Living the Digital Dream with 3D Printing

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It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago 3D printers were a luxury afforded only by dental labs and high-end practices. Today, advances in 3D printing technology and materials have made the modality more accessible to general practitioners. Several factors – including resolution, build volume and software – impact the cost and intuitiveness of a 3D printer.
Similar to chairside milling, the typical 3D printing workflow encompasses about four steps, starting with a digital scan and ending with washing, drying and post-curing of printed parts. Sandwiched in between are designing the application and importing the digital file to a 3D printing software for in-house fabrication.
What can a 3D printer create? The growing list includes models for crowns, bridges and clear aligners; surgical guides; splints and occlusal guards; retainers; and full dentures. Several manufacturers offer 3D printing resins tailored to the job at hand, and recent advancements have made in possible to 3D print permanent crowns in-office at a fraction of the cost of a lab-fabricated crown.
SprintRay Pro S

The Pro S desktop 3D printer from SprintRay takes speed to new heights with its “Bolt Optimized” printing speed, which allows users to print most appliances in under 30 minutes. As part of the full SprintRay 3D printing ecosystem – which includes cloud-based design and printing software, the Pro Wash/Dry automated cleaning system and the ProCure 2 – Pro S features upgraded onboard intelligence and a network of embedded sensors that require minimal supervision. SprintRay Cloud Design is a fully integrated platform that allows users to manage treatments, order designs and then 3D print them in the office for a truly frictionless digital workflow.
Primeprint Solution

Dentsply Sirona’s highly automated Primeprint Solution is an end-to-end, medical-grade 3D printing solution for dentists who wish to expand their treatment offerings. The printer uses digital light processing (DLP) technology, which polymerizes resins using UV light layer by layer, while the post-processing unit washes, dries and light-cures printed objects in a fully automated process. Dentists and technicians can easily control the printing process using inLab CAM Software 22.0 (for example, to adjust parameters before printing). RFID tags and intelligent material management ensure Primeprint can predict any required maintenance.
Meet the Doctors Using This Technology
 

Owner of Swamp Rabbit Dental in Greenville, South Carolina, Dr. Parks Alexander earned his dental degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 2004. He provides his patients with advanced cosmetic and restorative dentistry, including single-visit crowns and implants.
Why Did You Choose SprintRay?
I ended up choosing SprintRay because it was highly recommended by lab technicians who had experience using 3D printers from a variety of manufacturers. The accompanying RayWare software is intuitive and easy to use, which allows me and my team to easily close models and calibrate resin materials. You also can use a variety of resins, either from SprintRay’s library of materials or one of its third-party resin partners.
What Does SprintRay Allow You to Do In-House?
At first, I was just printing models from a digital scan, which was already a game change. Now, I’m 3D printing immediate dentures, lingual retainers, night guards, temps and wax-ups, implant surgical guides, sinus bump guides and models with blockouts for bleaching trays. It’s hard to imagine that we may be able to 3D print even more applications in the future as resin materials and printer technology continue to advance.
What’s Been the Biggest Impact?
3D printing is transformational. For example, digital dentures have streamlined my denture workflow. Also, wax-ups are quick, easy and cheap. Using the SprintRay printer with our intraoral scanner has improved the patient experience in terms of comfort, as digital scans and 3D-printed models are preferred to taking traditional impressions. 3D printing also has improved treatment outcome predictability and quality.
Any Words of Advice?
Whether you’re just printing models or a high volume of dentures and permanent crowns, you can’t afford not to invest in this technology. 3D printing will change the way you do so many cases. It will streamline your processes, lower your lab cost significantly, and you will reap the many benefits of predictability in your treatment outcomes. It’s a win-win-win situation!

Dr. Mike Skramstad is a certified advanced CEREC trainer and has lectured internationally on technology, implantology and digital dentistry. He maintains a successful restorative practice in Orono, Minnesota, focusing on esthetic, implant and CAD/CAM dentistry.
Why Did You Choose Primeprint?
Three reasons: integration, ease of use and safety. Primeprint integrates seamlessly with my current Dentsply Sirona equipment workflows. The cartridge resin system and separate alcohol baths create a contained system so I can confidently delegate 100% of my 3D printing jobs to staff. As 3D printing evolves, more of our 3D printed parts are going in patients’ mouths. I want to be sure they’re 100% clean and fully cured with no monomer, and the automated workflow in both the software and the Primeprint PPU ensures this.
What Does Primeprint Allow You to Do In-House?
Primeprint has allowed me to turn my office into a completely digital one. For example, my staff can scan patients for bleach trays and the CEREC software allows the models to be ready to print with the click of a button. Staff truly enjoy not taking impressions and pouring up models. We also do splints, as the integrated workflow and design services available in DS Core make it extremely efficient, with no adjustments.
What’s Been the Biggest Impact?
The biggest revenue increase with Primeprint has definitely been splints. Keeping them in-house allows us to turn them around faster and saves quite a bit of money. We also keep the patient’s splint design on file, which allows us to print another at any time, resulting in a better overall patient experience.
Any Words of Advice?
You can’t become a completely digital office without 3D printing. If you invest in an integrated solution, your staff can do 100% of the printing. When I look at purchasing new equipment for my office, the first question I ask is: “Will it allow me to do procedures that I could not do in-office before, and will those procedures be efficient and productive?” I feel 3D printing checks both of those boxes.
This story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Advantage by Patterson Dental magazine.

About Post Author

Patterson Dental

At Patterson Dental, we are committed to partnering with dental practices of all sizes to help oral health professionals practice extraordinary dentistry. We do this by living up to our promise of Trusted Expertise, Unrivaled Support every day.

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