D printing has many uses in dentistry, one area that has seen a significant improvement in the process is dental restorations. The technology makes these restorations more natural-looking and durable than ever before.
How Berdy Dental Utilizes this Technology
We have utilized 3D printing for more than four years here at Berdy Dental Group and have found it to be most helpful with crowns and dental implants. When a patient has a damaged or missing tooth that needs replacing, this technology allows us to generate a perfect guide so there is no guessing when it comes down to the procedure itself.
For background, a dental implant is comprised of two parts – essentially, a fancy screw that serves as a root and a molded crown that replaces the tooth itself. Prior to the 3D printing technology, the location and angle of where the screw was placed – which is the most important step – was not an exact science.
Now, using advanced X-rays and molds of the patient’s teeth as a guide, our 3D printer can create a temporary retainer that sits on top of the patient’s teeth during the procedure and shows us the precise point to insert the screw.
This step serves as the foundation of a patient’s new, permanent tooth, so it’s crucial that it is perfectly aligned for long-term success and a well-fitting crown. All in all, the 3D printing process makes the procedure faster and more exact, which typically results in shorter recovery times for patients.
Future Trends in 3D Printing
At Berdy Dental Group, we are excited by the results we’ve achieved using 3D printing, but beyond that, we’ve noticed that it makes the whole process more convenient for our patients. Instead of having to sit for multiple hours, the custom, printed guide allows us to pre-plan the procedure. As I mentioned, this significantly reduces the overall time required for the appointment.
Given how successful this trend has been for several years, we don’t expect the use of 3D printing in medicine to end anytime soon. As time goes by, technology will only improve – making procedures like this even more seamless.
Your smile is something you wear each day, so it’s important to feel proud of it. Dental restorations, like implants, can give patients a lot of confidence, but getting the procedure done can be daunting. This 3D printing technique is helping to take away some of the anxiety and time-investment that surrounds the process.