Mar 22, 2017 | By David

Long waiting times for reconstructive dental care could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new 3D printing innovation that can potentially build a dental prosthetic for a patient in just 20 minutes. 3D printer manufacturer DWS Labs has just unveiled its latest SLA 3D printer, the DFAB, which is specifically developed for dental and prosthodontic care. Every stage of production can be streamlined and made more efficient with this groundbreaking 3D printer, allowing a patient to walk away with a custom-made prosthetic after just one visit to the surgery.

Having previously made waves in jewellery design and industrial prototyping with its impressive range of stereolithography 3D printers, DWS has now focused its expertise on helping dentists and prosthodontists to provide better care. Creating a reconstructive dental prosthetic for a patient can be a complex procedure, due to the various aesthetic elements that need to be considered as well as the functional ones. On top of this, casting a mould of the inside of a mouth is a tricky and uncomfortably invasive process. DWS’s innovations look to have all these bases covered, and more besides.

Replacing the traditional physical impression of the patient’s teeth, a 3D intraoral scan made with a digital scanning device is now all that is needed for the DFAB to get to work. After this scan is converted to an STL file, the patient and dentist can then collaborate in the production of the prosthetic. A wide range of colors and shades are available to choose from, so that the natural teeth can be matched as closely as possible. This is enabled through the Nauta Photoshade software which is embedded in the DFAB. It provides a range between A1 and A3.5 on the Vita*1 scale, allowing for a huge number of customization possibilities to produce an accurate restoration. The software guides the user step by step through the whole process, from uploading the STL file to the final print job, and hardly any 3D technology knowledge is required.

The stereolithography technology that the DFAB works on, featuring a 40-micron laser spot, allows for an incredibly high level of accuracy and elaborate geometry in the production of prosthetics. Building up the product layer by layer means that the 3D printer can reproduce undercuts, cavities, thin surfaces, and other complex shapes without any difficulty. The incredibly high speed of the printer means that a 5-element bridge can be printed in just 20 minutes. The speed and accuracy, as well as the range of different products that can be made, also mean that a dentist or prosthodontist with a DFAB will have no need for external dental labs, and the patient can be successfully treated in a single visit to the surgery.

The DFAB uses a Class IIa biocompatible material, Temporis*2, specifically designed by DWS. This type of resin is optimized for use in dental prosthetics, but retains the mechanical strength values of more established 3D printing materials. The disposable cartridges that the material comes in are also perfect for use in a dental surgery environment, keeping hygiene standards as high as possible and minimizing the required cleaning and maintenance of the printer. Different resins are available depending on the type of prosthetic required, whether it’s a crown, a bridge, or some kind of framework or surgical guide.

The external design of the 3D printer is sleek and minimal, offering a modern aesthetic revamp to dusty old dental surgeries, and it's available in a desktop or chairside version. Following on from the preview at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting in the US in February, DWS officially launches its new DFAB 3D printer at the IDS (International Dental Show) in Cologne, from March 21-25. It will be available to purchase from July 2017.

 

 

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