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3D printing is certainly not a brand new concept. It has numerous applications, and more are being discovered each day. A logical next step in many industries, from design to manufacturing, 3D printing has been evolving over the last five years and showing no signs of slowing down.
According to this January 2, 2014 press release, overall world demand for 3D printing technology will rise by 20% per year through 2017, resulting in $5 billion in software sales.
“Some of the fastest growth will be seen in the medical and dental market, with especially good opportunities expected in dental applications such as braces, prostheses, crowns, bridges, dental aligners, and models for dental restoration procedures.”
The main advantage of using 3D printing in dental applications is that it can be used in conjunction with traditional procedures, such as oral scanning and CAD/CAM design. 3D printing’s ease of use means there’s no steep learning curve or adjustment to routines required.
Here are five reasons why 3D printing is good for your business, whether you run a traditional dental office, a lab, or a small clinic:
1) Time Savings – 3D printing speeds up production of dental products, including bridges, crowns, and other orthodontic appliances. In addition, the software is easy for staff members to learn. Both of these benefits result in lower costs and higher ROI for practices.
2) Accuracy – 3D printing takes the guesswork out of using physical models, meaning fewer adjustments on patients are required. It also eliminates the need to use hands, cutting tools, and milling machines that need constant modifications.
3) Convenience – Many patients will no longer have to make physical impressions. This change alleviates their discomfort and enhances customer satisfaction.
4) Space Savings – Models can be stored digitally, freeing up a great deal of space in your office. This is especially helpful if you run a small business.
5) Going Green - Many people think only of the obvious advantages of using technology and software over paper for documentation purposes (i.e. the paperless office). However, by using 3D printing for dental procedures, you’ll be eliminating actual material waste that could harm the environment, including milling waste from dental stone and zirconium.
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