You might think of 3D printing as something exclusively for hobbyists, or at most you can use it to make small plastic objects like board game pieces or knickknacks. After all, 3D printers can only use certain materials and none of them are as durable as porcelain or metal.
However, a general dentist on Long Island or elsewhere has ways to make 3D printing practical and effective even now. While the resin used by 3D printers isn’t the same type as the resin used in dental appliances, dental labs can use it to create a perfect mold of your teeth based on an optical scan the dentist takes of your mouth.
Before, dentists had to use a kind of plaster to get an impression of your teeth, and that meant patients would have to wait for it to set in their mouths. Aside from the inconvenience, the plaster would warp as it set and always be a little bit off. Scanning and 3D printing is faster and more convenient for the patient and the dentist, and it’s more accurate at the same time.
By creating this mold of your teeth, a general dentist on Long Island can create dental appliances like retainers that perfectly fit your mouth. They can also create porcelain crowns for dental implants that look exactly like the teeth they’re replacing. The resin might not be useful within your mouth, but it’s great for creating molds that dentists can use for mouth-safe resin appliances and porcelain replacement teeth.
The future of 3D printing in dentistry is even more promising. While a general dentist on Long Island can’t create replacement teeth directly today, new printer designs can create even more perfect replicas of your teeth and use more advanced materials. The end goal of 3D printing in dentistry is to create those replacement teeth directly. Porcelain is unlikely, but zirconia is a promising new material used for implants and crowns and it could potentially be used in a 3D printer.
3D printing is already much more than just a toy for hobbyists, and although the technology isn’t practical for use in giant factories there are plenty of ways it can help in a modern dental lab. And since the software is getting easier to use, the printers are growing more sophisticated, and the list of usable materials is expanding, 3D printing will be showing up in just about every dental lab on Long Island before too long.