At the Heart of Digital Orthodontics

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28 April, 2014 Avi Cohen – Director, Global Dental – Stratasys Ltd.
As the cost of orthodontic laboratory work is becoming a major factor in orthodontic appliances planning and production, and in pricing, some forward-thinking orthodontic labs are adopting digital orthodontics processes to set themselves apart. In recent years, orthodontic appliances based on software design have become common and most orthodontic companies now have access to 3D printing, whether in the orthodontic practice or laboratory or via production centers. This opens valuable benefits to orthodontic companies, including: access to new, almost defect-free, industrially prefabricated and controlled materials; higher quality and reproducibility; data storage commensurate with a standardized chain of production; improved precision planning, and efficiency.

When hands are not enough:
Dental and orthodontic lab technicians traditionally rely on steady hands and expert eyes to prepare orthodontic appliances. Although they often are considered artists, the manual process is time-consuming, imprecise, and requires materials that might not provide the best durability or aesthetic appearance. The known digital workflow is based on few steps which usually are: Scan (using 3D scanner, intra-oral scanner or impression scanner), CAD, where software is being used to design the end product based on the scanning data, and 3D Printing system.

Rapid manufacturing is about to offer soon for dentists and patients, an affordable and attractive option. The old days when dentists had to ladle quantities of goo into patient’s mouths to take impressions for the orthodontic appliances, has gone.
Instead, exciting new high technology has been developed that will do a two-minute digital scan of a patient’s entire set of teeth. Once the information is captured by an intraoral scanner the dentist passes around the teeth, it’s delivered to a orthodontic lab where 3D printing machines are used to manufacture the stone mode.

Hence, the 3D printing technology bullet train continues to accelerate the pace of change in orthodontic. For those who have predicted the day when everything from scheduling to finished orthodontic appliances can be handled digitally, the day is here.
Intraoral scanners and the software that manages them continue to improve on proven models. And now one can see the astounding diagnostic possibilities provided by cone beam CT scanners, as scan speed and image capture and enhancement capabilities continue to improve at record speed.
Most impressive this year has been the explosion in devices dedicated to digital imaging, impressioning and 3D Printing fabrication of orthodontic appliances, both chairside and in the lab. With the roll out of new systems, materials and capabilities over the coming year, many believe that more dentists will begin to see the technology as a viable alternative for their practices.
To summarize the moving trend: Some day in the near future, we may look back at 2012 as the year when the orthodontic laboratory industry passed the point of no return from a traditional manual workflow toward an all-digital design and manufacture process. In many respects, all-digital orthodontic is already here, and a growing number of laboratory owners have incorporated digital orthodontic in some form into their strategic business models. For many orthodontic professionals, this evolution has been a long-awaited and welcome transition to a more rapid and labor-saving automation that improves quality and precision while keeping businesses competitive.

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The Objet Eden260V™ 3D Printing system provides the ideal solution for orthodontic labs, as it enabled them to improve the quality of orthodontic appliances manufacturing. Objet systems provide such labs with the ability to rapidly manufacture digital stone models using the Eden260V™ 3D Printing systems. 3D-printed orthodontic models guarantee dentists high level of precision in the placement of orthodontic appliances that is difficult to achieve using freehand traditional techniques.

The Objet Eden260V™ offers unparalleled return on investment for professional rapid manufactring solutions. Printing with the high accuracy of ultra-thin 16µ layers, all Eden systems produce models with exceptionally fine details and smooth surfaces. With the Eden 3D Printing Systems family, you can select the system that best suits your 3D rapid manufactring needs. The compact design and the clean process of Objet’s Eden systems make these machines ideal for any lab or office environment.

The Eden260V from Objet, certified medical equipment provides the top accuracy and productivity in the dental 3D printing

A New Era of 3-Dimensional Printing
The manufacturing world is increasingly turning to 3D printing in a search for meeting the requirement for higher pace time to market in today’s competitive marketplace. By answering all orthodontic appliances production challenges, orthodontic lab owners can save costs and move more quickly to digital production.
Objet’s advanced technology, featuring ultra-thin build layers, sets a new standard in 3D Printing. High-speed, easy, and clean production of smooth surfaced, fine detailed models are available with the Objet Eden™ systems.

The dental 3D system award winner
With its innovative, multidisciplinary approach to hardware, software and polymer materials, The Eden260V was the first company to successfully jet acrylic polymer material. Over the past few years, Objet has focused on continually improving its technology in order to offer best-in-class 3D Printing features and capabilities.
Objet’s patented jet-head technology was designed to jet the Company’s proprietary dental materials, VeroDent®, layer by layer onto a build tray, until completion of the required model. The process produces fully cured models that can be handled and used immediately.

The PolyJet Process
The PolyJet jetting head slides back and forth along the X-axis, similar to a line printer, depositing a single super-thin layer of polymer onto the build tray.
Immediately after building each layer, UV bulbs alongside the jetting bridge emit UV light, immediately curing and hardening each layer. This step eliminates the additional post curing required by other technologies.
Avi Cohen, Head of Medical Solutions at Objet, further explains: “The internal jetting tray moves down with extreme precision and the jet heads continue building, layer by layer, until the model is complete. Sophisticated software tools enable all heads to work in perfect harmony and superb accuracy, to synchronously jet identical amounts of materials on the tray. This results in a perfectly even and smooth surface.
Two different materials are used for building: one for the actual model – the VeroDent material, and another gel-like material for support. The geometry of the support structure is preprogrammed to cope with complicated geometries, such as cavities, overhangs, undercuts, delicate features, and thin-walled sections.”

Advanced Features
Objet’s exclusive focus on polymer jetting and the dental market drives the technology to ever-higher achievements in ultra-thin build layers, material properties, accuracy, speed, and ease-of-use.

• 16-micron Super-Thin Layers for Smooth Surfaces
Microscopic drops are jetted in super-thin layers of up to 16 microns (0.0006”). This results in ultra-smooth surfaces regardless of the geometric complexity of the model.
• Accuracy
A combination of fine chemical development, precise mechanics and electronics, and advanced software features enables builds that fit very tight tolerances for the dental market.
• Durable Models for the Dental industry
An integral part of the PolyJet technology is the Objet VeroDent® material. This material offer excellent flexibility, impact strength and stone model appearance. The material was tested and approved by leading dental companies and labs, such as Sirona, Glidewell, ClearCorrect and hundreds more.
• High-Speed Jetting for Greater Productivity
PolyJet technology uses a raster process to produce polymer models, enabling the machine to build in slices rather than point-by-point. Several models can therefore be created in the same amount of time it takes other technologies to produce a single model. The combination of a raster process with high-speed mechanical movement further reduces build times compared to alternative technologies.
• Thin Walls for Unique Geometries
The high-precision jetting of PolyJet technology enables super thin walls and die margin lines, depending on the geometry.
• Clean, Easy Process
Objet’s 3D Printing Systems can be used in an office or lab-type facility, as the model and support materials are environmentally stable and are loaded in sealed cartridges, with the VeroDent material fully cured (Solidifield) immediately after build. The PolyLog™ materials management system optimizes materials usage and alerts the user when cartridges should be replaced. Objet Studio software is simple to use and intuitive, enabling virtually anyone to operate Objet systems efficiently.
• Easy Support Removal on any Geometry
Objet’s support and model materials are completely separated with a high pressure WaterJet, resulting in clean, smooth surfaces. This process is quick and simple and allows finishing of most parts within minutes. Fast jetting combined with easy support removal creates finished models, ready for use, in record time.
As the cost of laboratory work is becoming a major factor in dental restoration planning and therapy, and in pricing, some forward-thinking dental labs are adopting digital dentistry processes to set themselves apart. In recent years, dental restorations based on software design have become common and most dental companies now have access to 3D printing, whether in the dental practice or laboratory or via production centers. This opens valuable benefits to dental companies, including: access to new, almost defect-free, industrially prefabricated and controlled materials; higher quality and reproducibility; data storage commensurate with a standardized chain of production; improved precision planning, and efficiency.
Avi Cohen manages the worldwide dental and medical solutions at Stratasys Ltd..Cohen_Avi_Stratasys

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