By: Eric Franck
The medical field has been using 3D printing for years. Medical professionals have been utilizing 3D printing in a variety of ways, including to produce prosthetics, functional organs, and implants such as hip replacements or splints. The 3D printing applications in dentistry are a rarely touched subject in the medical field. Dentistry is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking “Medical 3D Printing” but 3D printing has most definitely brought a huge improvement in affordability and ease of use. Taking average implant times from months to 1-2 weeks on average from dental scans to final product.
There are many companies that specialize in this field of medicine. NextDent is a large company that specializes in the dental industry. NextDent was founded in 2012 with the goal of making an affordable, easy to use and fast way to make dental implants and other consumables for offices. Many dentistry offices around the world have some form of 3D printing technology just proving how mainstream this technology has become. NextDent offers many materials to use alongside their machines from tray resins, casting resins, and denture specific resins (learn more about the resins below). Entry into digital dentistry industry is not cheap nor made for the average consumer or small firms, with the entry cost of $10,000 for the NextDent 5100 (found here) and the average cost of a bottle of resin being $150 per 1kg bottle.
While entry costs are high many dentists realize improvements in lead time and long-term cost. The industry of medical 3D printing will only become more affordable and easier to use as time goes on and more businesses get involved with the technology.