Market advancement requires an advanced lab.
A complete model, like this frame with the support material intact, takes only 65 minutes via the digital method, compared to two days with traditional methods.
Traditional methods slow down production.
For Udell, using the traditional manual approach to make removable partial denture frames (RPD) took many steps and was not efficient enough to meet increasing demand. The traditional process required 96 minutes of work by a dental technician and was highly dependent on their skill and attentiveness to ensure an accurate fit. Using an impression taken by a dentist of the patient’s mouth, a skilled technician pours the stone model and then duplicates it into a refractory model that becomes part of the mold used to cast the metal RPD framework. The technician designs a wax pattern to the refractory model that defines the geometry of the RPD and fills in undercuts in the gums to provide a smooth path for RPD placement. Sprues are attached to the wax pattern and refractory model, and the assembly is placed in an investment ring.
Silica casting investment is poured into the ring to create a mold for investment casting. Molten metal is cast into the mold through the sprues, replacing the wax pattern. When the metal cools, the refractory and silica investment are removed to reveal the finished frame.
Dental lab reduces material cost by 80%.
The technician uses a 3D printer to create an RPD pattern for investment casting. The pattern is sprued, invested, cast and finished the same as the traditional method. This digital method takes only 65 minutes to produce a complete RPD. The new method saves the dentist additional time in fitting the RPD because its accuracy is much higher. If a remake is required, modifications can be quickly made to the digital file and reprinted instead of having to hand wax again from scratch.
Finished parts, like this polished alloy frame, have higher accuracy using the digital method.
Scott Udell, president of Udell Dental Laboratory, said that the Objet Eden260V Dental Advantage 3D printer “offers major advantages over the 3D printer that we used in the past.” The bio-compatible material used by the Dental Advantage averages $2.84 per RPD, which is less than 25 percent of the cost per frame from the company’s previous 3D printer. “We also print denture try-ins and models for night guards. Our total material savings are about $3,500 per month.”