I’ve been getting a lot of mail from my dentist lately – both email and snail mail, cheerfully reminding me that it’s time for my next dental checkup. I’ve been ignoring these pieces of mail – even the card and email they sent me on my birthday, wishing me a very happy birthday and reminding me that my teeth were going to fall out if I didn’t pay them a visit soon. (Okay, they didn’t actually say that.) Although I’ve been stubbornly pretending that these reminders don’t exist, I was much more interested in the dental news that showed up in my inbox today.
While 3D printing has begun to show itself in the dental industry, it’s mostly been used for dental models and temporary veneers. Permanent repairs and implants are still manufactured using traditional methods, but Vertex Dental, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of dental prosthetics and implants, has developed the first CE Class IIa – certified materials approved for the 3D printing of long-term dental applications. The company, through their subsidiary NextDent, has been using 3D printing to produce surgical models and impression trays, but their newly introduced materials will allow them to make use of the technology in new and promising ways.
NextDent Ortho Rigid is a material developed for the 3D printing of dental splints for long-term use, while NextDent Base has been designed for the manufacture of temporary denture bases. Then there’s NextDent C&B, for the purpose of 3D printing crowns and bridges of up to three pieces. All three materials are biocompatible and optimized for use with the Rapidshape D30 printer, though they can be used with any DLP or SLA 3D printer with a wavelength range of 365 to 405 nm. Like the rest of NextDent’s dentistry materials, they can be cured with the LC 3DPrint Box, a UV light box designed for the rapid curing of multiple resin parts. While none of the materials are meant for permanent use in the mouth, they can be used on a long-term basis of about a month, which is a big step forward.
Incidentally, another big player in the dental 3D printing industry has also announced the release of a new material. EnvisionTEC offers several 3D printers for dental and orthodontic applications, plus a wide range of materials for the industry; however, their new material isn’t one of them.
PolyPro Max 3SP is a tough and flexible polymer ideal for industrial components such as automotive and snap-fit parts.
“We’re always thinking about the next best thing for the 3D print industry,” said John Hartner, Chief Operating Officer of EnvisionTEC. “The development of PolyPro MAX 3SP provides an exciting new solution that is well suited for a wide variety of engineering applications…Our newest material offers sustainability and flexibility with 3D printed items requiring a high degree of resilience. Working together with our engineering and design team, we have seen highly successful results with PolyPro MAX 3SP.”