The Sacramento Dentistry Group pays close attention to new dental technologies and adapts them to our practice whenever it seems practical and beneficial for our patients. For example, our dentists regularly use a desktop milling machine to produce our own crowns. A milling machine takes a ceramic block and removes material to create a dental appliance. A 3D printer, however, works in the opposite direction, adding material according to a digital plan, to create a final product.
3D printing for dentistry is still in its infancy. It is useful for certain products, such as nightguards, bonding trays, and dental implant guides. For more permanent appliances, such as crowns, bridges, and dentures, 3D printing can only create temporaries that a patient uses until the final product is ready.
The chief problem is that the materials laid down by a 3D printer are softer than the hard substances such as ceramics and zirconia used in milling machines to make crowns and the like. Researchers are studying ways to make 3D printers use tougher and more durable source materials, but this process is still a ways off from widespread acceptance. If this problem is conquered, then just like the desktop milling machine, more dental practices may adopt 3D printing.
In the meantime, the Sacramento Dentistry Group continues to use the best avenues available to serve our clients. For more information about how we can help you have the best dental health possible, contact us online or by calling 916-538-6900.