3D Dental Manufacturing Materials and Resins

3D printing is transforming industries ranging from dentistry to footwear. Growing demand for dental appliances like aligners, retainers, and night guards combined with the latest advancements in digital dentistry and 3D printing provides offices many manufacturing advantages over using an external dental lab or service bureau. 

Using 3D printing for dental manufacturing requires selecting the appropriate 3D printing materials and resins. There is a broad and growing range of 3D printing materials and resins for dental manufacturing. Different appliances can benefit from these dental materials to improve performance, fit, and production time. Using the right 3D printing solution and materials can enable new business models in the dental industry, both for practitioners and service providers like dental labs.

Why Use 3D Printing for Dental?

There are several areas where 3D printing systems provide significant advantages over traditional manufacturing methods for dental appliances. These advantages range from productivity and cost competitiveness to patient experience and workflow. Here’s where 3D printing shows its benefits in dental manufacturing:

Customization

Companies can use 3D printers to print one-off customized appliances without the need for tooling. Retainers and night guards, or specialized tools like surgical guides, are customized appliances that require careful design to fit the patient. Traditional processes apply to this customization, but thermoforming, grinding, and polishing are time-consuming. Instead, 3D printing works by directly fabricating a custom dental appliance from an intraoral scan with fewer post-processing steps and in less time.

Flexible Application

The workflow involved in 3D printing is the same for a broad range of products. Because 3D printers don’t require any tooling, a single printer can print various dental appliances using multiple materials. The best 3D printing systems for dental manufacturing will bundle a scanner, 3D printer, and software, creating a holistic workflow for 3D-printed dental products.

Speed for Patients

3D printing eliminates the need for thermoforming, grinding, and polishing steps in dental manufacturing, and a 3D-printed dental appliance is much faster than traditional processes. Dentists that use the right 3D printing system can fabricate an appliance, finish post-processing, and send it to the patient on the same day.

Material Compatibility

Newer 3D printing resins for dental appliances are biocompatible and congruous with a range of printing systems. LuxCreo explicitly designs all 3D printing resins for the production of implantable dental appliances and realistic dental models. Newer resins have received FDA approval for use in dental appliances and provide the same material properties as traditional acrylic-based materials used in night guards.

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Why Choosing the Right 3D Printing System is Important

3D printers implement specific printing processes that need to match compatible materials and end-use products. Dentists and service providers can use specific 3D printing systems to transform their businesses while also delivering high-quality dental appliances to their customers.

  1. Simplified workflow/Reduced Post Processing

    Surface Finish/Clarity

  2. Printing Speed

    The best 3D printing systems for dental manufacturing use an optical process with biocompatible photosensitive resins, enabling batch dental manufacturing with high throughput, quality, and biocompatibility. This process ensures safety, improves the patient’s experience, and helps expedite treatment. It also enables a new business model for dentists and dental labs to produce appliances, post-process them, and complete delivery to the customer on the same day.

  3. Product Quality and Printing Accuracy

    Because dental appliances are highly customized, they need to be manufactured with very high accuracy to ensure a patient’s comfortable fit. Optical 3D printing with resins is one of the most accurate processes for one-off customization and critical for high-quality 3D printed dental appliances. Today’s advanced 3D printing systems don’t sacrifice speed for quality. They are cost-competitive compared to traditional or computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) processes for dental appliances.

  4. Application-Specific Solutions

    3D printing requires specific software that can translate a CAD model for a product into printing instructions; the best printers provide a specialized software package that makes this conversion seamless. The synergy between 3D printing and compatible software helps achieve a standard that isn’t obtained by mixing and matching different materials and printing systems.

    This bundled package also speeds up the printing workflow and ensures products are of the highest quality. The user can tailor the system to the specific product application, which streamlines the user’s workflow. These types of systems have enabled efficient 3D manufacturing for a range of unique products, including dental appliances, footwear, medical devices, and much more.

Choosing Dental Resins for 3D Printing

Dental resins for 3D printing need to match the appliance and printing system to provide similar properties as traditional dental materials. Biocompatibility, printing speed, and cost are essential factors to consider when selecting dental resins.

The table below shows LuxCreo’s selection of photosensitive resins for 3D printing dental appliances. These methacrylate-based materials are used in digital light processing (DLP) 3D printers for manufacturing a variety of dental appliances. They provide similar mechanical properties to standard materials used in dental manufacturing with competitive costs. These materials are also tested against ASTM standards for mechanical and sorption properties.

Material   Attributes Applications
DMR High strength, high hardness opaque resin Dental models for thermoforming
DSG High strength, durability, hardness resin with low absorption and solubility, ISO 10993 biocompatible Orthodontic surgical guides
DNG Clear, moderately flexible material for high-speed 3D printing Retainers, nightguards, and dental splints
DTI Moderately flexible material, ISO 10993 biocompatible 3D printed dental models for clinical try-in use
DCB Moderately flexible, ISO 10993 biocompatible material meant to mimic real teeth Dental crowns and bridges
DCR Flexible ash-free 3D printed casting resin with low shrinkage High-quality metal castings, crowns and bridges, and frameworks
DIBT Clear, soft, flexible material with high viscosity Indirect bonding trays for precise bracket placement
DGM Very soft material that mimics the look and feel of gum tissue Gingival masks for dental restoration
DDB ISO 10993 biocompatible material with low shrinkage, high resolution, and moderate flexibility Denture bases

3D Dental Manufacturing Shopping List

Materials are just one component dentists and dental labs need for 3D dental manufacturing. Dentists and labs that want to use 3D printing for dental appliance manufacturing need an adaptable 3D printer that can support multiple materials and a dental scanner and software bundle that is compatible with the printing system.

With so many dental resins and printing systems available for 3D dental manufacturing, it helps to work with a 3D printing partner to help determine the best printer, materials, and software for your needs. LuxCreo’s 3D printers, specialized dental resins, and software offer a complete application-specific dental manufacturing solution.

Learn more about finding the right 3D manufacturing tools for your needs: https://luxcreo.com/products/

Dental Labs: Lux 3+ Dental 3D Printer

LuxCreo’s flagship 3D printer for dental manufacturing is the Lux 3+ Dental 3D printer. This printer supports all the materials and appliances listed above, and integrates with LuxCreo’s specialized software packages for consistent high-throughput and high yield at a production scale for dental labs and large orthodontic groups.

High build volume: 192×120×200 mm3
High X/Y resolution: 76.5 μm (DLP)
High throughput:
Advanced materials: uses methacrylate-based resins listed above
Large X/Y printing area: allows batch printing of small dental products

Chairside: iLux Dental 3D Printer for “Same Day” Service

LuxCreo’s iLux and iLux Pro 3D printers are the most scalable 3D printing solutions for digital dentistry with best in class clear direct printing achieving 90% labor savings and 90% labor savings.. iLux Pro clear, fast, and accurate dental manufacturing solution enables a new level of customer service with “same day” service. iLux and iLux Pro support all the materials and appliances listed above, and integrate with LuxCreo’s specialized software packages for consistent high-throughput and high yield at a production scale

High build volume: 192×120×200 mm3
High X/Y resolution: 25 μm with 4K LCD projection screen
High throughput:
Advanced materials: uses methacrylate-based resins listed above
Large X/Y printing area: allows batch printing of small dental products

LuxFlow and LuxLink Software

LuxCreo also offers two specialized software packages that help dental labs, orthodontists, and dentists simplify and grow their dental manufacturing with the iLux Dental and Lux 3+ dental solutions.

LuxFlow:
LuxLink:
LuxAlign: 

Learn more about LuxCreo’s 3D printing software for dental manufacturing: https://luxcreo.com/products/software/

A Complete Solution for 3D Dental Manufacturing

LuxCreo’s application-specific solution for dental manufacturing helps practitioners fabricate higher quality dental appliances than other commercial printers. No other 3D printing system offers this level of quality, flexibility, and range of specialized materials for dental appliances. Practitioners who use the iLux Dental system will have access to a complete solution for 3D dental manufacturing:

  • A compact 3D printer that is highly competitive with commercial-grade dental printers 
  • A compatible intraoral scanner
  • A range of advanced resin materials for printing a variety of dental appliances
  • Generative design software for placing supports and converting CAD drawings to printable files 
  • Simplified workflow with a compatible printer, software package, and resins
  • Access to a cloud-connected smart factory for on-demand printing at scale

Learn more about LuxCreo’s solutions for dental manufacturing: https://luxcreo.com/solutions/industries/dental/

LuxCreo’s patented LEAP™ (Light Enabled Additive Production) process is the ideal 3D printing process for on-demand 3D dental manufacturing. We offer cloud-connected 3D printers, high-performance 3D dental materials, and an on-demand Smart Factory production service in rapid prototyping applications. For more information on how our services can improve your supply chain and manufacturing processes, visit our contact page or call (650) 336-0888.