In 2019, Formlabs launched its new Dental Business Unit, which includes a dental 3D printer and many dental materials. Today, the 3D printing unicorn is launching another one: its new, biocompatible Indirect Bonding Tray (IBT) resin, built specifically for direct printing of IBTs (also called IDBs or transfer trays) to help orthodontists with accurate, efficient placement of brackets. The translucent IBT resin is Class 1 compliant, with optimized flexibility and tear strength to help with bracket placement, which is one of the most common of orthodontic workflows. Orthodontists normally have the tedious task of placing brackets by hand, but with Formlabs’ new resin, users can print customized trays on the Form 3B. The IBTs will hold the brackets in place and help ensure a faster installation and decreased costs.
“With the addition of IBT Resin to our portfolio of materials, Formlabs has a comprehensive solution for orthodontic 3D printing,” said Sam Wainwright, Dental Product Manager of Formlabs. ” Whether it’s printing models for thermoformed appliances like clear aligners, or directly printing products like occlusal splints or indirect bonding trays, the Form 3B is a leader in digital orthodontics.
What with its major adoption of 3D printed clear aligners over the last couple of years, it seems that the industry is fully embracing the idea of digital dentistry, and has now, according to Formlabs, entered “an era of affordable mass-customized appliances,” like aligners and now IBTs, that can make the delivery of these treatments more comfortable, easy, and quick for patients and healthcare providers. Using just a digital treatment plan and an intraoral scan, orthodontists, assistants, or technicians can quickly generate a 3D model of an IBT using any one of a number of orthodontic design software programs. Then, the file can be imported into Formlabs’ PreForm software and prepared for printing on the Form 3B.
“With several years of experience in printing indirect bonding trays, I found the Formlabs IBT Resin to be accurate and easy to print using the PreForm software,” said Patricia Mitchell, Digital Specialist at the private Alvetro Orthodontics practice in Sidney, Ohio. “I love that the Formlabs IBT Resin has very minimal odor. The printed indirect bonding trays are effortless to remove from the build platform and the post processing steps are very simple to follow. Printing with the Formlabs IBT Resin has been a very positive experience!”
An indirect bonding tray is a custom appliance that matches a patient’s exact dentition and bracket prescription, making it possible to place multiple brackets at once. Because the prep work and bracket placement are completed virtually ahead of the appointment, patients can enjoy less time in the orthodontist’s chair. As someone who wore braces for 2.5 years during high school, I can tell you that less time in that chair is definitely better. Additionally, Formlabs says that IBT trays printed in its new resin are easier to use chairside, which means that dental practices can also save money.
Formlabs and industry experts tested out the new IBT resin, along with several beta testers, like Dr. Lisa Alvetro. She discovered that using digital workflows, such as 3D printing, makes it possible for her to delegate some of the workload to her staff, which allows her to focus on other tasks.
Dr. Alvetro stated, “Clinically, I found indirect bonding trays printed using Formlabs IBT Resin to be accurate, easy to place and remove.”
So, what makes the new IBT Resin by Formlabs better than other options? For starters, the company says it features an enhanced color for clear and easy visualization of the brackets against teeth, which equals less errors when placing them chairside. Very little support material is needed to print IBTs with this resin, so there is less waste and fewer post-processing steps, and a lack of nitrogen or glycerin post-curing also makes the post-process phase easier. Finally, Formlabs says patients have a more comfortable experience with these IBT trays because they are odorless, tasteless, and not sticky.
In making IBTs with Formlabs’ resin on its Form 3B, the process is simple: once the system has been configured with the resin tank, cartridge, and build platform, and the 3D file has been uploaded, you just push the start button. The only post-processing required is washing the trays in isopropyl alcohol and post-curing, a step that can be automated using the company’s Form Wash and Form Cure. Once the IBT has been cured, it can be cleaned and disinfected, and then it’s ready for use in the patient’s mouth.
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