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The Rise of 3D Printing in Dentistry

A team member uses 3D printing to create a dental appliance for a patient in Wilmington at CarolinasDentist

3D printing is making a splash in several fields and dentistry is no exception! This innovative technology has revolutionized the way dentists approach their craft, offering remarkable benefits in precision, efficiency, and patient care. With its ability to create highly detailed dental prosthetics and models, 3D printing has become an indispensable tool in modern dentistry. CarolinasDentist Wilmington is thrilled to be ahead of the curve and already incorporating this new technology into our services. Read on to learn more about 3D printing and what impact it’s had on our Wilmington office!

Dental Surgical Guides

Perhaps the most powerful impact 3D printing has made at our office is through surgical guides. These models are created by using 3D printing technology to convert digital scans of a patient’s oral cavity into physical replicas. By accurately replicating the patient’s anatomy, these models provide our dentists with a realistic representation of the patient’s unique oral condition. This allows us to thoroughly analyze and strategize complex surgical procedures (specifically dental implant placements) with greater confidence and precision. With the ability to simulate the exact surgical scenario, dentists can anticipate potential challenges, evaluate different treatment options, and optimize their surgical techniques, leading to improved outcomes and reduced surgical complications.

New & Replacement Dentures

Another area 3D printing is enhancing is removable dentures. We now have the ability to fabricate dentures in-house. Traditionally, dentures were crafted using labor-intensive and time-consuming methods, often resulting in ill-fitting and uncomfortable appliances. However, 3D printing has made the process of denture production more streamlined. What typically takes about six appointments is now taking only two. This technology is great for both new dentures and replacement dentures as we can take a scan of your arch or your existing denture to create your new restoration. By utilizing digital scans of a patient’s mouth, we can design and shade dentures that are precisely tailored for each patient. This customization ensures a comfortable and secure fit, enhancing the patient’s overall comfort and chewing efficiency.

Nightguards & Occlusal Appliances

Similarly to dentures, the use of 3D-printing technology has brought significant advancements to the fabrication of nightguards and occlusal appliances. Nightguards are dental devices designed to protect teeth from grinding and clenching during sleep, while occlusal appliances are used to correct misaligned bites or provide relief for temporomandibular joint disorders. With 3D printing, these appliances can be created with unmatched precision and customization. 3D printing also streamlines the manufacturing process, reducing turnaround time and enabling us to provide patients with their custom-fitted nightguards and occlusal appliances in a more timely manner.


What types of materials are used in 3D printing?

There are a variety of materials used in 3D printing. For us, there are gels specific to what we’re printing. For example, dentures would use their own denture gel. Similarly, surgical models and occlusal appliances would have their own gel as well. The gels are tailored to specific shades, accuracy, etc.

What are the benefits of 3D printing?

The benefits of 3D printing apply to both the doctor and the patient, and convenience and time are the two biggest things. 3D-printed restorations are also far more accurate than milled restorations!

What’s on the horizon for 3D printing?

The possibilities of 3D printing are truly unlimited. In the near future, we’re hoping to start fabricating veneers and dental crowns in-house as well. As an example, we would have the ability to create 6 veneers in about 15 minutes. Same-day dentistry will completely change!

3D Printing at CarolinasDentist in Wilmington–The Pointe

We are committed to staying at the forefront of technological advances and continuing to improve our patients’ experience and oral wellness. Call to schedule your appointment today and we look forward to seeing you in our office very soon!

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