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The two main advantages of 3D printed dental implants are that they will be accurate and will be quick. Currently, according to Dr. Bruce Freeman, an orthodontist, a dental implant is created by a milling machine working on a block of polymer. The process is hardly quick and is not as accurate as it could be. The procedure is a time consuming and invasive procedure that does not all the time account for cosmetics and long term functionality.
3-D printing of dental implants allows for quick production, pin point accuracy, at lower cost and greater durability. Once the parameters of a tooth are programmed into a 3-D printer, it produces it automatically, freeing up dental technicians for higher level tasks.
One other virtue of 3-D printed dental implants is that it facilitates easy and quick replacements of damaged implants. Imagine a scenario in which a person cracks one of his or her implants, creating an unsightly smile. That person has an important business meeting or perhaps a romantic encounter planned for the next day in which appearance is important.
Under the old way of milling dental implants, that person is essentially out of luck. He or she would just have to not smile during the meeting or date, which itself is disadvantageous.
However with the ability to 3-D print dental implants, all the dental surgeon has to do is to call up his or her patient’s files, start up the printer, and when the patient arrives, unscrew the old implant and replace it with the new one. Thus 3-D printing, which promises to change so much of our lives for the better, will change dentistry in particular.