Stratasys 3D Printer creates realistic dental models
March 16, 2015
by Mark Ollig

Last week we traveled to Barcelona, Spain for the 2015 Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference.

This week’s Bits & Bytes takes us to Germany.

The 2015 International Dental Show (IDS), held last week in Cologne, Germany, is considered the world’s largest dentistry and dental technology trade fair.

An estimated 125,000 people attended this event to view some 2,200 exhibitors from 56 countries.

One of the most talked about technical advancements in the dental industry appears to be 3D printing.

A company called Stratasys, one of the IDS exhibitors, presented their new Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer.

Stratasys Ltd. is headquartered in Minneapolis and in Rehovot, Israel.

Their Facebook page company overview says they are “a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions.”

What captured my attention is how their new 3D printer; using advanced triple-jetting technology, is able to create such incredibly true-to-life dental teeth and gum models.

The Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer makes use of a patient’s dental image file (obtained from an intra-oral scanner device used by dentists), to create a customized, and extremely life-like dental model with realistic teeth and gums.

Stratasys’ new 3D printer employs PolyJet technology, which includes 16-micron layer resolution, and high-precision, 3D layered specialized photopolymers used in the dental industry.

I contacted the press representative for Stratasys, and was given permission to use the following questions asked by Galit Lipkis-Beck, senior marketing specialist at Stratasys, and the answers provided by Avi Cohen, Stratasys’ director of Global Dental.

The following Q&A is from the Stratasys company blog:

Galit: How does the new Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer benefit dental and orthodontic labs?

Avi: There is a lot of focus on intra-oral color scanning these days. Stratasys’ ability to produce ultra-realistic dental models with multiple materials and colors in a single print is taking digital dentistry to the next level.

The business benefits for lab owners are many: virtually any kind of dental model can be 3D printed to create realistic visualization of the complete oral situation, accurately and consistently. With these 3D- printed models, errors are not only reduced, but can be mostly avoided. The results are not only more precise, but the colorful, easy-to-understand models increase lab customer and patient satisfaction.

Galit: Can you tell us a little bit more about the types of applications possible with the Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer?

Avi: The Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer can have a significant role in implant testing, with 3D printed dental models that mimic the look and feel of real gingiva for accurate functional evaluation, as well as dental models with gum-like features or a mix of rigid and gum-like components. It can also produce a mix of rigid veneers of different dental shades for customized color matching.

These capabilities directly contribute to far better accuracy for the dental practitioners, who can see every detail on the dental model. It also provides better understanding for the patient. In other words, labs can 3D print surgical guides directly from CBCT scan data, with high-definition tooth, root and nerve-canal anatomy rendered in contrasting materials to help prevent dental nerve injury.

Galit: And finally, can you discuss the challenges that lab owners face today?

Avi: When you think about it, dental professionals have the same objectives that all businesses do – increase profitability, improve the customer experience, and be better than the competition. In today’s dental environment, success does not come easy. Procedures are becoming increasingly complex and expensive and they do not always deliver the desired customer experience.

In my view, to succeed, labs need to move beyond traditional methods and shift to the latest advancements in dental methodology. Intra-oral color scanners are becoming increasingly widespread, and 3D printing technology is part of the solution. The new versatile Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer is part of this end-to-end digital dentistry workflow. It improves labs day-to-day activities, by providing a more realistic perspective to support dental treatment, broaden the range of applications, and increase their scale of operation.

I appreciate Stratasys for their permission to reprint this Q&A for my readers.

Their blog is located at: http://blog.stratasys.com.

You can follow them on Twitter using: @Stratasys.

See the Stratasys Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer at: http://bit.ly/1BxxvMw.

The website for the 2015 International Dental Show is: http://bit.ly/1xFBjXg.

No doubt about it; we will soon be seeing dentists using advanced-technology 3D printers like the Stratasys Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer, in their offices for creating customized, and realistic-looking dental models for their patients.

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