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    8 emerging technologies that will change the dental laboratory

    These innovations are already in other industries—and they’re coming to dentistry soon, bringing changes that will have huge implications.

     

    3D printing

    3D printing materials

    It seems like dental laboratories have heard the promise of 3D printing for years. And 3D printing has certainly made its mark on the dental workflow. Yet, what’s coming in 3D printing materials shows that what is currently happening in dental 3D printing is just the beginning.

    Related: 7 ways 3D printing is already changing everything

    For starters, there are new advances in printable ceramics and metals—both materials that have obvious implications for dentistry. Right now, these materials are in their early stages and are geared toward the manufacturing and hobbyist sector, neither of which require the hyper-accuracy that dentistry does. But early adopters of CAD/CAM remember how much the accuracy of manufacturing technology can be improved, and there’s no reason to think the same won’t happen with 3D printing materials.

    As material technology improves on the dental side, it’s easy to imagine how some of those materials could be adapted into 3D printing. It may not happen for some time, but it’s certainly possible to imagine that most restorations could someday be printed out of a biocompatible material that is as esthetic and strong as other options.

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    Ryan Hamm
    Ryan Hamm is the Editorial Director for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.

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