Do you remember when the boundaries of the term “revolutionary” was limited to historic achievements like a war of independence, the polio vaccine, or the invention of the internet. In recent years, revolutionary has been appropriated by the marketing industry to promote every new gadget or health fad from the latest windshield wiper to kale chips. Today, the more monumental definition of revolutionary is seeing a revival due to evolving synergies between dental 3D printing hardware, artificial intelligence, and resins. These three elements fall under the banner of Chemistry for Dentistry.
SprintRay coined Chemistry for Dentistry with the late 2022 launch of OnX Tough, its next-generation hybrid ceramic resin designed for 3D-printed dental prosthetics. OnX Tough is infused with SprintRay’s proprietary NanoFusion™ technology, a new resin that delivers unparalleled durability and lifelike translucency for radiant smiles with natural appeal.
According to SprintRay CEO and Co-Founder Amir Mansouri, PhD, “This breakthrough OnX Tough material represents a paradigm shift for chairside dentistry, delivering customized, beautiful and functional dental prosthetics while the patient is in the chair.”
OnX Tough is an early sign of materials to come in the realm of Chemistry for Dentistry. Count on SprintRay’s scientists to pioneer more resins that bring long-term durability and same-day convenience to modern dentistry. Advancements are happening fast though it may be hard to believe innovations like OnX Tough evolved from a revolution that was 30 years in the making.
Initially the driving force in 3D printing was dental labs that adopted desktop scanning to digitize dental impressions submitted by dentists. This trend spurred efforts to incorporate CAD software into the design of dental appliances. Along came companies specializing in dental tech innovation.
Resins Fuel the Engine of Growth
Dental tech companies pioneered CNC milling for production of the No. 1 restorative indication, single-unit posterior crowns, which became the catalysts in growth of digital dental dentistry. These crowns are made of glass ceramics, zirconia, and lithium disilicate, and were instrumental in improving the quality of dental care. As is often the case in business, the sector’s growth drove down the prices of digitally proceed crowns and led to consolidation of firms in the dental tech industry.
Digital dentistry expanded beyond its dental lab beginnings as chairside efficiencies surged with the arrival of intraoral scanning in the clinical workflow. Chairside milling branched out from same-day production of crowns into other indications that could be created by digital processes. Around this time, the adoption curve hit a bump due to inherent limitations in milling, such as cost and throughput. Prices fell further as production was outsourced to overseas dental labs.
Early in the last decade, the popularity of digital dentistry experienced a sharp upturn with cost reductions of technologies, higher speeds, and better throughput. However, materials used in dental 3D printing, in particular, impeded 3D printing from becoming the dominant digital production method in dentistry.
Today, we’re seeing a radical shift in Chemistry for Dentistry with a focus on versatile resins that opened 3D printing to indications that were once considered the exclusive territory of traditional techniques. The lineup of appliances that dental 3D printing has expanded to include night guards, surgical guides, custom impression trays, and even removable dentures. Dental models now account for approximately 80% of the output in dental 3D printing.
Enter the 3D Printed Definitive Crown
The latest innovation in materials is ceramic dominant resin. These resins have mechanical properties that meet the requirements of definitive crowns. When you consider that crowns can generate a large percentage of revenue in many practices, companies like SprintRay have taken dental 3D printing to that pivotal juncture where the technology produces rewards that far outweigh the costs. In other words, Chemistry for Dentistry is no longer a concept but a real entity that has propelled the dental 3D printing revolution toward becoming the standard solution.
SprintRay is participating at Additive Manufacturing Strategies, taking place in New York City from February 7-9, 2023. Sumeet Jain, Vice President and General Manager of Materials at SprintRay, will be taking part in Session 2, Panel 2: Improving the Patient Experience with 3D Printing on February 8. Register for your ticket to attend here.
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