From casting to milling to 3D printing: the history of the development of metal processing is also reflected in dental technology. Metal dental dentures, created with the casting technique, are now made using 3D printers. The procedure is even quicker and more affordable than when using milling technology. The dental industry has different metal 3D printing solutions for the additive manufacturing of dentures at its disposal. Using powder, the laser creates new workpieces layer by layer using the laser metal fusion technique (LMF). This procedure, also called selective laser melting (SLM) or powder bed fusion (PBD), is used in the highly precise manufacturing of implant-supported dental prostheses, for example. All in all, it is easy to implement a variety of individual geometries. Separation between pontics is eliminated, a milling radius correction is no longer necessary. The advantage: more space in important areas. Furthermore, retentions for plastic veneers and undercuts can be created effortlessly.
3D printing in dental technology
Implant-supported dental prostheses is the fastest growing segment in the dental industry all over the world. This is why it is becoming more and more important for dental laboratories to tap into this lucrative pioneering field, using highly productive 3D printers in response to the growing pressures of cost and competition in the industry. These pages will give you an overview of the advantages and benefits of metal 3D printers for your future business. You will also find out exactly which 3D printers, software solutions and services will provide you with the ideal set-up.
What is metal 3D dental printing and which procedures are available?
What are the advantages of metal 3D printing?
Faster, more affordable and new dental indications thanks to a hybrid process chain. The investment in additive manufacturing is worthwhile for the dental laboratories in many respects.
Many individual geometries can be implemented easily and productively with laser metal fusion (LMF). Functions such as Multilaser or Multiplate ensure efficient production of customised dental components.
A dental 3D printer produces dental prostheses much more quickly than conventional methods such as milling technologies. But metal 3D printers do not just benefit production, preparation is also much quicker thanks to the digital process chain. This means that dental technicians can work with digital data records which are transmitted to dental laboratories in real time. There are no plaster casts or silicone imprints thanks to digital molding.
With dental 3D printing, you produce a great num&ber of dental indications precisely, saving materials at the same time. Thanks to the digital connection of the TruPrint systems with milling machines, indications such as implant-supported crowns and bridges, telescopic crowns and secondary parts can be produced economically within a hybrid procedure. In this case, we truly see the benefits of direct printing of individual single abutments on special base parts (preforms) made of titanium or cobalt-chromium.
As the 3D printer only processes as much metal powder as it actually needs, users save material and money. At the same time, the environment benefits from the sustainable use of materials such as cobalt-chromium. Excess powder can simply be reused after the printing process. 3D printers can ideally develop complex geometries such as corners and edges within the smallest amount of space. This means that dental technicians increase the quality of their manufactured parts significantly.
Thanks to open interfaces, the 3D printer can be ideally integrated in the existing CAD/CAM process chains. The result is that dental laboratories do not have to convert their entire system. The advantages of this hybrid workflow: shorter production times, lower costs.
3D dental printing in metal - questions and answers
Depending on the shape, up to 100 crowns can be fitted onto one standard plate (diameter: approx. 100 mm).
A build plate with approximately 100 crowns is printed in around three hours using a double laser. A single laser needs approximately five hours.
Crowns, bridges, separators and superstructures as well as all implant-supported objects such as single abutments, telescopic crowns, primary and secondary parts, orthodontic parts, removable partial dentures and partial prostheses can be produced with additive manufacturing.
Cobalt-chromium and titanium can be effortlessly processed by a 3D printer. Thanks to the open system architecture, there are generally no restrictions concerning the material used. In addition, plug-and-play solutions facilitate a simple and quick start for many powders.
It is very easy to set up 3D printers in dental laboratories. They fit through a normal standard door and in a lift. They do not need any compressed air and are operated with normal electric power (230V). One machine weighs 650 kg (including powder).
TruPrint 1000 and TruPrint 2000 operate with gas cylinders.
Linking up with the milling machine is an important milestone on the journey to automated series production in dental technology.
Hybrid workflow: this is how you prepare your dental prostheses production for the future
There is a clear trend: dental prostheses are being increasingly produced in bulk in automated processes. It is therefore becoming more and more important for dental laboratories to rely on a consistently digitised workflow and an intelligent combination of 3D printing and milling technology in order to facilitate competitive production of as many components as possible to a high quality standard. Open IT interfaces and cooperation with partners form the basis of this hybrid process chain which has two primary advantages: shorter production times and decreased costs.
Integration in the digital process chain
The digital link with the milling machine is an important milestone on the journey to automated large-scale production in dental technology. Experts have extended the IT interface of additive production systems for this purpose. The hybrid workflow makes it possible to print and subsequently post-process implant-supported dentures and telescopic parts with milling technology. Thanks to the highly precise results, implants and dental prostheses can be safely screwed in place.
This is what a hybrid workflow looks like in practice
Our machines for your additive future
With the additive production systems TruPrint 1000 and TruPrint 2000 from TRUMPF, you can print a wide range of dental indications very productively and precisely while saving materials.
Step it up a notch: with the TruPrint systems and the Multilaser option
TruPrint 1000 and TruPrint 2000 with the Multilaser function are the most productive 3D printers for metal dental components to date. With this function, the 3D printers from TRUMPF produce much more efficiently than with conventional methods such as milling machines. There's even more: the possibility of linking both machines to milling stations is another highlight. This increases the range of applications for dental 3D printers.
The advantages of TRUMPF's metal 3D printers
Dental application examples
The dental industry also benefits from the many advantages of additive manufacturing. Any desired complex indications can be constructed highly precisely and in record time layer-by-layer with bio-compatible material. The units on the substrate plate shown were manufactured in approximately three hours with around 1,200 layers.
Removable partial dentures (RPDs)
The mere 55-µm beam diameter of the TruPrint 2000 laser allows you to achieve a very high surface quality and level of detail which is a huge advantage for dental technology. The low degree of surface roughness also saves times during manual post-processing.
Removable partial denture
Using additive manufacturing, you have complete freedom to design and manufacture the intricate structures of removable partial dentures on the TruPrint 1000.
Individual single abutments on preforms
Up to 64 individual single abutments can be printed on one preform. It is easy to remove them from the plate. Only the patient-specific portion is printed.