Challenging Assumptions About 3D Printing for Orthodontics

Challenging Assumptions About 3D Printing for Orthodontics

Myth #1: You Can’t 3D Print Your Own Brackets

That was true until now. Braces On Demand is the first platform that will allow practitioners to 3D print direct bonded orthodontic appliances in-office. Their unique web app allows the user to pick from a library of brackets, buccal tubes, buttons, and other devices and customize them to each case. Braces On Demand holds multiple patents and is in the process of securing FDA clearance for their solution.

Braces On Demand chose Denture Teeth Resin from Formlabs Dental as its material of choice because of its strength, stability, shade options, and long-term biocompatibility. Dr. Tom Shannon of Shannon Orthodontics in Michigan, USA has been testing the direct-printed brackets and is impressed with the material’s properties. “The bracket strength has been equivalent to any bracket on the market,” said Dr. Shannon. He plans to use the printed brackets in his busy practice going forward.

Myth #2: You Need an Intraoral Scanner to do In-House Digital Production

Typically, every digital workflow in dental requires a 3D scanner. Purchasing and learning to use an intraoral scanner is a barrier for some considering adopting digital techniques.

However, in the case of direct printed brackets, a 3D scan is not necessary. With a diagnosis prepared, the practitioner can simply log into the Braces On Demand web app and select the preferred type of bracket and prescription they want to print from the extensive library of orthodontic appliances.

Myth #3: Preparing Every 3D Print Takes Time and Effort

Braces On Demand takes a novel approach to print preparation: customers use the web app to configure each case, “check out” in a storefront that works like any other online shop, and then prepare the printer with the right consumables. Meanwhile, the web app will send the customized case directly to the printer.

The secret to Braces On Demand’s new workflow is Formlabs Dental’s own web app, Dashboard, and its most cutting-edge feature: Remote Print. This allows authorized users to send print files to a specific printer, even if they’re on different internet networks (such as their home network). Form 3B, the current Formlabs Dental flagship printer, even allows the user to configure the printer ahead of time to start a print once it receives a file from Braces On Demand.

The Braces On Demand web app creates the brackets according to the doctor's specifications and sends them to the user's printer in a single FORM file.

Behind the scenes, Braces On Demand’s web app isn’t only designing the brackets according to the user’s selected parameters. The program also exports the full set of devices as a single 3D file, complete with supports and a raft, and sends it to the user’s printer using Remote Print, effectively automating the print preparation steps. This frees up the orthodontist’s time to focus on designing cases, seeing patients, and running their business.

What Other Assumptions Should We Question?

Formlabs Dental is committed to looking to the future and partnering with innovators like Braces On Demand. Whether it’s improving on traditional workflows, developing new clinical protocols, empowering practitioners to be their own manufacturers, or something else entirely — we are excited to be at the forefront of new technology.

In the meantime, contact us if you would like to learn more about Braces On Demand, the Form 3B, or 3D printing in orthodontics.

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