3D Printing in Dentistry: A Revolution or Just a Trend?
Technology has the power to transform all industries—and that includes the field of dentistry.
Recognized as a disruptive technology that has changed the face of manufacturing, art and
design, aerospace, as well as others, 3D printing has started to be implemented in dental
practices, especially when creating implants and handling restorations.
However, do practitioners need to be thinking about implementing 3D printing technologies in
their own practices? Or is this technology simply a passing fad?
In this new article, the team at LenDRgroup Consulting discusses what dentists need to be
prepared for as 3D printing becomes more commonplace.
Dental 3D Printing: Decades in the Making
The first stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers were introduced over three decades ago—but it
has only been in the last 10 years or so that their cost has been lowered and their access
expanded to a variety of industries, including dentistry. And today, 3D printers are driving
innovation in dentistry.
3D printers can meet high demands as well as the strict requirements that are associated with
inlays, onlays, veneers, and permanent crowns—and further advances in material science and
biocompatible resins (plastics that can safely interact with the tissues and functioning of the
human body) will offer dentists the ability to unlock new applications, including clear aligners,
dentures, and bridges.
Ultimately, 3D printers will allow forward-thinking and solutions-oriented dental practitioners
the ability to use new technology to enhance and improve patient outcomes and accuracy,
personalize treatments, and reduce unnecessary and unexpected costs that could arise during a
Benefits of 3D Printing in Dentistry
3D printing technologies typically thrive in business environments where custom solutions are
needed in order to ensure alignment with a stakeholder’s needs—in this regard, the patient.
Here are some benefits that 3D printing could (and likely will) have on the dental industry as it
is widely adopted.
- Mass customization is also low cost. Yes, it’s true that the field of dentistry has
historically required high levels of customization—but it is through manual efforts that
custom appliances have been made. This approach is, of course, time-consuming and
expensive. 3D printing will enable mass customization in an automated and efficient way, minimizing overhead costs and labor while simultaneously reducing patient expenses and enhancing quality. Plus, the risk that a technician makes a mistake while manually creating a product is mitigated.
- Convenience is boosted. With 3D printing technology, gone are the days when a dentist
would have to make messy impressions of a patient’s teeth. Through the use of a digital
scanner, 3D printers can record the slightest of details as it relates to a patient’s teeth
and gums. These digital impressions will in turn improve patient happiness and comfort
while also ensuring accuracy over that which physical, conventional impressions can
- Longevity is improved. As we noted, 3D-printed prostheses are more precise than
anything a human being could create by hand. Therefore, 3D printed prostheses
minimize the chance of structural defects being present, which leads to a longer lifespan
when used by the patient.
- The technology isn’t only limited to patient treatment. With 3D printers, dentists can
also 3D print the drill guides needed to complete certain dental procedures, which also
helps control costs associated with equipment purchases. This, in turn, could help a
dentist pass on savings to their patients, boosting overall satisfaction.
3D Printing Technology is Here to Stay
Here at LenDRgroup Consulting, we believe that the opportunity presented by 3D printing
technology to dental practitioners is considerable, and likely here to stay. It will be necessary
for dentists to consider this type of technology in future equipment purchases and devise a
strategy for introducing these tools within their office environment and explaining their
benefits to patients.
LenDRgroup Consulting would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how we can
assist with innovative equipment purchases as well as financing 3D printing technology at your
practice. Additionally, we would be happy to strategize with you on implementing this
technology and communicating with patients about how this technology will improve their
Reach out to LenDRgroup Consulting today and set up a one-on-one consultation. We are eager
to usher your practice into the future and harness the benefits of new technology.