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How 3D technology can help your teeth

Three-dimensional (3D) imaging and printing is revolutionizing dentistry with its ability to make braces, dentures, crowns and implants more quickly and accurately using a computer program and special high-definition 3D dental printer.

With its potential to save time, 3D dental printing is becoming more popular with dentists and dental students around the world. The use of this technology is growing so rapidly that the global dental 3D printing market — valued at $1.1 billion in 2016 — is expected to reach $7.4 billion by 2025.1

Orthodontics is one of the most common dental uses of 3D printing with the creation of clear braces, aligners and retainers to help straighten your teeth and fix your bite. This technology is also used to make mouth guards to help prevent nighttime teeth grinding.


Just don’t attempt to print your own braces! Trying to straighten your teeth on your own can cause permanent damage and be more costly in the long run. That’s because your orthodontist doesn’t just look at your smile but also at the quality of your bite and the proper alignment of your teeth and their roots as your teeth begin to move.

Dentures traditionally take five or more procedures over time to get fitted properly. But with 3D imaging, modeling and printing, dentures can be made in half the time.

Crowns to replace weak, cracked or broken teeth have also been simplified. The use of 3D scanning, designing and manufacturing can reduce the process of developing crowns from several weeks to less than an hour — all without having to create a dental mold out of plaster.

Dental implants to replace lost teeth generally take days or weeks to prepare. 3D scanning and printing allow dentists to skip the step of creating a physical mold of the teeth and gums, reducing the amount of time.

3D printing can potentially save time on some dental procedures, but your dentist may not be using this technology yet. If yours does, when the time comes, ask for a pre-treatment estimate so you know what your dental plan covers and aren’t surprised by the bill. And know that you can rely on your dentist, orthodontist and other dental specialists to take the best care of your smile.