3D printing continues to have a tremendous impact on the health and wellbeing of patients around the world. More and more facilities can now tailor implants to patients and offer specific surgical models thanks to the 3D printing innovation. Recently, the FDA approved the technology for the creation of replacement teeth, including partials and dentures, and it is having a tremendous impact on patients’ lives.
The Old Method
Once upon a time, patients who needed dentures and partial dentures had to attend multiple sessions with their dentists. Molds were made of the insides of the patients’ mouths, and these molds were used to create resin composites designed for a perfect fit. Denture wearers know that an improper fit causes pain, discomfort, speech difficulty, and embarrassment. Fortunately, thanks to the FDA’s approval of a new 3D printing process, things are changing for the better. 3D printers are much more precise than other molding methods, and they take less time, too.
What Patients Can Expect
Since the 3D printing technology is still relatively new to most dental practices, patients should not expect it to be widespread yet. What’s more, even if their dentist does offer such services, they are still quite expensive and most insurance plans will not cover them. Fortunately, with the new FDA approval comes more acceptance from insurance companies. Experts believe that 3D printing will inevitably become the “standard” for creating dentures and partials in the future.
This Changes Everything
Today, patients who need traditional dentures must wait weeks or even months after their extractions before they can be fitted. This is because the molds are usually sent to laboratories responsible for hand-creating dentures based on the molds. With 3D printing, it will eventually be possible for dentists to provide dentures to their patients in days rather than weeks or months. 3D printers are much faster and more efficient than traditional methods used to create dentures, and the resins used in the process are more comfortable, according to patients.
In the Future
Right now, the FDA has only approved the construction of the bases of these dentures via 3D printing. The actual teeth in the dentures is made of acrylic resins that are much different from the bases, but experimentation continues. Like the denture bases, the FDA will need to approve the 3D replacement teeth before they will become available in dentists’ offices. With all of the benefits, the increased turnaround time, and the ability to provide a higher level of patient care, most dentists expect that such approval will come in due time. For now, the ability to provide a higher-quality base for full and partial dentures – and in less time – is a reality.
Thanks to 3D printing technology, doctors can save more lives. Now, thanks to the recent FDA approval for the 3D printing of denture plates and bases, dentists can change more lives for the better, and in record time. New 3D printing technologies, such as this 3D pen, show us that the possibilities are truly limitless.