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3D Printing Industry: Cost and Efficiency Opportunities in the Dental Industry

3D Printing Industry: Cost and Efficiency Opportunities in the Dental Industry

In the new decade, it’s been important to look back at the growth of 3D printing technology capabilities. Although the range of applications has been vast, one field in particular stands out for the developments in accuracy, cost efficiency and speed of manufacturing. 

(Phrozen Shuffle XL LCD 3D Printer)

3D printing for the dental industry applies to a variety of uses. Typically, dental work (specifically remodeling of teeth and implants) is an extremely precise art. However, by combining the use of standard SLA and DLP 3D printing techniques with specialized dental resins, 3D scans of patients teeth, gums and oral structure can be used to create retainers, night guards, implants, crowns, invisible braces, and models. 

(Printed plastic retainer on printed mold on a UNIZ 3D Printer) 

The biggest benefit of this process is its cost and efficiency. Previous technology for the manufacturing of crowns would be around two weeks: a patient would come in once for shaping and imprints for the crown, and two weeks later (the time allotted for the actual manufacturing of the crown) would come in for a fitting and cementation. This process can be lengthened due to incorrect molding or improper cementation.

(Dental model developed and printed by Zortrax 3D printers)

  • Phrozen Shuffle XL LCD Printer, $1400
  • Equipped for high volume printing, this printer is able to accomodate dental offices faster than ever and on the spot. As a newer model, the Phrozen Shuffle XL comes with new slicing technology, PZ Slicer Software, which is compatible with STL files. Its total print volume is 190 X 120 x 200 mm, and its resolutions are 75 microns and 0.01-0.1 mm in the xy and z axes respectively. It can be used with dental resins, but is compatible with 405 nm resins specifically.

     

    UNIZ Slash 2 LCD 3D Printer, $3500

    With a build volume of 192x 120 x 200 mm, this printer boasts high volume printing intended for professional environments. In terms of accuracy in prints, the error is +/- 10 microns in general. Print speeds are up to 200 mm/hr for same-day fast printing. UNIZ comes with its own compatible software for easy connection and access, allowing customization for resolution as well as built-in model repairs. 

    Zortrax Inkspire, $2100 with ultrasonic cleaner, $400

    Using UV LCD printing doesn’t compromise precision while maximizing high speed, creating quality prints that are suitable for the workspace. The cost margin is easily justified with its efficiency, as UV LCD printing is up to 8x faster and 9x more precise than SLA manufacturing.  Post-processing is made most efficient by using Z-SUITE slicing software, which generates easily removed supports. Additionally, the Zortrax 3D printer is often purchased with the ultrasonic cleaner, which uses high frequency sounds which are then propagated through detergent (isopropyl alcohol). Cleaning time is additionally very efficient, typically taking about 10 minutes. 

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