3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital model. 3D printers have already been used to make everything from iPhone cases, coffee cups, and fully functional musical instruments like acoustic guitars and flutes. They’re even being used to revolutionize medicine and surgery with 3D printed anatomical models, which give surgeons extremely accurate, custom anatomical models so they can practice a procedure before the actual patient goes under the knife.
With all these advances in 3D printing, the time for this innovation to finally benefit your visit to the dentist is finally approaching.
Dental 3D printing has many advantages. For starters, the 3D rendering of a patient’s mouth gives a more precise, greater detailed view compared to the 2-dimensional version created by traditional X-ray machines. The technology also has the ability to figure out the correct placement for dental implants, measuring the jaw, and determining how to fix under- or overbites, and getting a patient ready for reconstructive surgery. 3D scanners also limit the patient’s radiation exposure to the area of interest, thus reducing the amount of radiation the patient is subjected to.
Using computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology, a dentist can quickly scan the shape and size of a patient’s natural tooth and print an exact copy from materials such as titanium and zirconia. A similar method can also be used to create dentures. This provides a completely customized alternative to traditional dental implants. The technology is already in use in the European Union, and is pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
CAD/CAM will also change how oral surgeons prepare for your procedure. 3D printers are capable of printing out realistic teeth, gums, and nerves, in order to create lifelike models for dental specialists. As a result, they’ll have a much more comprehensive understanding of your mouth before the surgery even begins.
It’s no exaggeration to say this innovation will change dentistry. It will also improve your comfort during your visit, and the results and your smile afterwards. Bring on the 3D printers!
But even with advances in technology, taking care of your teeth gets increasingly important as we age. It is more important than ever to have a dental plan from your association and AMBA. Learn more online at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 844-385-4360.