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3d printed dental model with prosthetic guides
Case Study

Finding immediate, cost-effective dental solutions with 3D printing.

April 11, 2018

Vulcan Custom Dental overcomes industry challenges.

Cost-effective solutions.

Overcoming typical industry challenges takes a streamlined approach, something traditional methods can’t offer. For Vulcan, incorporating 3D printers into its workflow means it can meet demand with speed and accuracy. But, without a dedicated 3D printer, Vulcan regularly outsourced production of printed patient models and diagnostic waxups, extending turnaround by as much as two weeks. Plus, design changes couldn’t be incorporated swiftly due to the dependence on outside processing, and excessive costs associated with improved delivery. 3D printed substitutes for gypsum models and prosthetic prototypes proved less technique-sensitive, more accurate and cost-effective for Vulcan.

Vulcan can now promise dental restorations in 24 hours with help from its 3D printer and advanced digital software, and even deliver same-day results in some cases.

“The Stratasys 3D printer is our most reliable piece of equipment, and is a critical component to working successfully with clinicians at the front lines of digital dentistry,” said Boris Simmonds, director of technology development at Vulcan. Vulcan uses the 3D printer to produce all of its dental models, splints and surgical guides. “Even though we run the 3D printer nearly nonstop, we have not had a single down day.” 

Vulcan found advantages with an Objet260 Dental Selection 3D printer because of its speed, multi-material options, reliability, accuracy and quiet operation over conventional processes and other 3D printers. Repeatability and ease of use was enhanced by efficient support material that didn’t compromise print quality.

Dental model of molars with prosthetic guide

3D printing offers substantial time savings. It only requires a few minutes of setup time and we can print as many as four high-precision jobs a day.

Efficiency, biocompatibility and more.

Vulcan’s 3D printer also simplifies support material removal. With other 3D printers, Vulcan employees had to remove support material by hand, taking time that could have been spent producing revenue elsewhere. Vulcan’s predecessor printer consumed on average a half-hour of operator time for tray setup of 12 to 14 models, with 24-hour print cycles and day-long post-processing procedures. System failures involving haphazardly assembled print heads, vacuum pumps and printer material cartridges contributed to frequent downtime and costly maintenance programs.

However, the Stratasys 3D printer offers a simpler process that saves time and cost on production. Stratasys’ soluble support material is an advantage when it comes to creating parts with delicate design features and easily dissolving material from internal voids. “We found that the support material can be sprayed off or dissolved with water-based solutions at room temperature, so we can achieve the micron-level accuracy needed for screw-retained dental implant restorations,” said Simmonds.

Interior view of the WaterJet.

When it comes to biocompatibility and patient safety, Vulcan’s production team uses only Stratasys MED610™ biocompatible material to create surgical guides, splints and dental delivery trays. This material is proven safe for intraoral surgical procedures in contact with skin and mucous membranes as well as autoclave sterilization. 


“If the surgical guide goes into the patient’s mouth, it must be biocompatible to avoid irritating bone and/or soft tissues,” said Simmonds. “Luckily, MED610 has the certifications to ensure our products are compliant with ISO 10993.” In-depth pre-planning and problem-solving solutions provided by the capabilities of the Objet260 reduce both the number of appointments and procedure time required for complex cases. 3D printers are a key factor in gaining an edge in the digital dental movement, providing higher standards of care for patients and reduced costs for dental offices and dental laboratories alike.

“3D printing offers substantial time savings. It only requires a few minutes of setup time and we can print as many as four high-precision jobs a day,” said Simmonds. With 3D printing, Vulcan Dental enables clinicians and labs to expedite their workflow while still providing predictable, consistent and patient-specific solutions.

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