Ultimate Guide to Dental Lab 3D Printing

Dental labs face many challenges with traditional production processes. Manufacturing dental appliances like aligners, retainers, bridgework, dentures, surgical guides, and dental models require significant skill and labor to produce high-quality devices. The highly labor-intensive production methods to traditionally produce these devices drive high costs that must be passed onto the patient and lengthy manufacturing time that delays practitioners from implementing the treatment plan.

3D printing is not new technology and significant advancements of 3D printing machines, 3D printing dental software, and dental resins are enabling on-demand production of highly accurate dental appliances. With a better fit, shorter turnaround times, greater labor productivity, higher yield, and lower costs, there is a more positive experience for patients. Dental labs can implement simplified workflows to produce dental products on-demand with the right 3D printing solution.

Benefits of 3D Printing in Dental Labs

Dental labs can see a range of benefits by adopting 3D printing as their primary production process:

Flexibility: 3D printers can directly print multiple dental products. With a single process, dental labs rapidly manufacture a range of dental appliances, such as retainers, night guards, and surgical tools.

Accuracy: 3D-printed dental products have comparable or are more accurate than traditionally manufactured dental devices. Advanced 3D printing dental software, hardware, and materials eliminate many of the manual steps during production.

Higher Throughput: Today’s dental 3D printers use digital optical processes for dental manufacturing to achieve fast printing speeds. Combined with a large build area and flexibility, modern 3D printers enable high-throughput batch production of multiple dental products.

Speed: 3D printers eliminate manual dental manufacturing processes like thermoforming, grinding, and polishing. Products easily print directly with very little post-processing. For example, the process of taking an oral scan of the patient’s mouth to printing the dental device can be completed in less than a day and in some cases less than one hour.

For instance, with advanced 3D printing processes and materials, dental labs can directly print clear aligners on-demand and deliver them to patients with minimal lead time. With higher accuracy, the 3D-printed dental devices fit better and are more comfortable than traditionally manufactured devices.

LuxCreo’s clear aligners
LuxCreo’s clear aligners

3D Printing Workflow for Dental Labs

With digital 3D printing workflows, dental labs can produce multiple products and streamline the production workflow. That accelerated workflow is similar to the following:

  1. Practitioners provide the lab with an intraoral scan of the patient’s mouth, notes on required features, and material specification

  2. 3D printing software converts the scan into a full 3D model with margin lines, support structures, and desired printing orientation

  3. The product prints directly using a specialized dental resin material

  4. After trimming supports and washing, the product is cured and ready to use

  5. The lab then ships the finished product back to the practitioner or directly to the patient

LuxCreo’s Dental Printers, Materials, and Software

LuxCreo offers a comprehensive set of dental resins, advanced printing systems, and dental 3D printing software for practitioners and dental labs. LuxCreo’s dental printer and suite of materials are developed with a production-first mindset, enabling on-demand production with a simplified, efficient, and low manual overhead workflow.

3D Printers

LuxCreo offers multiple 3D printers for dental labs and practices, including systems that use the patented LEAP process with DLP printers, to provide the highest throughput and accuracy for dental manufacturing. The Lux 3+ supports high throughput batch printing of multiple dental appliances, the Luxadent system is for lower volume production in labs or dental offices, and the iLux desktop 3D printer is for one-off products. The LuxCreo integrated solution of DLP 3D printers with LEAP technology, advanced resins, and innovative 3D printing dental software, requires very little post-processing and enables minimal lead time to deliver dental products.

Learn more about LuxCreo’s 3D printers for dental manufacturing

Materials

LuxCreo’s line of specialized dental resins includes materials optimized for orthodontic/restorative dentistry applications. Dental labs 3D print a range of products, including clear aligners, denture bases, crowns/bridges, surgical guides, dental models, and much more. LuxCreo’s materials have comparable or better strength and combined with the LuxCreo printers enables similar or more dental devices than ones made with traditional dental manufacturing processes.

Learn more about LuxCreo’s advanced dental resins

LuxCreo’s LuxAlign design direct print clear aligners batched in LuxFlow slicing software.

Software

LuxCreo’s suite of CAM software, LuxFlow, and LuxAlign, are focused on simplifying the design and 3D printing production process for dental labs for a broad range of dental appliances. The LuxFlow Dental software helps optimize model placement and orientation on the build platform to ensure maximum throughput. Additionally, it autogenerates structural supports and allows for manual adjustment by the user, and manual control over surface finish and z-axis control, eliminating excess base material. LuxAlign simplifies the designing of directly 3D printed clear aligners saving time and ensuring industry-leading accuracy.

Learn more about LuxCreo’s software for dental 3D printing

Reinvent Your 3D Printing Workflow

LuxCreo is changing the way dental labs do business by creating the most efficient digitalized workflow for manufacturing advanced dental devices. As a result, dental labs benefit from a streamlined workflow that reduces costs and improves outcomes for patients. Dental lab 3D printing is now affordable, fast, and more accurate than ever, and companies like LuxCreo can provide printing systems, materials, and software to help labs transform business models, increase labor productivity, and scale their business.

LuxCreo’s patented LEAP™ (Light Enabled Additive Production) process enables mass customization manufacturing of highly accurate dental products from a range of specialized resins. Dental labs achieve flexible on-demand production in-house or in a Smart Factory with cloud-connected 3D printers with advanced FDA-approved materials. For more information on how our services can improve your supply chain and manufacturing processes, visit our contact page or call (650) 336-0888.