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Categories: Dental Technology, Undergradute
3D printing is already more widely used in dentistry than many people realise. Everything from drill guides to physical models for prosthodontics use 3D printing. Improvements in 3D printing technology are set to increase its importance in the medical, care and dentistry sectors.
Understanding the place and importance of 3D printing as a dental technology is crucial if you want to be part of the future of dentistry and shape how dental technologies are developed and used.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing refers to the manufacturing of a 3D object one layer at a time. Multiple layers are built up until they form the required item. It is not a new process and several modalities in use now date back to the late 1980s.
Patients have benefited from this technology since the late 1990s. However, the terminology is more recent and caught the public’s imagination when 3D printing technology was used for more disruptive purposes.
3D printed guns and the possibility of creating artificial organs gave 3D printing a bad reputation. The truth is, if you have visited a dentist, had oral or maxillofacial surgery recently, you have likely benefited from 3D printing technology.
Where and How is 3D Printing used in Dentistry?
CAD (computer-aided design) software allows dentists and dental technicians to create objects from scratch. However, they also have access to CT (computed tomography) data, CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) data and intraoral or laboratory optical surface scan data. Recent developments in optical scan and CBCT technology are responsible for changing many aspects of implant and restorative dentistry.
An integral part of dentistry is milling, removing material to create an object. CAD CAM technologies are used for bridge frameworks and milling crown copings. The materials that work with CAD CAM are easily substituted for more traditional and increasingly expensive precious metal casting alloys.
This technology simplifies using material that would be difficult to work with otherwise. It also eliminates age-old production techniques that are labour intensive. This enables the dental technician to focus their time and attention on other processes that require aesthetic skills, such as the layering of porcelain.
Medical modelling is one of the earliest uses of 3D printing dental technology, and it has become mainstream within dentistry, particularly in endodontics and implant dentistry. The technology has transformed diagnosis and treatment, ensuring that anatomy can be reviewed in more detail and where necessary, surgery can be practised first before taking place on the patient.
3D Printing and Dental Technology at the University of Bolton
Our budding dental technicians can access the best possible equipment and technology at our £4.8 million Centre for Dental Sciences. Our Bachelor of Dental Technology degree is accredited by the General Dental Council and taught by experts who create positive and supportive learning environments. These are just some of the reasons why we are ranked No. 2 for Teaching Quality.* Join us, and you get to study the best courses while enjoying #UniAsItShouldBe.
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Take the first step in your dental technician training by getting in touch today. If you have any questions about funding, finance, wellbeing, accommodation or disability services, our award-winning Student Services Team is here to help.
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