What Can 3D Printing Be Used For at the Periodontist’s Office?
3D printing over the last few years has been revolutionizing the dental field. In periodontics 3D printing technology has several applications. Dr. Evan Santiago of East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry feels that this technology is the standard of care for dental implants, fabrication of night guards, temporary restorations, and teeth whitening.
Greater Precision for Surgical Procedures
Years ago, dental surgeons had to rely on x-ray measurements and their hand skills to place implants in narrow spaces with limited bone and nearby nerves. Today, we can use a dental 3D printer combined with digital impressions and cone beam x-rays to create greater precision for surgical procedures. With a quick scan of your mouth, a digital model is combined with your x-ray in digital software to fabricate and print a custom surgical guide for the placement of your implant. Pre-planning your case in the software allows us to find the optimal space and angle for your implant, which leads to shorter surgery appointments and better long-term outcomes.
“When possible I recommend doing every implant with a 3D printed guide to make sure we are placing implants in optimal bone so that patients can get the most use of their implants for years to come,” says Dr. Santiago.
Night Guards Made Same-Day
A night guard is a removable custom appliance worn at night to protect your teeth from clenching and grinding. Before 3D printing, you had to wait several weeks for an independent lab to receive your stone model and make your appliance. Digital scanning with an intraoral camera has significantly decreased wait time.
After a scan of your mouth is captured, it is converted into a digital model where your dentist can design a custom guard that fits your unique teeth. Your night guard is printed using the in-house 3D printer. The new appliance will be ready to protect your teeth in a few hours.
Using the advanced technology of a 3D printer, the cost of a night guard may be lower than traditional lab-created ones. There aren’t any shipping or labor fees, and the dental office can pass the savings on to you.
The digital scan of your mouth is also easy to save. Having your digital impression stored makes replacing a broken or lost night guard easy. Instead of having another round of gooey impressions, your periodontist can locate your file and reprint your night guard the same day.
“It is great to deliver a more affordable night guard to patients while maintaining quality! Patients love the fit of the 3D printed guards and best of all, they can be reprinted easily should the patient lose or damage their guard,” according to Dr. Santiago.
A Better Fit for Teeth Whitening Trays
Impression materials and stone models have been a reliable way to make custom whitening trays for decades. But the impression material often does not include the fine details of your mouth. Digital impressions are far more accurate and create more precise models. When your whitening trays are made from a more detailed model, they will have a better fit to contain the whitening solution so that it does not irritate your gums.
Temporary splints or crowns can be fabricated with a 3D printer to reduce the time spent in the chair and to create a better shape and fit until a permanent crown can be made. Being able to 3D print temporary crowns and appliances in-office also allows us to provide treatment now without having to wait for the dental lab.
Turn to Dr. Santiago for Precise, Comfortable Care
3D printing is an asset to any dental office. At East Bay Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, Dr. Santiago utilizes this technology to provide patients with better, faster, more comfortable, and more convenient dental treatment. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of the latest dental technology and how it can help with your treatment.