Maximize Dental ROI: With 3D Printing & Intraoral Scanner

3D printing has revolutionized various industries, including dentistry. By integrating 3D printing with intraoral scanners, dental practices can achieve significant returns on investment (ROI).

In this blog post, we will explore how 3D printing, coupled with intraoral scanners, can enhance dental practices. Dr. Andrew IP, a Sydney-based general dentist with extensive experience in 3D printing and digital dentistry, shares his insights on how to maximize the potential of these technologies in your practice.


Dr. Andrew’s Journey into Digital Dentistry & 3D Printing

Dr. Andrew IP’s journey into digital dentistry began years before the COVID-19 pandemic. His interest in 3D printing started as a hobby, which he later integrated into his clinical practice. With a background that includes a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and multiple master’s degrees in orthodontics, implantology, and digital dentistry, Dr. Andrew is well-versed in the capabilities and applications of 3D printing in dentistry.



Why Choose Dental 3D Printing?

Maximize Dental Roi_why 3d Printng

Cutting Costs

One of the primary advantages of 3D printing in dental practices is the potential for significant cost reduction. Traditional dental procedures often involve multiple steps and materials, leading to higher expenses. 3D printing streamlines these processes, reducing the need for external lab services and minimizing material waste.


Increasing Productivity and Services

3D printing expands the range of services a dental practice can offer. From creating surgical guides and splints to designing crowns and veneers, the possibilities are vast. This capability allows practices to differentiate themselves in competitive markets by providing unique and advanced services.


Saving Time

3D printing accelerates dental workflows. Traditional methods of taking physical impressions and pouring models are labor-intensive and time-consuming. In contrast, intraoral scanners quickly capture digital impressions in minutes, allowing for rapid preparation for 3D printing. Modern dental 3D printers can produce models in under an hour, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks.


Enhancing Enjoyment and Engagement

For practitioners like Dr. Andrew IP, 3D printing adds an element of fun to their work. The ability to create precise, customized dental products enhances the overall satisfaction and engagement of the dental team.



Essential Investments for Maximizing ROI

Intraoral Scanners

The intraoral scanner is the gateway to digital dentistry. It captures precise digital impressions, which are essential for creating accurate 3D models. Medit’s range of intraoral scanners, such as the i600, i700, and i900, cater to various budgets and needs, offering seamless integration with their software.



Investing in robust design and printing software is crucial. Medit offers a suite of free software, including Medit Design and Medit ClinicCAD, which streamline the design process. These tools are user-friendly and reduce the need for expensive subscriptions, making them ideal for beginners and experienced users alike.



A reliable 3D printer is essential. Consumer-grade printers may tempt with lower costs, but dental-specific printers like SprintRay, Asiga, and Ackuretta deliver better results and suit dental applications perfectly. These printers, combined with approved resins and curing units, ensure biocompatibility and precision.
A PC with a high-performance processor, ample RAM, and a robust graphics card is also crucial for handling the computational demands of 3D design and printing, significantly reducing waiting times and improving workflow efficiency. Many dental software and hardware manufacturers provide recommended specifications; use these as a baseline and aim to exceed them for the best performance.



Practical Applications of 3D Printing in Dentistry


Maximize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ Models

3D printed models are essential in digital dentistry. They serve various purposes, including crown and bridge models, orthodontic study models, and working models for retainers, mouth guards, or in-house aligners.



Maximize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ Splints

Splints are among the most cost-effective applications of 3D printing. Designing and printing splints in-house can save substantial fees and provide a rapid turnaround for patients. The Medit Splints app simplifies the design process, making it accessible even for those new to 3D printing.



Maximize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ Crowns

3D printing provides an efficient way to produce crowns, eliminating many issues associated with traditional crown fabrication, such as chipping or fracturing at the margins during the milling process. 3D printed crowns can be designed and produced quickly, with the ability to print multiple units in a single session, significantly reducing turnaround time.


Temporary Bridges

Imize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ Temporary Bridges

Creating temporary bridges using 3D printing is another practical application. By using pre-existing wax-ups or pre-op scans, dentists can design and print temporary bridges efficiently. This process allows for a quick and accurate temporary solution while waiting for the final restoration, enhancing patient comfort and satisfaction.


Snap-On Smile

Maximize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ Snap-on Smile

The “Snap-On Smile” is a removable appliance that can be designed and 3D printed to improve the aesthetics of a patient’s smile temporarily. This appliance can be printed quickly and used to demonstrate potential treatment outcomes to patients, aiding in their decision-making process.


3D Freeform

Maximize Dental Roi_ 3d Printng_ 3d Freeform

The 3D freeform technique, developed by Dr. Carolyn Kittell, combines digital precision with traditional methods. For instance, designing a palatal shell that acts as a scaffold for composite layering can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of anterior restorations.


Same-Appointment Workflow

Same-appointment Workflow

One of the most impressive capabilities of 3D printing is the ability to complete restorations within a single appointment. For example, designing, printing, and cementing an onlay can be done in about an hour, providing patients with immediate solutions and reducing the need for multiple visits.



Common Dental 3D Printing Questions Answered

Q1. When you create a custom healing abutment in house, do you create them like ready-made products? And where do you get the screw from?

Yes, I create custom healing abutments in batches in advance. On the day of the procedure, I select the one that fits best. The screws used are prosthetic screws that come with any implant system, ensuring a proper fit into the implant body. These abutments can be adjusted with flowable composite if needed.


Q2. Isn’t there going to be any irritation to the gingiva when a 3D printed custom healing abutment is directly connected to the transition zone area?

Proper post-processing is crucial to avoid irritation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for curing units and ensure the printed resin is biocompatible. Polishing the abutments with composite polishers is essential to achieve a smooth, irritation-free surface. This process ensures minimal inflammation and a safe outcome for the patient.


Q3. What do you think is the most ROI 3D printing work in your daily practice?

Occlusal splints offer the highest ROI due to the significant cost savings compared to lab fees. In-house clear aligner therapy is also very profitable, as it allows practices to produce aligners at a lower cost. Both applications leverage 3D printing’s efficiency and affordability.


Q4. What is your opinion on using cheaper consumer-level printers compared to more expensive dental 3D printers?

While consumer-level printers are tempting for their lower cost, dental-specific printers offer better reliability and results. These printers are designed for dental applications and ensure biocompatibility and precision. Investing in a dental-specific 3D printer provides a better user experience and more consistent outcomes, making it a worthwhile investment despite the higher initial cost.



3D printing, when combined with an intraoral scanner, offers substantial benefits for dental practices. From cost savings and increased productivity to enhanced patient care and satisfaction, the integration of these technologies is transforming the landscape of digital dentistry. Dr. Andrew’s experience and insights demonstrate the practical benefits and transformative potential of 3D printing in modern dental practices.


For those interested in more detailed, step-by-step demonstrations, be sure to check out the full webinar video.

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