Additive manufacturing has found its way into not only more and more dental practices, but other areas of dentistry, as well – including orthodontics and implantology. 3D-printed drill guides and bite splints, custom-made impression trays, and dental models are a few examples of applications. Using 3D printing to make crowns, bridges, and caps is another established technique.
Indeed, the dental industry was one of the first to recognize and leverage the benefits of additive manufacturing. Bridges and crowns have already been 3D-printed since the turn of the millennium. The quality of the systems, processes, and materials involved has continued to improve ever since, ushering in a significant increase in applications. As a result, the market's growth has rarely fallen into the single digits. Additive manufacturing is now generating around $260 million in annual revenue (2018) in the dental industry according to an extensive study by the Chinese market research and consulting firm QY Research.
In the future, the many years of strong growth in the additive dental industry are expected to continue – or even accelerate further. QY Research projects that the global revenue will increase to $930 million by 2025, which would be a more than threefold increase within six years.
These developments are giving rise to even more attractive business opportunities for dentists, dental labs, and other users. The certification of processes and products has improved not only manufacturing quality, but the commercial possibilities in the industry, as well. All things considered, additive manufacturing now has the potential to replace metal casting in the dental technology sector.
For users, knowledge of the entire production process is key. That includes everything from design, software, and printers to process monitoring, post-processing, and quality control. Formnext, the world's leading exhibition in additive manufacturing and other modern production technologies, offers an excellent overview of the current and future possibilities afforded by AM. From 19 – 22 November 2019, leading international manufacturers will showcase the latest developments in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. These innovations will include a number of solutions specifically designed for the dental industry, such as small, high-precision 3D printers and corresponding materials for metal dental prostheses.
- Dental technology