Wu Orthodontics: Embracing Innovation
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Wu Orthodontics is an innovative orthodontic lab known for delivering high-quality care by embracing advanced technology. Catering to a clientele that includes tech workers from major companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook, thepractice has earned a reputation for excellence. Dr. Wu, the owner, and a prominent spokesperson in the orthodontic field, hosts international workshops for orthodontists to learnabout in-house aligner fabrication processes. This commitment to innovation helps WuOrthodontics offer accelerated treatment plans, often reducing treatment time by up to 30%.
Challenges in Delivering Aligners
Back in 2014 as Wu Orthodontics’ practice grew, so did its outsourcing aligner costs to a large provider of aligner fabrication services, reaching a monthly expense of over $20,000. To reduce overhead costs and shorten aligner lead times, Dr. Wu began exploring 3D printing, but faced several challenges with early DLP style 3D printers, including slow print times, software that didn’t work, and many hardware reliability issues. Throughout the years, Dr Wu explored many different brands and styles of 3D printers including MSLA and SLA. More recently, Dr Wu, like many industries and employers in the area has faced on-going labor and skills shortages, with some team members needing to learn how to use 3D printers and other equipment to fabricate the in-house aligners. These enduring challenges reinforced the need for a 3D printing solution that was incredibly easy to use, fast, reliable and enable a high-quality aligner service that Wu Orthodontics is known for. Additionally, labor shortages and the complexity of aligner fabrication processes contributed to the lab’s difficulties in maintaining high-quality, in-house production.
In 2019, Dr. Wu was introduced to LuxCreo by Charlie Wen, an influential early adopter in the digital dentistry and aligner industry and soon after acquired an 3D printer from LuxCreo for the lab. For Xaymara, who runs the lab when she isn’t with patients and Dr. Wu, the LuxCreo 3D printer quickly became their favorite 3D printer.
Key features of the iLux Pro Dental printer that make it a suitable workhorse for the orthodontic lab include:
- Easy-to-use automated software, requiring only three steps: import, nest, and print.
- Faster print times compared to other DLP, MSLA and SLA solutions, enabling quicker turnaround for patients.
- High-quality, accurate models for precise aligner production.
- The ability to stack and print models and aligners vertically, maximizing the throughput of the printer.
- User-friendly printer interface experience, requiring minimal technical training for staff members.
- Versatility to print high-value dental splint applications, including night guards and direct print aligners.
The iLux Pro Dental 3D printer proved to be an excellent fit for Wu Orthodontics. With labor shortages in Silicon Valley, the lab’s staff often juggles multiple roles, making the user-friendly features of the printer even more valuable. The intuitive workflow allowed Xaymara to easily train within minutes, two additional team members on the printer to handle aligner fabrication when she was not available. LuxCreo’s pre-print software, LuxFlow streamlined the printing process with features such as auto nesting, auto orientation, fast nesting, auto repair, and automatic model positioning. With minimal calibration and maintenance requirements, the printer allowed the Wu Orthodontics team to focus on delivering excellent patient care.
Results and Benefits
Since implementing the iLux Pro Dental 3D printer, Wu Orthodontics has experienced significant improvements in efficiency, cost savings, and patient satisfaction:
- With two printers, the practice can produce 500 or more models and aligners per month, despite having only six employees.
- Faster and more accurate prints compared to other light enabled printers, resulting in visibly better resolution.
- High patient satisfaction due to the quick turnaround of aligners, with same-day production possible in some cases.
- Reduced labor costs and increased production capacity, allowing the practice to remain competitive and profitable.
Dr. Wu highly recommends LuxCreo’s solution to his peers and the wider dental industry at conferences, citing the robust construction, well supported, reliability, and ease of use of the iLux Pro Dental 3D printer.
Dr. Wu believes 3D printing is here to stay and expects widespread adoption in dental labs. He is particularly excited about LuxCreo’s direct print aligner solution, which offers unprecedented customization options, such as multi-thickness “which could provide a better performance aligner for patient, that level of customization has never been available and it’s very exciting.”