KeySplint Family: The Resins You Know and Love, Now Available in Clear
Keystone Industries' KeySplint Soft® revolutionized the digital dentistry landscape when it launched in 2019, combining flexibility and strength for night guards. In 2021, KeySplint Hard® completed the KeySplint family, giving dental professionals an efficient, reliable solution for rigid splints where tooth immobilization is needed. Now, the clear versions of both materials are validated for multiple 3D printers. Inside Dental Technology spoke to Doug Statham, Keystone's Senior Director of Sales in Digital Materials, about why the materials have proven so successful and the excitement around the newest development.
Inside Dental Technology (IDT): Why has the KeySplint line been so popular since its release?
Doug Statham: KeySplint Soft is a unique night guard material that provides strong protection with flexibility. It softens when exposed to the patient's body temperature in the mouth, which makes it more comfortable to wear. We have found that compliance increases dramatically with it: Patients who wear KeySplint Soft night guards tend to wear them longer and more frequently. We have more than 2 million KeySplint Soft night guards in the mouth right now, and many dentists are seeing referrals coming in from patients who have switched from hard guards to soft ones and appreciate the comfort. Additionally, 3D printing night guards is very profitable for both laboratories and dentists as both can make significant margins based on the low cost of the material and the efficiency of using it.
IDT: For all the benefits of a soft material, KeySplint Hard has proven surprisingly popular as well.
Statham: That surprised me a bit because I thought KeySplint Soft would cannibalize hard splints and the traditional ways of fabricating night guards, but some dentists still are not yet convinced that a soft material can be durable enough for a patient with bruxism or a difficult bite. The fact is that numerous independent wear studies have illustrated KeySplint Soft to be as durable or more durable than night guards produced using the traditional methods, but for dentists who are still skeptical, KeySplint Hard offers a way for them to reap the efficiency benefits of 3D printed night guards without moving to the soft material.
IDT: When you talk about cost-efficiency, how much does the ease of the whole workflow contribute, especially when compared to milling?
Statham: Only one or two night guards can be milled from a single puck. Depending on your printer, you can fabricate six or eight KeySplint night guards in 1 hour. The accuracy is very good. The workflow is significantly easier for the laboratory.
IDT: How easy is it to implement that workflow for a laboratory that has not adopted 3D printing yet?
Statham: I think the laboratory will find it easier than pouring models and doing vacuum forms. Digital design takes 10 to 15 minutes, the print itself takes 45 minutes to an hour at most, and the post-processing is just rinsing in isopropyl alcohol, post curing, and polishing. A laboratory probably can fabricate 10 KeySplint night guards in the time it would take to make two or three using the traditional methods.
IDT: Obviously Keystone does not sell the hardware, but how much do the validations that Keystone provides with various printers help with implementation?
Statham: Validation is extremely important to us. We want to make sure not only that we are compliant with regulatory standards but, more importantly, that our materials are safe for patients. That gives our users a lot of peace of mind, as they know these materials have been tested extensively and we have established the settings for each printer that will achieve the best results. The process is relatively plug-and-play for the laboratory: Just go to keyprint.keystoneindustries.com/compatible to see all the settings for printing and post-curing. That page is also a great resource for anyone shopping for a 3D printer, because it shows all of the Keystone materials that have been validated for each printer, which provides a good measure as to which systems are really open.
IDT: On the subject of openness, how much demand were you seeing for the KeySplint Soft® Clear and KeySplint Hard® Clear to be available beyond the one printer manufacturer for whom they had initially been validated?
Statham: Some of our dentists and patients who were using other printers liked the soft night guards but did not like the tint. Some actually preferred a hard, clear material over a soft, tinted material. Those customers now will move to the KeySplint Soft Clear, and we also will convert a fair portion of the regular KeySplint Soft users to KeySplint Soft Clear. One thing I would caution is that the validation process takes time, so validating every printer we want to be compatible with KeySplint materials is ongoing. Keep checking our website for more validations to be completed. We also will be introducing some new materials in early 2023 that I am excited about!