Orthodontists Are Getting Help from 3D Printing

April 5, 2018
clear aligners

Making Teeth Aligners More Affordable

The cost of braces and invisible aligners is not a joke. Their hefty price tags are stumbling blocks to most average Americans who would otherwise have them if they were just within reach. Even orthodontists, specialists who offer these teeth-straightening appliances, are only too willing to make them more accessible because crooked teeth is a widely prevalent condition in dentistry. Still and all, braces and invisible aligners are the preeminent treatment modality for the condition they were made.

An article appeared on TechCrunch about a game-changing trend. A startup software company, a clear-teeth-aligner player in the market, ArchForm, based in San Jose, California, is going to make their software available to orthodontists for designing, creating, and 3D-printing aligners within their own dental offices. The idea is to provide these specialists the edge over some direct-to-consumer teeth-aligner startups and cut down on the cost of Invisalign, the number one provider of clear aligners in the US. According to research, the orthodontics market saw $11 billion in revenue in 2017.

In 2013, orthodontic treatments can range from $4,685 to $6,500 for adolescents, and adult treatments can cost up to $7,135. Orthodontists currently pay about $1,700 per patient to Invisalign, and to make money, orthodontists sometimes charge patients upwards of $7,000. ArchForm charges orthodontists just $50 per patient. Todate, the company has a current customer base composed of 75% of orthodontists who have signed up and using their own 3D printers.

There have been a few startups in the last two years that were also in the business of teeth-aligners, such as SmileDirectClub and Uniform Teeth. They want to reduce the cost of clear aligners and also lessen orthodontist visits. ArchForm, though, is targeting orthodontists simply to enhance their existing businesses.

How can 3D-printed clear aligners help the specialists?

Orthodontists can do a better job of treating most patients when they can physically be there to treat them. At ArchForm, its aligner software automates scan preparation and exports print-ready models, hence, treatments can be planned easily. With a few clicks, 3D scans can be prepared. Attachments automatically appear when and where needed. Each tooth is moved at its own optimal rate of movement and the number of stages are also automatically calculated. This is so made-easy for the orthodontist with his/her own 3D printer. And for those who don’t have their own 3D printer, they can send the design to orthodontic laboratories that are equipped with 3D printers and powered by ArchForm’s software.

3D Printing in the Greater Seattle

If you have an idea or need prototyping, contact us today! Send us your ideas in a 2D drawing or 3D file and our technical staff will create a 3D model to your satisfaction.