3D Printing and Dental Crown Copings

SolidScape 3D Printed Dental Waxups

Did you know that Star Trek-like technology has been part of professional dentistry for years? Various forms of 3D printing, an analogy to 2D copy-machine printing, have been developed to quickly and accurately produce either molds for casting or actual metal forms that serve as the base (coping) of a dental crown.

Both versions start with a dental lab taking a digital scan of a patient’s plaster model (though even that is changing as some dentists/orthodontists do direct oral scanning). This information is translated into a 3D computer model of the tooth or teeth in question. The models are useful themselves as replacements for heavy plaster versions; even more interesting, the data in each model can be used to guide the motions of equipment that “builds” a part layer by layer, either out of wax for casting or out of the final metal, usually a chrome-cobalt alloy. (More about these technologies in upcoming blog posts.)

Companies such as 3D Systems, Solidscape (a division of Stratasys), EOS and EnvisionTEC are heavily involved in this exciting industry. Check them out!

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