The process of fabricating dentures involves some mighty impressive technology, but now the dental world is taking steps towards even greater technology, the 3D printer.
Are you familiar with 3-D printers? You might have seen stories about them recently, as they churn out everything from jewellery, to prosthetic limbs, to carbon fibre car parts. Most recently, the astronauts on the International Space Station were able to print or produce a ratchet in space from plans emailed by Nasa.
And now, even orthodontic appliances can be made with the help of these versatile machines.
The Stratasys company, a leader in this field, has introduced a 3-D printer for dental labs called the Objet Eden260V Dental Advantage 3-D Printer. It's designed for smaller orthdontic labs and is about the same size as a paper copier which can fit into small dental labs and offices. Right now, the machine can print or fabricate dental appliances.
Many dental offices are said to be linking data from x-ray and imaging machines directly to the 3-D printer for better efficiency and accuracy.
According to Stratasys: "Digital Dentistry take the efficiences of digital design to the production stage. By combining oral scanning, CAD/CAM design and 3D printing, dental labs can accurately and rapidly produce crowns, bridges stone models and a range of other orthodonict appliances. By eliminating the dental lab work, they are able to deliver patients a higher quality of care.
Denture Digital Imaging, sees the future as being able to fabricate dentures while a patient waits. And process seems fairly simple.
The first step would be getting an accurate image of the patient's mouth. But instead of getting a plaster cast, a patient will get a digital impression, that will also reveal important information about the pressures in the mouth.
It looks like dentures and dental-implant supported dentures would be fabricated in one piece, as one integral structure. While not available now, 3D printers will be part of every denture office in the near future.
With all this information, these machines will be able to create better-fitting and more comfortable dentures and oral appliances.
It's just the last new development in dental oral care, and we just had to share it!