Dr. Les Kalman at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry has developed and patented a dental implant abutment system, but his research was stalled due to inconsistencies and poor quality of fabrication. As an alternative method of creating the system, Dr. Kalman decided to turn to additive manufacturing. He began working with ADEISS, a company dedicated to medical and dental 3D printing solutions. Using Renishaw 3D printers, ADEISS worked on designing and 3D printing a version of the dental device in dental-grade titanium for testing.
The device, which was named Tempcap, will be tested for future clinical assessment, examining its torque and strength. ADEISS is not only 3D printing the devices but conducting detailed post-processing, including final thread tapping for pronounced thread geometries, heat treatment for relieving thermal stresses and strengthening, and bead blasting for a smoother finish.
Tempcap was designed to resolve several issues with current dental abutment systems, in addition to being more affordable and accessible to those with limited finances. In a paper entitled “Implant Provisionals Utilizing a Novel Abutment: Assessing Quality, Efficiency and Stability,” the device was assessed overall as well as compared to titanium and thermoplastic provisional abutments in vitro.
“Three mandibular and maxillary dentoform casts were fixed onto bone analogues,” the researchers explain in the paper. “Dental implants were then placed into the analogues. Thermoplastic, titanium and Tempcap provisional abutments were utilized and a temporary implant-supported crown was fabricated. The quality of the provisional crown, implant stability quotient (ISQ) pre- and post-temporization, and average provisional time were measured.”
It was found that among the three different abutment methods, Tempcap increased provisional crown quality and reduced the time required to fabricate the provisional crown for mandibular implant sites. The Tempcap group also showed the lowest ISQ changes pre- to post-temporization, although the differences between the abutment groups were not statistically significant. According to the researchers – Dr. Kalman along with Lana Estafanos – provisional crowns using the Tempcap abutment could potentially be efficient in increasing provisional quality, reducing fabrication time, and minimizing changes in implant stability pre- to post-fabrication. Simplicity of fabrication, cost and quality were determined as the greatest advantages of the 3D printed Tempcap, making it an effective alternative for implant provisionals.
“The Tempcap abutment provides implant dentistry with another accessible option to clinicians and patients, while 3D printing may provide the implant industry with an alternative leaner approach for manufacturing,” said Dr. Kalman.
The dental industry is increasingly turning to 3D printing for the major reasons of affordability and accessibility, as well as the fact that additive manufacturing can produce patient-specific devices quickly and effectively. 3D scanning and 3D printing are easier on patients than traditional methods of fabricating dental and orthodontic devices – not to mention easier on their wallets.
Dr. Kalman’s research on the Tempcap was featured at the ICOI World Congress in Las Vegas and will also be presented at the GNYDM (Greater New York Dental Meeting), which is taking place in New York City from November 23rd to 28th.
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