A key area of application in the dental additive manufacturing (AM) world is the 3D printing of dentures. As it stands, even with digital technologies like (AM), denture making is a labor-intensive process. However, it’s an area that every dental 3D printing company hopes to disrupt. Among them is Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS), which just announced the release of the market’s first monolithic, full-color 3D printed permanent dentures solution, TrueDent.
With few competitors, Stratasys is the market leader in full-color 3D printing with its PolyJet technology. However, due to the material restrictions of its process, the parts made with the technology have traditionally been limited to the production of highly-detailed and colorful models. TrueDent, however, is an FDA-cleared (Class II) dental resin that makes it possible to 3D print permanent dentures that feature both natural looking gums and teeth on a single, continuous print.
Until now, digitally manufactured dentures have been made in multiple steps, with a base and teeth fabricated independently and then bonded. With TrueDent, this process is streamlined significantly. Dental labs and offices can now produce dentures and other devices using GrabCAD Print software and the Stratasys J5 DentaJet 3D printer in what is meant to be a simple workflow. This, in turn, cuts patient chair time for visits, measurements, fittings, and adjustments, while enabling improved fidelity for scan, design, and for. The company claims that the tool is scalable and repeatable and that overall time between scan and delivery can be reduced.
“Until now, printed dentures and appliances had to be designed and manufactured in multiple parts and bonded together,” said Frank Acosta, Owner of AA Dental Design. “The TrueDent solution, utilizing Stratasys’ systems and software takes a lot of that stress out. It simplifies the process, lowers the costs, and allows for dentures and temporaries to be produced much faster, achieving incredible aesthetics. We can now expand our prosthetic service printing multi-colored personalized appliance at scale.”
“This new solution will be transformative for the dental industry, and we believe it will help our customers significantly reduce the time and cost of producing dentures and temporaries,” said Ronen Lebi, Vice President of Dental at Stratasys. “Stratasys continues to push the boundaries of digital dentistry leveraging our portfolio of advanced 3D printing technologies, including hardware, resins and software to deliver disruptive solutions that make a difference.”
Citing iData, Stratasys suggests that, of the 4.2 million full dentures made in the U.S. and 18 million sold worldwide, only five percent were made with AM. Though it may be first to market, Stratasys isn’t the only one working on this solution. Desktop Health has its own FDA-cleared resin for intraoral use, though it did experience a hiccup in getting it to market. That product still requires multiple steps, however. A unique startup, Quantica, has developed a printhead capable of overcoming the material limitations of PolyJet and advertises single-step, monolithic, full-color dentures as a primary application. It’s possible that Stratasys has developed a new inkjet print head for depositing more viscous, and therefore, more practical materials such as TrueDent. Or, perhaps, the printer manufacturer turned to Quantica itself to upgrade its technology.
Regardless, this is only the beginning of this market if Quantica licenses its inkjet technology to a competitor or a firm like Mimaki ups the capabilities of its own inkjet technology. The patent-pending TrueDent resin is currently available in the U.S. and only compatible with the Stratasys J5 DentaJet printer. Those attending LMT Lab Day Chicago, February 23-25, 2023, will be able to see it in person.
Images courtesy of Stratasys.
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