Advances in technology seem to be taking place these days at the rate of about one per day! We have no sooner finished reading one article about a “brand new technology,” or the “latest in innovative dentistry,” when along comes another one that talks about even more improvements having taken place just since the previous article was published! One thing that we are hearing and reading more and more about is the use of 3D printer technology in the practice of dentistry. While for some of us older folks, our only 3D knowledge comes from remembering how we all wore special red and blue 3D glasses at the movies, chances are, your own kids already know a whole lot more about what a 3D printer can do. With the use of this technology growing, today we thought we’d share a bit about 3D printing and dentistry!
To say that 3D printers might be revolutionizing the dental industry isn’t an understatement but nor is it wrong to say that this change is not necessarily happening overnight. After all, as with most things technology related, 3D printing (at least for now) is not cheap. However, what 3D printing does have is the potential to be pretty darn cool. Here’s why:
- As use becomes more commonplace, it will drastically reduce the length of time it takes to have specialized dental services completed.
- While upfront investment costs might be high, down the road it will likely lead to a reduction in costs for patients and for some treatments because of the reduced labour, time and materials expenses.
- Some of the services where a 3D printer might prove helpful are applicable across orthodontic care, endodontic and prosthodontics care – or – if we were to speak plainly, in a variety of dental procedures including crowns and veneers, tooth replacements and with the production of customized aligners.
- Both CAD, (Computer Assisted Design) and CAM, (Computer Assisted Manufacture) technology is integral to the use of 3D printer technology. Cumulatively, not only do these tools reduce time but also, as the technology continues to improve, they will likely lead to fewer errors too.
We’re not sure that you’ll be able to have a 3D replacement tooth printed out at home and “installed” tomorrow here at Brinkley Dental in north Brampton and we know more research remains to be done on the longevity of using this type of technology under the kinds of conditions one finds in the mouth. That said, there is no doubt that this is a technology to watch and one that could be a real game-changer for both Dentists and their patients. Even better, unlike watching a 3D movie – you won’t need any special glasses for this dental “special feature!”
Until we begin to see more regular use of 3D printing and other innovative technologies in oral health care, we will leave you as we always do with this special reminder: “Don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”