Formlabs’ New Scan to Model Feature for PreForm Software Eases Entry into Digital Dentistry

March 18, 2021

With this new feature, company enables dental professionals to turn 3D intraoral scans into printable models directly in PreForm, mitigating learning hurdles associated with complex dental CAD programs and enabling practices to easily digitize their workflows.

As more and more dental professionals transition to digital dentistry, some face obstacles integrating all the technologies into an economical, smooth-running digital workflow. 3D printing company Formlabs launched a feature to its software that aims to clear those obstacles and enable practices to simplify their digital workflows.

Formlabs today announced Scan to Model, a new feature in its PreForm software, that is designed to convert intraoral scans into 3D printable models easily. Dental and orthodontic professionals can use Scan to Model as an entry point into digital workflows without having prior experience with digital dental design software. Creating diagnostic, formed appliance and fit check models is simple: users scan a patient's teeth with a 3D intraoral scanner, upload the raw model into PreForm's Scan to Model tool, and then print with a Formlabs Form 3B printer—the whole process completed in less than one hour.

The industry is rapidly evolving from manual processes to digital, though for many dental practices, this shift can be daunting. While almost 30% of orthodontists have an intraoral 3D scanner, only 4% have 3D printing capabilities at their practice, proving the desire to adopt the technology is apparent, though cost and training are large hurdles associated with fulfilling the need, according to Formlabs. Formlabs Dental, first launched as a dedicated Business Unit in November 2019 , aims to make flexible and patient-specific treatment protocols accessible to every dental professional.

“Getting started in digital dentistry couldn’t be easier with the Formlabs Dental Ecosystem. The Scan to Model software feature does all the work, converting intraoral 3D scan files into printable dental models so it's simple for providers to bring digital model production in-house,” says Sam Wainwright, Dental Products Manager of Formlabs. This new software feature, Formlabs’ printers, and dental resins of the Formlabs Dental Ecosystem support dentistry’s transformation enabling both newcomers and experienced professionals to add digital workflows, he adds.

Before Scan to Model, technicians that completed 3D scans of patients’ teeth using an intraoral scanner would have to be well-versed in complex dental CAD software, use open-source mesh editors not designed for the needs of dental professionals, or outsource this processing to a dental lab. Now, Scan to Model enables dentists to reduce:

  • Effort required to turn a 3D intraoral scan into a simple printed model
  • Overall turnaround time for models and retainers, enabling same-day delivery
  • Number of software programs required to perform simple model preparation

James E. Paschal, DMD, MS, is a Formlabs Dental customer who says his team has picked up the Scan to Model process quickly and easily.

"Scan to Model is more advanced than an open-source mesh editor and faster than going through a comprehensive dental design program. My staff and I started using it immediately with no issues. It's a great entry point for doctors who are interested in digital," says Dr Paschal.