3D Printing and Dentistry: Perfect Together
When considering the impact dental technology has had-and will continue to have-on clinical practice, it's easy to see what an exciting time it is for dental practitioners. Dentistry is in the midst of a digital revolution with regard to producing a wide array of necessary clinical items. Every year dentists are making more and more optical scans instead of physical impressions and increasingly fabricating CAD/CAM crowns rather than using waxing and casting methods, and patients are ultimately the beneficiaries of these remarkable technological advancements. As a result, there is often the need for the digital design and direct production of surgical guides, prosthetics, aligners, occlusal guards, prototyping and testing devices, physical models from scans, and more.
It is safe to say that digital dentistry and 3D printing are no longer "the future" but "the reality" for everyday clinical practice. Additive manufacturing/3D printing permits clinicians and technicians to generate physical objects out of liquid resins in a futuristic fashion. Why is this significant now? How did we get here? Where are we headed?
Focusing on digital prosthodontics, this special thematic edition of Compendium features a variety of content from technology leaders who have been on the forefront of 3D printing and digital dentistry. Topics range from computer-guided implantology using CBCT and low-cost additive manufacturing, to an efficient in-house digital workflow for full-arch surgery and restoration, to current treatments in 3D printing and smile design, to how to supplement a digital workflow with an analog deviation when necessary. Additionally, we present an interview with the inventor of modern 3D printing, Mr. Charles (Chuck) Hull, and its impact on dentistry.
It is amazing to think of the technological progress dentistry has made. As it turns out, dentistry is perfect for 3D printing, and 3D printing is perfect for dentistry. Dentists by and large are makers, builders, and innovators. The more clinicians embrace technology, the more they'll be able to advance the field of dentistry and impact their patients in incredible new ways.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD
Michael D. Scherer, DMD, MS