It often seems to happen overnight. An industry that has been somewhat quiet in terms of new 3D printing developments suddenly seems to explode, becoming the “next big thing” in 3D printing news. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that “next big thing” turns out to be the dental industry. While 3D printing has been used in dentistry for a while, the technology is not as ubiquitous or advanced as it is in other areas of the medical field – but that seems to be changing suddenly. A couple of weeks ago, Vertex Dental announced that they had developed the first 3D printing materials to be CE Class IIa-certified for long-term dental applications, and today Formlabs has announced that they’re introducing a dental first of their own.
Formlabs, known for their innovative desktop SLA technology, is now releasing the Dental SG resin – the first biocompatible resin in the desktop 3D printing industry. A Class 1 material, Dental SG is the next step in making dental procedures quicker, more precise, and ultimately more comfortable for patients. Dentists now have the resources to 3D print customized drill guides and implants using digital scan data from patients – no more biting down on disgusting, messy, foul-tasting putty to create an impression and then waiting days for a lab to return the model. No more guesswork and excessive poking around in a patient’s mouth, no more ill-fitting implants – a dental professional can now scan the inside of a patient’s mouth, 3D print a customized surgical guide, prepare it ahead of time, and insert a perfectly fitted implant at a fraction of the time it used to take.
“When practitioners and researchers have the ability and access to develop incredibly precise tools for surgical applications, it opens up a new range of possibilities for the dental industry and for the medical science industry at large,” said Dávid Lakatos, Head of Product at Formlabs. “Formlabs is leading the way in helping to advance patient care by introducing solutions that enable personalized surgical planning and mass customization. Material innovation, like with the introduction of Dental SG, is a key driver in growing the adoption of digital dentistry powered by 3D printing.”
“The addition of Dental SG Resin is a game-changer,” said Dr. Scherer. “Dental SG is poised to dramatically improve patient outcome of surgical procedures by making implant surgery faster, more precise, and ultimately more comfortable for the patient. Direct printing of surgical guides has traditionally required larger-scale 3D printers that are beyond the expense and comfort level of most dental laboratories and clinicians. The introduction of Dental SG Resin allows for benchtop surgical guide printing in dental offices and smaller dental labs.”