How 3D Printing is Changing How Dental Implants are Placed

For patients with one or more missing teeth, dental implants are one of the best possible solutions. An implant is a permanent tooth replacement option and can restore a patient's smile, bite and proper chewing function. Technological advancements have made dental implants more accessible, and continuing innovation is further expanding the possibilities. A prime example lies in 3D printing; a revolutionary change is how certain dental implants are placed. At Great Lakes Dental, we are pleased to be on the cutting edge of this technology and have acquired a 3D printer (in addition to our conebeam x-ray machine) to assist in the process of dental implants.

What Does a 3D Printer Do?

The power of 3D printing technology is the ability to take a broad range of data that is collected from X-ray and other imaging, and recreate the object from scratch. The "printed" item is fabricated through a process of combining small layers together, which is what builds up the finished piece. In this way, 3D printing is a fabrication method that is highly accurate, yet far faster than traditional manufacturing methods.

How Can 3D Printing be Applied to Dental Implants?

The process of creating and placing a dental implant involves numerous steps. One of those steps is creating a surgical guide that will fit over the patient's existing teeth and gums. Our doctors are able to use data collected from a conebeam x-ray to pre-plan the exact location of your future dental implant based on the bone quality and structures within the jaw. We then 3D print your guide, which helps the dentist know precisely where to place the dental implant. The measurements here are incredibly small, and having a customized surgical guide improves outcomes. By manufacturing a custom surgical guide in the office, dental professionals can control the process from start to finish, drastically reducing the wait time for moving forward with the actual implantation procedure and eliminating potential issues that could arise during implant surgery.

At Great Lakes Dental, we are proud of our commitment to staying at the forefront of dental technology. Bringing in 3D printing technology is just one way that we are embracing the fast pace of technological advancement, and putting it to use to improve the outcomes for all of our patients.