How 3D Technology is Transforming Dentistry

In the past, having any type of dental procedure done was a bit of a lengthy process. Let’s take for example a new crown. The dentist first begins by reshaping your tooth to be able to accommodate a crown. Next, the dentist would have to take a mold of your newly shaped tooth. Yes, that means the misshapen trays with the repulsive tasting goop is squished up into your mouth. And you wait and wait for it to dry, all the while barley breathing out of your nose and trying your hardest not to swallow any of the goop. The dentist tests a bit of escaped goop to check the hardness. No, not done yet, so you wait some more. Once the mold is ready, the dentist will pry it off your teeth, package it up, and send it out to a lab. Then the dentist gives you a temporary crown, only for you to come back in 10 days for another procedure once your real crown is ready. Thankfully, with new technology, this process seems to be a thing of the past.

Start to Finish in One Appointment

Enter 3D modeling and printing technology. New to the dental world are small cameras able to take a quick scan of your broken tooth or crown. This camera is so minimally invasive that the entire photographing procedure takes only a matter of minutes. Once the scan is collected the image is sent to an onsite machine that is able to mill the new crown on site at the dentist office. The beauty of the whole thing is that you can conveniently stay at the dentist office in the waiting room. To create a new tooth the process takes about an hour. From there, another addition 15 minutes are required to prepare the new crown for your mouth. You then need to hop back into the dentist chair and you can be out the door the same day with a brand new crown.

The Price of Technology

With the 3D modeling technology dentists are essentially cutting out the need to work directly with a lab and taking matters into their own hands. The machine required to create the images and mill the new crown costs about $100,000. However, using the new technology and printing device means that the final product can end up costing about one-tenth of price when working with traditional molds. The technology doesn’t just end with crowns either as dentists are adopting the same technology to create bridges and models for more complicated surgeries.

Limitations

While the technology has certainly done wonders for patients there are a few limitations to the technology for now. With what is available to dentists, they are unable to take any images below the gum line. This means that any underlying issues for surgeries that must be addressed still must be performed the traditional way. Unfortunately this means that the 3D printing technology might not be the best for highly visible front teeth. As technology advances though, 3D printing for dentistry is sure to be on the forefront of invention. Our dentistry is at the forefront of technology and offer 3D imaging for procedures. Stop by our website to see what we offer.