3D Printing Technology and Fabrication of Models In-Lab
By Jamie Stover, CDT
Technology continues to shape the way dentistry is done. Every aspect of the restorative process has changed, from the way a dentist acquires an impression of the patient’s mouth to the fabrication methods utilized in the dental lab. The transition from labor intensive, hands-on fabrication methods of alloy-based restorations to CAD/CAM design and the latest all-ceramic materials has yielded strong and esthetic monolithic restorations in less time and at a lower price. Dental labs also have viable options for producing models digitally in-house versus purchasing CAD/CAM models from another lab/manufacturer or fabricating traditional stone models.
The two basic forms of technology utilized to fabricate restorations and models today are additive (3D printing) and reductive (milling). This article discusses the common types of 3D printing technology utilized in dental labs and illustrates digital model fabrication from a 3D printer with actual cases and different restorative applications.