3D Printing used in Dentistry

3D Printed Teeth Aligners

We know too well that orthodontic treatments are one of the more expensive modalities for teeth-straightening anywhere. The prohibitive costs can make most patients shy away from this option. San Francisco-based ArchForm, a developer of a teeth-aligner software may be changing the field of Multimedia and Design Software bringing affordable dental care to many. It is designed to import 3D scanned models, create, design, and purchase aligners or 3D print them in the office.

Making Aligners More Affordable

ArchForm is soon to open its own 3D printed aligner factory for orthodontists, competing against Invisalign, byte, Candid, and SmileDirectClub, at half the cost of these. The company’s manufactured aligners will be created using 3D printers and precision robotic engineering, capable of delivering aligners to orthodontist offices in 10 to 14 days.

Replacing the traditional metal braces of the 1970s, 3D printed invisible plastic aligners are the current alternative and the first choice for young and old patients alike. Orthodontics has delved extensively in 3D printing in the past 10 years. However, 3D printed alternatives tend to cost the same or more than metal braces, ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. On average, clear aligner costs run higher than metal braces (braces average $5,500 vs. Invisalign at $4,500).

Why is orthodontic treatment associated with high cost?

ArchForm says it’s the frequent doctor -performed chair time in adjusting brackets and wires, but Invisalign cut down on some of those costs. Yet there’s also the orthodontist´s profit margin controlled by the parent company, Align. Orthodontists currently pay about $1,700 per patient to Invisalign, and other clear aligner providers following the same regime. ArchForm brings down the cost to orthodontists at $542 to print a moderate-to-severe case in-office, and the company only charges $14 per patient.

How does the ArchForm aligner software work?

The 3D software develops a stepwise series of 30 to 40 designs meant to adjust a patient’s teeth based on scan data. The resulting models are then 3D printed and the actual aligners are made by thermoforming biocompatible plastic over the models. For offices with 3D printers, incorporating the software saves money and affords the specialists full control over treatment plans with automatic one-click features that can plan cases faster.

The ArchForm platform makes the product cheaper for both doctors and patients. Since 2016, it’s offering orthodontists the chance to 3D print their clear aligners in-office. The 3D software enabled specialists to customize treatments for thousands of patients. This new production facility combines the speed of 3D printing in-office aligners with the ease of outsourcing, making more accessible and affordable aligner therapy.

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