June 2018
Volume 9, Issue 6

3D Hybrid Printing and Implant-Supported Prosthetics

Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT

There is no doubt that the most impressive growth markets in dental technology are implant-supported prosthetics and CAD/CAM technology, specifically 3-dimensional printing, which has truly exploded in the past year. According to a new research report "Dental Implants and Prostheses: Global Forecast to 2023" by Markets and Markets, the dental implant and prosthesis market is expected to reach $13 billion by 2023 from an estimated $9.5 billion in 2018-a CAGR of 6.5%. According to price indications, premium or patient-specific implants accounted for the largest share of this market in 2017. Dental bridges held the largest share of the dental prosthesis market in 2017. So how does one tap into this large and growing market? I believe the next entry point will include specific technology within the implant prosthetic space using 3D hybrid printing, especially for custom abutments and implant bar prosthetics.

3D hybrid printing is the collaboration of CNC milling combined with 3D printing (subtractive and additive technologies). A viable solution for the dental-implant-supported space could very well involve 1) milling the implant interphase (intra-implant interphase) component of the bar or abutment, which requires a great deal of fixed, verified, and repeatable precision, as well as compliance with the regulatory agencies, while 2) 3D printing the (extra-implant interphase) coronal or abutment portion from a patient-specific design, facilitated in the dental laboratory.

This process could, in theory, provide the best of both worlds-precision that is absolutely critical for implant prosthetics joined with patient-specific design needed to accommodate proper intaglio contours, margin lines, and emergence of the restorative portion from the gingival architecture. Utilizing both technology types provides the dental restorative team with critical precision, while enjoying the speed and customization of 3D printing.

Like most innovative CAD/CAM technologies, this is currently utilized in the aerospace and automotive industries, to name a few. A company called 3D-Hybrid (3dhybridsolutions.com) recently exhibited at AERODEF in March, showing their metal 3D-printing tools for any CNC machine, utilizing the fastest metal-printing speeds combined with precision CNC machining. 3D-Hybrid provides three unique metal additive manufacturing technologies for hybrid manufacturing in CNC machines: arc, laser, and cold spray deposition. The company claims that together these three technologies can handle almost any metal additive manufacturing application and alloy, offering multiple-material parts, machined internal features, custom-gradient alloys, rapid manufacturing, and 5-axis 3D-printing metal without supports.

Consider what this technology could do for an already-growing implant market in the dental laboratory space. Cutting-edge technology like this offers the potential to accelerate growth and claim a larger source of revenue for your laboratory, while creating new products to offer your dental clientele. It is a great honor and privilege to bring this to you and elevate and inspire with knowledge.

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