News . 3D Printing

03 May 2017

Have you heard about this game changing revolution happening in dentistry?

3D printing is commonly associated with manufacturers and hobbyists, but there is more to the technology than brightly coloured plastic trinkets that fill the internet.

Take a chipped tooth, for example, it is an issue you deal with regularly. It requires multiple impressions, not to mention hours sitting in the dentist’s chair.

The traditional process, is to send the mould to your local dental lab, then wait 2-5 weeks as they manually manufacture a permanent crown.

healthy teeth patient at dentist office dental caries preventionIn the meantime, your patient is sent home with an inconvenient temporary crown secured with temporary cement, only to return weeks later for another lengthy procedure to secure the new crown.

This is a long, painful and tedious process for your patients. What if you could cut the wait for your patients from weeks to days (while everybody else makes them wait weeks/months)?

Some time ago, Matt Shafer, from Bay View Dental Laboratory, realised 3D printing would be a necessary part of a competitive future for their dental lab and dental laboratory technicians.

The company researched a variety of 3D printers before settling on the EnvisionTEC Vida as its primary 3D printer for precision production work.

Here’s what Matt had to say …

“The accuracy and material flexibility offered by the Vida has allowed the company to expand its business in offering surgical guides, too. It’s now a growing business,” Matt said. “In the end, I’m glad we introduced 3D technology. The venture into 3D printing, has gone better than we had ever expected.”

3D technology and three-dimensional printing has already transformed dental labs and dental ceramists across the world. That revolution has come to South Africa – enabling you to be a competitive player if you so choose. Here’s how you and your practice can be part of this future. Maestro 3D Dental Scanner Step 1: Scan your patient’s dental impression cast or bite plate. -Place the dental impression tray into the scanner. You can also digitise a number of dental impressions simultaneously. -Push the start button and 2-3 minutes later the dental impression is fully digitized, ready to inspect and manipulate. -From the scan all the way to the final 3D model, the entire process is completely automatic, you don’t need to manually interfere with the process. -The scanner will 3D scan stumps, abutments, complete dental casts, fillings, bridges, antagonists, dental inlays, wax-ups, coverings and armours. See the 3D dental scanner in action:

Alternatively, you can use an Intraoral scanner/camera to achieve the same.

Step 2: Design a dental treatment plan – digitally

3D Dental Studio is dental specific software designed to simulate teeth correction.

Virtual setup in Ortho Studio Software

The software itself only needs a few minutes to perform the analysis, including inspecting the model data and creating of the set-up. Ortho Studio is a dedicated software used to inspect, edit and analyse your digital 3D dental impression.

Maestro Ortho Studio allows you to view 3D models easily when created with Ortho Studio. Specific data about the model, patient, etc. are also displayed on the screen for your convenience. Some of the best highlights from this software:

Easy to use – Thanks to the wizard mode is very easy to perform any operation. In a few easy steps you can add your own virtual bases of the maxillary and mandibular models or achieve transparent masks

Powerful – It is a robust and precise CAD software that allows you to work on all types of patients’ cases.

Fast – It take just a few minutes to perform all the analysis, inspection and creation.

The orthodontic base module allows you to manage clinic, doctors, patients and cases through a database. It allows you create virtual bases (ABO, ABO-2013, Ricketts, Parallel, Tweed) and add it to the scanned stone casts. It is also possible to perform occlusal inspection analysis, 2D / 3D sections, measurement on teeth and full archs.


The virtual setup module allows you to move the teeth for both the archs, evaluating distances, contacts and intersections. It also allows you to add and customize attachments/labels (both positive or negative) and to perform teeth extractions and IPR (interproximal reduction);


  • automatic teeth segmentation;
  • evaluation of contacts and intersections during tooth movement;
  • editing of custom attachments (positive or negative);
  • editing of 3D labels (positive or negative);
  • IPR – Interproximal reduction;
  • editing through multiple views;
  • real-time animation of virtual setup;
  • export/share of virtual setup projects;


The transition models builder module allows you to create a set of 3d models, needed for the whole orthodontic treatment, ready to be exported and optimized for the 3D printing. You can decide on the number of transition models, the maximum movement along the canonical axes or the maximum expected rotation for each model.

The brackets placement module allows you to automatically place the brackets on the teeth. It offers various placement techniques (Step, Roth, Wick Alexander, Dwight Damon, MBT, Andrews) and, in combination with the clear aligner module, allows you to construct several types of trays for the transfer of the brackets in the mouth of the patient.

The clear aligner module allows you to design and construct the clear aligners in a virtual way; with this module is possible to draw the aligner shape, set a variable thickness and simulate the thermoforming. It also allows you to make the bracket transfer trays for bracket placement (with or without jig);

Watch the video to get a detailed tour

Step 3: The final stage is to 3D print your orthodontic aligners, crowns, bridges, temporaries, veneers, provisionals, drill guides or models! The Perfactory® Vida 3D prints up to 4 set-up models in a single print! For a large 3D print expect a finished product in 24 hours. When you hold a finished print it has a wonderfully smooth finish, with no signs of stairstepping or uneven layers.

  • Because the range of materials is so impressive, your dental lab or dental practice will have the ability to 3D print multiple types of dental models, orthodontic aligners, surgical guides, bite splints, night guards, retainers, dentures and crowns. Here’s a few examples to whet your appetite and demonstrate the possibilities:
  • EnvisionTEC’s E-Dent M is a light-cured micro-hybrid filled dental crown and bridge material for long-term temporaries. E-Dent M can also be used for printing of very tough veneers that are extremely accurate with a very fine surface finish. E-Dent M is currently available in 3 shades. Structures can be cut back and then layered using any light-curable shade composite. It is FDA approved. EnvisionTEC’s E-Dent M has been developed especially for the manufacturing of long term crown and bridge provisional. Full crowns or multi-unit bridges can be printed. The printed design can also be cut back to allow for color layering and shading.
    EnvisionTEC’s Clear Guide M is a crystal clear material for the production of accurate drill guides that are superior to traditional methods of manufacturing implant placement guides. High-resolution 3D printing allows for precisely targeted placement of implants. Finally, the cost of high-quality drill guides can be dramatically lower when produced, making EnvisionTEC the clear choice for any digital dental laboratory.
  • EnvisionTEC’s E-Appliance M is ideal for orthodontic models. E-Appliance is a specially designed nano-filled resin that will work reliably with both polyvinyl alcohol based-separators and tin foil substitute for a “salt and pepper” technique of producing an orthodontic appliance. This method of in-house or lab-based construction of orthodontic removable or fixed appliances provides excellent strength and durability combined with an amazing array of design latitude for individuality of expression for the patient. Models offer the detailed precision and high quality surface finish that accepts a wide range of separator mediums for the perfect removal of the finished appliance from the model.