The dental profession has benefited from innovative 3D printing technologies for some time now. But each year these technologies become more advanced. An emerging field that began with producing dental implants has rocketed forward. Today, 3D printing for dentists includes new opportunities for CBCT and intra-oral scanning, denture replacement, aligner trays, models, surgical guides, temporary crowns, and more.
But should your practice be more seriously considering in-house 3D printing for dentists? Are these technologies worth the investment? In this blog post, we’ll help you consider whether and how 3D printing could be revolutionary for your practice—and its finances.
Effective and Economical Customization
Dentistry as a whole frequently depends on customization. In just about every dental procedure, you are working within the unique design of a patient’s mouth. Labs dedicated to producing dentures, crowns, and more do a great job of attending to the details of the dentist’s order. But imagine if you and your practice had full customization capabilities?
The ability to build certain dental prosthetics, like permanent crowns, is not fully functional yet. Still, imagine if you had access to 3D printing for dentists in-house. Your practice could make temporary crowns, dentures, aligners, models and surgical guides, castable or pressable restorations, and more. This technology can open up new and innovative ways for you to hyper-customize your patient’s care.
3D Printing for Dentists Makes Your Practice More Money
Yes, 3D printing for dentists may be a pricey investment. But these costs can create and expand revenue opportunities for your practice in the long term. First, you won’t have to pay other third-party labs. Or at least, you won't have to as often, which can add up to significant savings over time.
But 3D printing for dentists can increase revenue in other ways too. Production of dentists is one example. At some point, a patient may need to replace their dentures. Even dentures made with the strongest materials eventually have to be remade, owing to daily wear and tear. With 3D printing, the dentures replacement process could become less expensive for the patient and more lucrative for your practice, at the same time.
Using 3D printing, dentists can create dentures that are vastly cheaper and made more quickly than dentures created by traditional production methods. Dentures that are 3D-printed may be less durable, which may prompt more frequent patient visits for replacements.
Here’s how we see the production and financial possibilities of 3D printing for dentures:
- Patients can obtain dentures more quickly and for less money upfront.
- 3D-printed dentures may need to be replaced more often.
- Dentists see patients returning for more care at a greater frequency.
That makes you money, because the patient will invest in that next pair of dentures.
And even though the costs for the dentures may be lower for the patient, your practice still stands to generate more revenue over time.Why? Because you aren’t paying the lab to produce the replacement dentures, and you may receive revenue for the replacement process multiple times instead of once.
Your Methods Can Be Improved
Using 3D-printed surgical guides, you can ensure that implant placement is more accurate and adjusted than ever before. With more patients considering implants as a solution for major tooth degradation and cosmetic issues, 3D-printed surgical guides could speed up the process while ensuring best-quality results.
Visualization Improves Patient Experience
At the heart of all of these advancements is the patient. We’ve talked about how 3D printing can offer them better results for less money upfront. But these technologies can also improve patient experience along the way.
When patients can view digital renderings and models of the final result of their treatment, they feel much more comfortable about agreeing to the procedure. Patients with dental anxiety will especially benefit, but even patients who love being in your dental chair will appreciate seeing the end goal on display.
When you have 3D printing for dentists in-house, you are able to present a rendering to your patient with the knowledge that, upon their approval, you can press a button and make sure the procedure is seamless!
So, Where to Start?
After some online window-shopping, talk to your team, and decide if 3D printing is the game changer your practice needs.