We had been talking about 3D printing for aerospace, medical, manufacturing and many other industries. We had also heard pf 3D printing been used at dental but how?
One of the examples is Aligner used in dental. Aligner is the solution for patients seeking for a more discreet orthodontic treatment instead of conventional braces whom do not like to use brackets or wires.
Aligner treatment involves an orthodontist or dental taking a mould of the patient’s tenth which is used to create from a digital tooth scan. The computerized model will suggest stages between the current and desired teeth positions and aligners are created for each stage. Each aligner is worn for 22 hours a day for 1 to 2 weeks and it will slowly move the teeth into the position. The average treatment is approximately 13 – 14 months.
One of the aligner manufacturers, Align Technology, designs and manufactures the Invisalign® system – the most advanced clear aligner system in the world, had increased its investment in SLA 3D printing technology as part of their continued operational expansion and unprecedented use of 3D printing in manufacturing.
Align Technology creates a highly customized additive manufacturing component of a unique, end-to-end manufacturing workflow that produces more than 320,000 unique Invisalign clear aligners per day. Align Technology has harnessed the accuracy and scalability of 3D printing to grow its patient base nearly 6X since 2009, with more than 5.8 million patients treated globally, with each patient representing a multi-piece set of unique clear aligners.
“Align Technology disrupted the orthodontic industry by creating a digital approach to straightening teeth that makes treatment possible for more people than ever. None of what we have been able to achieve would be possible without 3D printing technology,” said Srini Kaza, vice president, product innovation, Align Technology. “We believe that our manufacturing process is the largest mass customization operation in the world. We are leveraging our world-class mass customization capabilities including 3D printing as we expand manufacturing operations in China – Align’s fastest growing region.”
Let’s take a look at the video below on how Align Technology delivers mass customization of their aligner with 3D printing.