It all ‘Adds Up’ — Why digital printing is booming
Most of digital dentistry has focused on subtractive manufacturing (aka, milling) for the fabrication of final restorations, guides and dentures — essentially removing material to create the end result and providing an improved experience in dentistry.
The continuing decrease in price and size and increase in speed and ease of utilization has brought additive manufacturing (aka, printing) rapidly to the forefront for consideration. And while most printers today are used in dental laboratories vs. dental offices (88 percent vs. 12 percent), it is predicted that by 2027, the utilization will be essentially even, if not slightly reversed (46 percent vs. 54 percent).
Another report says printing technology is expected to provide more than 60 percent of all dental product needs by 2025!
Why the proliferation of printing considerations? Today’s dental printers provide rapid in-office fabrication that are less expensive, produce less waste and are useful across a wider range of treatments, including models, functional appliances, surgical guides, nightguards, dentures, provisionals and, in some cases, long-term restorations.
In general, all stereolithography printers function on the same principle — using UV light to cure photosensitive liquid resin. However, there are different methods employed to deliver the result, each providing pros and cons:
- Projector-based stereolithography — Projecting a wide arc that reaches the entire build platform at once, making this type accurate and fast with long operating life. Highly recommended for dental applications and chairside use (please see the SprintRay Pro image).
- Laser-based stereolithography — Projecting a tiny pinpoint of light for incrementing curing, this process produces a very smooth surface but has slow print speeds and typically a more complicated system.
- LCD-based stereolithography — This system is similar in process to No. 1 but uses more consumer available (think smartphones) LCD screens to deliver light to the resin. They deliver smooth surfaces and fast print speeds but can have more frequent repair issues and replacement parts
Other key factors to consider when considering choosing a dental printer:
- Materials and applications: Today’s printers have the capabilities to print almost anything that fits into the chamber, but because dentistry is often utilizing these applications for in-vivo applications, it is important to check that the materials used are biocompatible and certified functional dental resins. Henry Schein provides printers and materials specifically dedicated to dentistry and its application.
- ROI: In order for your printer to provide you a return on the initial and recurring cost of investment, consider multiple applications available to make sure the printer can grow with your expanded practice applications.
- Size: If the plan is to use the printer chairside (in-office), the size of the printer itself, along with the accompanying materials and devices (to wash, dry and polymerize), should be considered to make the entire process convenient and efficient.
- Support: Investing in a printer designed and supported specifically for dentistry or optimized as such will provide you and your team continued ease of use, confidence and convenience. Calling a manufacturer or supplier that is familiar with the dental applications and materials makes it much easier to troubleshoot and find clinically- appropriate solutions.
- Ease of use/convenience: Like any other investment in technology, if it isn’t easy to use, understand or implement, it won’t be used as often as it should. Some new innovations in printing technology include optimized software along with a large touchscreen and a 6-core processor (SprintRay Pro), providing an enhanced user experience. Also, SprintRay offers the new Pro Wash/Dry automatic washing system, providing enhanced ease of use, speed and convenience after printing
Henry Schein Dental can provide all your dental printing needs with equipment, materials and support. Check out Henry Schein’s Equipment Catalog – 3D Printers (henryscheinequipmentcatalog.com/cad-cam/3d-printers) for more information on the printers Henry Schein offers.
To get more detailed information and to schedule a virtual demo, fill out a Virtual Demo Request at henryscheinevents.com/virtual-demo-form to reserve a time with a FastTrack Technology Advisor.
To learn more
For more information about 3-D printers, stop by the Henry Schein virtual booth during the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. You can also follow the links below:
• HS Equipment Catalog – 3D Printers: https://henryscheinequipmentcatalog.com/cad-cam/3d-printers?utm_source=DT&utm_medium=Article&utm_campaign=CMW&utm_term=February2021
- www.evansondds.com/how-3d-printing-is-revolutionizing-dentistry/ as reported in Dental Product Shopper, Vol 12 No. 7 – 2018.
(Source: Henry Schein Dental)