Dental additive manufacturing became the first segment to achieve the production of certain end-use parts, effectively fueling growth for all main traditional polymer additive manufacturing hardware and material stakeholders. Photopolymerization (and material jetting, which is a type of photopolymerization) companies like Stratasys, 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, DWS and Prodways – embraced the dental AM segment first.

They were then followed by the leading metal laser PBF hardware providers EOS, 3D Systems, SLM Solutions, Sisma and Renishaw above all. More recently all the leading ceramic AM firms, such as Lithoz, 3D Ceram and XJet are getting involved more directly and seeing significant opportunities.

More recently the next generation of polymer AM companies also entered the arena targeting true digital mass production. Boston-based Formlabs entered the segment providing an accessible and low-cost solution, while SIlicon Valley-based Carbon also entered the market with new materials and the ability to provide very high productivity rates. Both solutions have dramatically increased AM penetration within the entire dental industry at all levels, including the dentist’s office. However, HP was the first company to achieve a million-part application in dentistry by using its technology indirectly, to produce millions of mass customized tools for dental aligners manufactured by Smile Direct. In fact, dental aligners – including those manufactured by market leader Invisalign – are now one of the hottest applications in this segment.

In general, polymer 3D printers and materials are used in dentistry on several levels: to directly produce models from intraoral scans, CT scans and MRI’s; to produce patterns and molds for end-use materials; to produce visual models, surgical guides and even temporaries – with some now envisioning the direct production of permanent prostheses using polymer-nanoceramic composite materials. Metal and ceramic 3D printers and materials are used as real alternatives to subtractive production methods, reducing material waste.

Historically, dental additive manufacturing technologies have been applied in dental laboratories for over two decades, and more recently they have begun to be adopted by dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons. The use of 3D printing in the laboratory and the dentist’s office has been steadily growing for the past several years. Now the dental opportunity has emerged as one of the most relevant for the AM industry as a whole, with literally hundreds of thousands of potential adopters all over the world.

The apparent paradox is that – as dental technologies become more and more established within the dental industry – AM’s visibility within the dental segment has been progressively decreasing, as adopters now increasingly see it as standard practice. In this month’s AM focus we are going to highlight the latest opportunities for AM in dentistry.

  • Desktop Health receives CE certification for Flexcera AM dentures

    Desktop Health, a service recently launched by Desktop Metal, received the Conformité Européenne (CE) Mark certification for its Flexcera resin, a proprietary technology for use in 3D fabrication of high-quality dental prosthetics. The CE Mark affirms that Flexcera resins meet the requirements of the European Medical Devices Directive, paving the…

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  • Desktop Health receives FDA clearance for Flexcera

    Desktop Health, recently launched by Desktop Metal, has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance of FlexceraTM Base, a proprietary resin for use in 3D fabrication of high-quality dental prosthetics. Flexcera Base along with the new FlexceraTM Smile are Desktop Health’s first formulated and optimized digital dental solutions.…

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  • Nexa3D launches large-format dental lab 3D printer

    Nexa3D, launched its NXD200, a new dental lab 3D printer. NXD200 3D printer features patented LSPc technology that combines a large build area, print uniformity, advanced process algorithms, modular design for on-site automation, and intelligent optimization. The NXD200 is available with all of Keystone’s KeyPrint resins, including KeySplint Soft which…

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  • Wall Colmonoy introduces Wallex cobalt chromium AM powders

    Wall Colmonoy introduces a new range of Wallex cobalt-chromium additive manufacturing powders and cast discs for the dental industry. The Wallex cobalt-chromium powders for additive manufacturing or 3D printing are ideal for dental implants, partial denture, and prosthetics, due to excellent biocompatibility, strength, and wear resistance. The Wallex cobalt-chromium powders…

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  • Photocentric partners with Danish dental innovators 3Shape

    The LC Magna, a large LED stereolithography 3D printer from Photocentric, has been integrated with 3Shape’s Clear Aligner Enterprise software solution. Developed specifically for designing clear aligners, 3Shape’s software provides a flexible and scalable option for a digital production process. Speaking about the partnership, Lea Williams, Photocentric’s Head of Sales…

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  • Prodways introduces PLASTCure Absolute Aligner material

    Prodways Tech, a specialist in global 3D printing solutions for industrial manufacturing, unveiled PLASTCure Absolute Aligner, a new and innovative material integrated into its range of PLASTCure line of resin for its ProMaker MovingLight 3D printers. Specifically developed by the Prodways Materials team to optimize 3D printing of aligner models,…

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  • Formlabs launches Scan to Model software to convert intraoral scans for 3D printing

    Formlabs is introducing Scan to Model, a new feature in its PreForm software that is designed to convert intraoral scans into easily 3D printable models. Dental professionals can use Scan to Model as an entry point into digital dentistry workflows without having prior experience with digital dental design software. Creating…

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  • An example of Candid's clear aligners and the scanning kit used to customize them.

    Candid and Carbon partner to produce clear aligners for orthodontics

    3D-printed orthodontics have come a long way in the past three years, and Carbon and Candid’s new  partnership to produce models for clear aligners that straighten teeth is grist for this mill. Carbon’s L1 printers and DLS process allow Candid to introduce Candid Pro, its “orthodontics-as-a-service” doctor-driven clear aligner therapy.…

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  • ZARE acquires majority stake in medical and dental AM devices firm Proxera

    After joining the BEAMIT Group, ZARE has now acquired a majority stake in the additive manufacturing (AM) medical company Proxera. As a result of this acquisition, one of the leading metal AM service providers in Europe will now also enter the high-growth market for 3D printed metal implants. The Proxera…

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  • Nexa3D's printer, which will be deployed with Keystone to manufacture products for the dental industry.

    Nexa3D and Keystone partner to deliver AM to the dental industry

    Nexa3D‘s NXE 400 3D printers will be able to use all Keystone KeyPrint 3D printing resins for the global dental industry. This includes Keystone’s FDA-cleared night guard resin, KeySplint Soft and KeyModel Ultra. All Keystone precision dental resins are manufactured in the USA, and available through Nexa3D’s expanding global channels.  The…

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