Report on 3D printing in dentistry and the rise of cosmetic treatments

Posted on September 27, 2022 by clear

Dentistry offers an ever-growing market for 3D printing. According to a recent report by BlueWeave Consulting on the dental 3D printing market, it is expected to be worth $12.18 billion by 2028. The report highlights the needs of an aging population. and rapid technological advances. In short, patients need treatment and 3D printing can provide it. However, the demand is not just for the treatment of debilitating conditions. It is important to recognize the growing demand for cosmetic dental treatments to improve appearance.

First, one of the reasons for this growth is clear demand. Aesthetics and dentistry are inextricably linked and it is difficult to separate purely aesthetic procedures from purely practical procedures. Indeed, according to a contributor to British Dental Journal, ‘there is no non-aesthetic dentist’. The effect of problems such as crooked, stained or broken teeth on self-esteem and confidence is well documented. Also, visually imperfect teeth may have been acceptable years ago, which they sometimes are not today. In the United States, myriads of people, from Hollywood celebrities to the 77-year-old sitting president, have undergone observable dental treatment, resulting in a youthful and healthy appearance. Increasingly, patients are following these examples and looking for aesthetic solutions. As the demand for dentistry increases, this is where 3D printing comes in.

Image of a 3D printed dental arch

3D printed dental arch model. Photo credit: dentalnews.com

CAD and CAM were pioneered in dentistry by Dr François Duret. In 1980 he purchased his first patent for CadCam technology. In 1985 in Paris, he made the first crown using this method. CAD and CAM involve the collection of non-digital data, which is then converted into a digital format on a computer and used to make a physical model. This is called a digital workflow. 3D printing in dentistry has grown tremendously since those early days and continues to have many benefits when applied in the field.

Application of additive manufacturing in dentistry

As these become more and more popular, 3D printing is also becoming a way to produce quick and patient-specific solutions. According to this latest report, the most popular application on the market is prosthodontics (the creation of artificial teeth). Orthodontics and implantology also hold significant market shares. They also note that 3D printing is used in dentistry to create patient-specific models of complex geometry.

Additionally, dentists can create orthodontic implants and retainers, as well as models to illustrate the mouth. Additive manufacturing is faster than traditional methods and produces little waste because CAD means the machine creates the desired product with precision. Increased efficiency can mean a single dental visit rather than several, which is convenient and beneficial for anxious patients. For these procedures, the report notes that the most popular technique in terms of market share is VAT light curing.but FDM and SLS are also common.

Man working at computer looking at 3D model

The mouth scan was converted into a 3D dental arch model

There are of course limits to the use of 3D printing in dentistry. The report mentions that there is a shortage of manpower trained in 3D printing. Within the clinics, the individual must understand the medical requirement – the demand – and be trained in AM in order to produce the solutions. In short, they need to know what they need and how to make it. The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused labor shortages due to shutdowns and limited training opportunities, further limiting growth. Upfront machine costs are often high, which is why 3D printing processing is limited to those willing to pay for it. This means that those who can afford an optional cosmetic treatment are more likely to be able to afford a clinic that implements 3D solutions. However, given the profitability of 3D printing in general, it seems likely that the technology will become even more widespread. To learn more, an overview of the full report is available HERE.

What do you think of the link between aesthetic procedures and 3D dental solutions? Do you think this is the most contributing factor to tooth growth 3D printing market? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebookand Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our Youtube channel.