The 3D printer is truly an amazing innovation in technology. It really is something straight out of science fiction. Nothing available today really yet gets close to something like the replicator from Star Trek, the machine Captain Kirk and his crew would use to almost magically produce random items just by inputting the name of what they wanted into a computer.
While 3D printing is quite a bit more complicated than that, it may one day deliver the same results. However, at present, it’s still doing some pretty amazing things.
For instance, Invisalign, the company that of course makes the Invisalign invisible braces, is one company ready to take the leap with 3D printing technology. Invisalign has decided to begin to mass manufacture their product utilizing a 3D printing facility.
Just the Beginning
From a dental technology standpoint, that could be just the tip of the iceberg. Considering that one can build almost anything using this technology, it’s probably just a matter of time before things like dentures, bridgework, and even crowns and dental implants can be manufactured by 3D printing.
Even with the economic issues and perhaps even a loss of manufacturing jobs aside, this could be a huge leap forward. Eliminating human error could increase production time and greatly increase the precision in which each one of these products are made.
Soon we could see dentures made in minutes that fit perfectly the first time they are fitted. Also, it could completely make the temporary dentures people have to wear until they are fitted for the custom ones, a thing of the past.
And in use with 3D mapping, it could create precise imagery for implants to be no different in shape and appearance than the original tooth it was made to replace.
3D printing is one of those inventions that basically has no end of practical uses for almost every industry but it will be expecially excting to see how it helps the dental field for years to come.