3D printing involves making a physical object out of a three-dimensional model by consecutively laying down layers of material. This technology is changing different industries, but more so the dental field. It allows for higher accuracy and precision in creating dental appliances and saves time, too.
3D printing in dentistry is a must for every dental specialist aiming for satisfying customer experiences and profits. Different laboratories use various technologies in 3D dental printing, some of which are the following:
Digital Light Projection (DLP)
This technology utilizes digital projector screens. UV light is projected on a photopolymer resin, and the light flashes over the print areas to harden the object that is being created. This technology has a very high printing speed, and it enables printing with various point-to-point technologies. Though you can use DLP on multiple materials, the build volume for this print technology is rather small.
This procedure involves selective exposure of a photopolymer resin liquid to lasers. The laser shifts from one region of your print area to another, solidifying the resin. SLA technology creates highly accurate dental models and allows the use of a broad range of materials with a vast build volume. The print is, however, costlier compared to that of DLP.
This technology works similarly as inkjet printing but uses photopolymers in place of ink. The printing process involves jetting layers of a liquid resin onto trays then curing the layers with UV light. Material jetting is, however, quite expensive and has been primarily replaced by SLA and DLP.
Another printing technology used in dental 3D printing is material extrusion. It involves extruding small melted material beads which harden to form dental models. This technology results in cheaper prints compared to other 3D printing technologies and can be used on various materials. It, however, takes a longer period and sometimes has visible layer lines.
3D printing has opened a wave of innovation throughout the dental field. It is expected to transform practices across the globe in the coming years.