Nov 10, 2016 | By Tess

If you haven’t been paying close attention to recent dental care trends, you might be surprised to find out that 3D printing is becoming quite the disruptive force within the dentistry field. From 3D scanning patients’ teeth to 3D printing molds, 3D printing technologies are becoming increasingly integrated into dentist’s offices. Still though, dental treatments, especially cosmetic ones, have remained expensive and inaccessible to many. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a way to improve your smile without really breaking the bank and without making your own 3D printed dental devices, a new startup is seeking to help.

SmileDirectClub was founded by friends Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman in an effort to offer people a more affordable but still effective way of straightening their teeth. The two founders, who met at the age of thirteen and bonded over having braces at the time, were simultaneously shocked at the price of maintaining a smile and baffled that no one in the dental industry seemed to be fully exploring the potentials of 3D printing and telehealth (the intersection between healthcare and telecommunications).

“This is an industry that’s been so expensive for so long,” commented Fenkell in an interview. “There are 50 million people in the United States who are looking for a better smile. That was the thesis behind this work and why we got into the industry.”

The solution presented by SmileDirectClub comes in the form of 3D printed invisible teeth aligners, made from BPA-free plastics and which are fitted to the user based off of either a DIY impression kit or a 3D scan. Using the former, clients will be sent a do-it-yourself impression kit at their home which they can then send back to the company along with a series of digital photos of their teeth. If you happen to live near a SmileShop, you can also visit one to have your mouth 3D scanned directly.

Using the data from the impression or the scans, experts at the SmileDirectClub can then assess the teeth and create customized aligners for each of their clients. Once 3D printed, the new aligners are sent to the client directly so they can start gradually straightening their teeth.

In comparison to regular invisible teeth aligners, which can cost more than twice as much, the 3D printed ones offered by SmileDirectClub can be bought for a one-time price of $1,500 or $1,735 split into $99 monthly payments.

As the world’s premiere “digital brand for your smile,” the SmileDirectClub seems to have a lot of potential. And with the money you save by using the 3D printed invisible aligners, you’ll have all the more reason to smile!

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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Dr Eleni wrote at 12/16/2016 7:07:17 PM:

The 3d printing technology has opened up new phases for the growth of businesses in every dimension. These 3d printed teeth are apples of the same chord. While the products created this way would always be great in their look, we still would need to make sure that the materials used are of great quality as well. At the moment 3d printers are using specific materials so problems may arise if the materials used for printing teeth are not of good quality stand the wear and tear for the rest of life.



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