How 3D Printing

Is Revolutionising Dentistry

How 3D Printing

Is Revolutionising Dentistry

3D Printing In Dentistry: Benefits, Applications and Challenges

Over the past few years, 3D printing has revolutionised dentistry by offering precise, customised solutions for various applications. From crowns and bridges to surgical guides and orthodontic appliances, 3D printing has streamlined production processes, reduced costs, and enhanced patient outcomes.

This article takes an in-depth look at how additive manufacturing (AM) is shaping the industry, including:

  • Benefits of 3D printing in dentistry
  • Applications of 3D printing in dentistry
  • Challenges of 3D printing for dental implants
  • Future Potential


Additive manufacturing in dentistry: Overview

In recent years, 3D printing in dentistry has undergone a remarkable transformation. Additive manufacturing techniques create objects by adding and curing photopolymers layer by layer based on a digital model.

3D printing in dentistry enables the creation of customised implants, dentures, and prosthetic adjuncts with unparalleled accuracy.


Additionally, it facilitates surgical training and planning by generating anatomical models, thereby streamlining preparatory processes.

With ongoing advancements in materials and technology, the future of 3D printing in healthcare and dentistry holds immense promise, paving the way for faster production, biocompatible materials, and potentially on-demand printing.

Benefits of 3D printing in dentistry

Even though still in its infancy, 3D printing in dentistry already offers a wide range of benefits, including costs, fabrication time, enhanced precision, inventory management as well as patient-centric solutions.

Cost effectiveness

Vat photopolymerization significantly reduces the costs associated with traditional manufacturing methods. By eliminating the need for manual labour, reducing material wastage, and streamlining production processes, 3D printing lowers overall expenses. Additionally, the ability to produce customised dental appliances in-house reduces outsourcing costs and eliminates the need for expensive equipment. This cost-effectiveness makes 3D printing a viable option for dental practices of all sizes, improving accessibility to advanced dental care while maintaining affordability for patients.

Reduced fabrication time

Compared to traditional methods, which often involve lengthy manual labour and multiple steps, 3D printing enables the rapid production of dental appliances and models. With the ability to directly translate digital designs into physical objects, 3D printing eliminates the need for time-consuming intermediate steps. This results in shorter turnaround times for patients, and allows dental professionals to faster treatment and delivery of customised dental solutions.

Enhanced precision

Methods such as Stereolithography (SLA) or Material Jetting utilise high-resolution printing technologies to achieve intricate details with high accuracy. SLA involves curing liquid resin layer by layer using ultraviolet light, while Material Jetting deposits droplets of photopolymer material precisely onto the build platform. These and other methods enable the production of dental components with precise dimensions and fine surface finishes, ensuring optimal fit and function.

Inventory reduction of physical models

As 3D printing in dentistry offers a fast turnover, on-demand production becomes feasible, which reduces the need for physical model inventory. Dental practices can simply store digital models electronically, saving space and reducing overhead costs associated with inventory management. This streamlined approach not only increases efficiency but also allows for easier accessibility to patient records and models, which streamlines the workflows of dental professionals.

Patient-centric care

3D printing allows for tailored treatment solutions that precisely meet each patient's needs. This customization enhances comfort, fit, and function. Additionally, the ability to visualise and simulate procedures using 3D-printed models enhances communication between dental professionals and patients, empowering patients to participate more actively in their treatment planning.

Applications of 3D printing in dentistry

3D printing in dentistry offers a diverse range of applications that enhance patient care and treatment outcomes.

Imaging and reconstruction

Dentists can utilise this technology to create precise models of patients' teeth and jaws based on scans from X-rays or CT scans. These models enable detailed analysis for treatment planning, such as orthodontic adjustments or implant placements. Additionally, 3D printing facilitates the fabrication of custom-made dental implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures.


Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry focused on the restoration and replacement of damaged or missing teeth and other oral structures. 3D printing for dental implants is tailored to each patient's unique oral anatomy, ensuring optimal fit and functionality. 3D printing also enables the production of temporary restorations for immediate use, reducing turnaround time and enhancing patient convenience.


Orthodontics is a specialised field of dentistry focused on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists use 3D scans of patients' teeth to create highly accurate digital models, which are then used to design customised treatment plans. 3D printing allows for the precise manufacturing of clear aligners, which are increasingly popular alternatives to traditional braces. These aligners are comfortable, removable, and virtually invisible, providing patients with a more aesthetically pleasing orthodontic treatment experience. Additionally, 3D printing enables the creation of patient-specific orthodontic appliances, ensuring optimal fit and effectiveness for a wide range of applications

Surgical guides

Surgical guides are essential tools for precise and accurate dental implant placement procedures. These guides are fabricated based on digital models generated from patient scans, allowing for detailed planning of implant placement. By incorporating 3D printing technology, dental surgeons can produce custom surgical guides tailored to each patient's specific anatomy, ensuring optimal implant positioning and minimising the risk of complications.

Challenges of 3D printing for dental implants

The greatest challenges of 3D printing for dental implants include limitations in material compatibility, as not all materials can be processed by additive manufacturing. Replacement materials may not match the quality of traditional ones, which can pose clinical concerns.

Cost is also a significant barrier, as specialised machinery often requires a substantial initial investment

Further, while AM reduces production time, prefabrication and post-processing can be labour-intensive, which may increase costs.

These challenges show that there is still a need for ongoing research and development to optimise material selection, enhance printing capabilities, and address cost-effectiveness in order to fully realise the potential of 3D printing in dentistry.

Future potential of 3D printing in dentistry

Once 3D printing in dentistry has reached its full potential, we will be able to see a significant increase in on-demand dentistry, fully customised solutions as well as bioprinting.

On-demand dentistry

The future potential of 3D printing in dentistry lies in the concept of on-demand dentistry, where dental prostheses, and appliances are fabricated quickly and conveniently. New processes such as Volumetric 3D Resin Printing (V3DP) are already paving the way. With advancements in 3D printing technology, dental clinics could potentially offer same-day production of customised crowns, bridges, dentures, and orthodontic appliances, eliminating the need for multiple appointments and lengthy turnaround times.

More customization

While traditional manufacturing already offers custom-made solutions for individual patients, 3D printing in dentistry opens the door for cost-efficient, fast and custom-made solutions – 3 previously contradicting qualities. This enables even patients with a complicated medical history to find cost-efficient solutions that perfectly fit their dental needs.


This technology is still researched and has the potential to fabricate living tissues and organs using bioinks composed of cells and biocompatible materials. Bioprinting holds the promise for creating custom-made dental tissues, including gums, bones, and even teeth. By harnessing patient-specific cells, researchers envision a future where bioprinted constructs can regenerate damaged or missing dental structures, offering innovative solutions for both tooth replacement and oral reconstruction.

Final thoughts: AM will drive dentistry

As technology progresses, additive manufacturing will play an important role in dental healthcare. In the future, additive manufacturing holds the promise of printing low-cost, functional dentures with multiple biocompatible materials. Contact us right now to streamline your production and reduce production costs with 3D printing for dentistry.

Your personal contact

Christopher Cocklan

Christopher Cocklan

3D Printing Business Development Manager EnergyCuring