This article is going to make you smile. We promise.

Costhetics is thrilled to bits to tell you about a revolution in dentistry: 3D tooth printing.

Imagine scheduling an appointment to have a tooth replaced and walking out the same day with an improved smile. It’s possible, now that more and more dentists are working with 3D printers and chair-side milling machines.

Here’s the latest news…

New Teeth While You Wait

3D-printing has been a part of dentistry for more than three decades. It was used to create reference models to help patients see and understand their mouths. The printing was done at an off-site lab, which often took weeks to return the finished model. Boy oh boy, have things changed!

21st Century 3D tooth printing is used to fabricate models, but it can also create smile-worthy and steak-ready replacement chompers. Dutch researchers are even working to develop teeth with bacteria-fighting properties that “killed more than 99% of all bacteria and showed no signs of being harmful to human cells,” reports The Guardian.

3D dental printing is more akin to computer-assisted sculpture than typical printing. “It takes genuine artistry to create a 3D tooth with all the irregular groves, nooks and crannies that are unique to an individual’s mouth,” says our own Louisa McKay. “It’s important to find a dentist experienced in 3D printing for teeth and who has a gallery of before-and-after pictures to share.”

Dentists take impressions of a patient’s mouth and create a plaster model. A scan is then made so the dentist can plan the creation of a “fabulous fake” that will fit a patient’s mouth perfectly. To test that perfection, the new design is printed and placed on the plaster model to ensure a good fit.

Need for Speed

Another major attraction offered by 3D tooth printing is the speed at which replacement teeth can be rendered. “Dentists can now print a tooth in 6.5 minutes,” reported Joseph DeSimone, CEO of Carbon3D, a pioneer in 3D printing, back in 2015. Just a week later, however, Australian company Gizmo stole the spotlight with the launch of a “super-speed, high quality, and affordable top-down SLA DLP 3D printer.”

What does this gobbly-goop of letters mean to you as a patient? Simply this: 3D printing in dentistry is here to stay; and the need for speed will drive future, patient-friendly innovation. (Don’t you just love this stuff?)

Team Costhetics is all over this story like mayonnaise on a meatball sandwich. We’ll let you know when we have something tasty to share. Keep smiling!

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