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.

  • Carbon appoints Terri Capriolo as Senior VP to lead oral health

    Carbon, a leading 3D printing technology company, has appointed Terri Capriolo as the Senior Vice President of Oral Health. Capriolo brings extensive healthcare industry expertise and impressive sales experience to the new role from tenures at National Dentex, Solvay Dental 360, and Straumann. Capriolo’s appointment is effective immediately, reporting directly…

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  • Stratasys and 3Shape partner on color dental models

    Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS) and intraoral 3D scanner specialist 3Shape are introducing a new automated 3D printing color workflow using 3Shape’s Dental System software and the Stratasys J5 DentaJet 3D printer. Using an intraoral scanner and 3Shape’s software, dental labs can capture both color and geometric information of the patient’s…

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  • Digital Smile Design (DSD) officially partners with Formlabs Dental

    Digital Smile Design (DSD), a company using 3D printing technology to enable advanced dentistry, and Formlabs Dental, a division of Formlabs, a 3D printing technology developer and manufacturer, have entered a new collaboration – underlining DSD’s continued commitment to joining forces with key organizations who share the same values, a…

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  • Smiling at scale

    Clear aligners continue to increase in demand and 3D printing has proven to be an ideal technology to produce these mass-customized devices. Silicon Valley-based Carbon has made clear aligners one of its top priorities for expansion in the European market by offering the most seamless solution to produce them at…

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  • SprintRay launches OnX Tough for dental prosthetics

    SprintRay Inc., an industry leader in digital dentistry and 3D printing solutions, has launched OnX Tough, a next-generation hybrid ceramic resin designed for 3D printing dental applications. Leveraging SprintRay’s proprietary NanoFusion technology, this new resin delivers durability and lifelike translucency for high-quality, same-day dental prosthetics. “SprintRay was founded on the promise…

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  • Desktop Health receives FDA clearance for SmileGuard resin. SmileGuard enables the printing of bite splints, night guards, and mouth guards.

    Desktop Health receives FDA clearance for SmileGuard resin

    Desktop Health, a healthcare business within Desktop Metal Inc, committed to developing 3D printing solutions for personalized medicine, has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for the company’s SmileGuard resin – a breakthrough light-curable, biocompatible material for the fabrication of strong and flexible bite splints and other…

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  • Nexa3D releases Professional Series upgrade for its NXD 200. The NXD 200Pro dental 3D printer delivers higher productivity.

    Nexa3D releases Professional Series upgrade for its NXD 200

    Nexa3D, the maker of ultrafast polymer 3D printers for industrial and dental applications, has released the NXD 200Pro – its new Professional Series upgrade for its NXD 200 dental 3D printer. Based on Nexa3D’s ultrafast LSPc technology, the Pro Series delivers higher productivity and model accuracy with greater print success.…

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  • Desktop Health and Keystone form dental partnership. Making Keystone's dental 3D resins available on Desktop Health’s Einstein printer.

    Desktop Health and Keystone form dental 3D printing partnership

    Desktop Health, a healthcare business within Desktop Metal committed to developing 3D printing solutions for personalized medicine, and Keystone Industries, a dental manufacturer of biocompatible, cutting-edge, patented photopolymer resins, have partnered to make a broad range of Keystone 3D printing dental resins available on Desktop Health’s Einstein printer, beginning with…

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  • Acrotec and AddUp partner for the future of MedTech. Developing metal 3D printing technology for implants and instruments.

    Acrotec and AddUp partner for the future of MedTech

    Acrotec, one of the largest European medical contract manufacturers, and AddUp, a global metal additive manufacturing OEM, are partnering and combining their expertise – providing an industrial solution for the Medtech industry. Developing metal 3D printing technology for implants and instruments for surgeons and health professionals. Thanks to a reduction…

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  • SprintRay Crown by BEGO - a ceramic-filled hybrid material for dentistry. The material costs only $2 and takes less than 60 minutes to print.

    SprintRay introduces Crown by BEGO ceramic-filled resin for dentistry

    SprintRay has released SprintRay Crown by BEGO – a 3D printing resin developed to help improve the quality, and accessibility, of customized restorative care in digital dentistry. The SprintRay Crown by BEGO hybrid material was developed through the collaboration of the two companies – SprintRay, a dental technology company building…

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