The proliferation of new 3D printers and manufacturers targeting the healthcare market specifically is indicative of the increasing uptake of additive manufacturing by medical professionals. With applications ranging from models, appliances for orthodontics, surgical tool guides for implants to orthoses and prostheses, interest in 3D printing has never been higher. This year IDTechEx is showcasing the key 3D printing innovations occurring in the medical and dental sector through a series of events, webinars and masterclasses. At the 3D Printing USA conference in 2018, experts from a range of leading-edge medical 3D printing companies including Anatomics, Advanced Solutions, Sutrue, and Medicalip will share their insights with attendees. As 3D printing has gone from strength to strength, dentistry has emerged as a particularly well-suited speciality that is poised to fully leverage the benefits of this technology; Dr Nabeel Cajee, a pioneer in digital dentistry will explain why it has the capability to transform dental surgery. 3D Printing USA is part of the IDTechEx Show!, part of the world's largest event series for emerging technologies - see www.IDTechEx.com/USA for more.
But what makes 3D printing so complementary to medical, and specifically dental applications? For starters, one of the key USPs of 3D printing is mass customisation. Each dental appliance or restoration must be individually manufactured to fit the individual patient while maintaining a very high level of precision: techniques such as SLA and DLP allow for the rapid manufacture of such bespoke parts. Indeed, EnvisionTec's product line of dental printers can achieve an accuracy in the xy-axis of 60 microns. In addition, dentistry is becoming progressively digitised, with the utilisation of intraoral scanners within general practice steadily increasing. 3D printing dental models using these scans remove the requirement to generate plaster casts, improving the patient experience and increasing time-efficiency. The 3D scanner and software company 3Shape have already transformed the workflow of dental professionals using intraoral scanners, and are now pioneering software for 3D printing through a collaboration with hardware manufacturer, Formlabs. Finally, bringing 3D printing technologies in-house offers dental practitioners greater control over the final product, improving fit, turnaround times and leading to potential cost savings as well.
The pace of innovation shows no sign of slowing, as more 3D printer manufacturers, materials formulators and software developers turn their focus to this rapidly growing market. IDTechEx's forthcoming webinar, available from the 16th October, The future of 3D printing in the medical and dental industry, will highlight the multitude of drivers promoting the rapid adoption of 3D printing by healthcare professionals.
Not to be missed is the IDTechEx analyst masterclass providing an overview of 3D printing for dental, surgical and implant applications, as well as looking towards the future of bioprinting and tissue engineering. Masterclass attendees can look forward to a live demonstration by Dr Maya Lim of SE3D Bioprinters will give highlighting the potential of this exciting technology.