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How 3D Technology is Impacting Dentistry

Jan 07, 2020

By Dean George

It’s been said that every picture tells a story.  Considering the limitless possibilities of 3D imaging and printing, the picture for the dental profession could potentially be a story with multiple happy endings. 

3D technology offers considerable benefits to dentists and oral health specialists, including the accuracy of oral scanning and CAD design, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of 3D-printed braces and crowns, and the time-saving customization of individual dentures and implants.

As an example of the proliferation of digital technology in the dental profession, look at the increased use of digital x-rays as compared to conventional x-ray film. In a blog called The Wealthy Dentist, a recent post noted that 66% of surveyed dentists say they use digital x-rays instead of film.   

Compare that percentage to an August 2014 Dental Wire article where fewer than 25% of dentists reported using digital technology, and its apparent how prevalent digital technology is becoming in the dental industry. 

One reason why 3D printing offers such rich possibilities for the dental world is patients’ mouths are different. 3D printing and imaging makes it possible to get accurate models of a patient’s detention, which helps to generate 3D-generated dental restorations. 

In other words, this new technology can lead to customized solutions for each patient.   

Even better, if your 3D-printed device doesn’t fit, the dentist merely reconfigures the 3D design without the time and expense of resubmitting the device to a lab and having the cost of a second device created. 

For example, 3D-printed dental crowns are one of the most common applications of dental 3D printing.  3D-printed crowns can be produced quickly and if a dental office is properly outfitted, can be made by dentists themselves.   

With the proper equipment a dentist can scan a patient’s teeth, accurately model the tooth to be outfitted for a crown and print the crown in their office.  If there is a mistake, the dentist simply reprints the crown. 

The drawback to the rapid proliferation of 3D dental technology is the cost.  Many dentists nearing the end of their careers are not wanting to invest the capital needed to go digital, but as younger dentists fill the profession’s ranks and as innovations continually bring down the costs of the new technology, look for more and more dental offices to be offering 3D technology services previously only seen in Hanna-Barbera's The Jetsons.   

Photo sources: Esthetic Professionals, Levisk 1212 on 

Copyright 2020, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC© 

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