3D Printing

3D scanning of teeth to be showcased at November’s Greater New York Dental Meeting

Henry Schein, a global leader in the distribution of health care products, is due to give a glimpse of dental future next week (25th-30th November) at The Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM). The dental industry has changed very little throughout the years, perhaps even stagnated in its traditional ways, but now it seems to be gearing up for a drastic shift. One company pioneering such this shift are Henry Schein as they plan to showcase their use of dental 3D scanners.

A perfect application for 3D printing

Dentistry seems to be the perfect application for 3D scanning, eradicating the need for dentists to make the usual gag-inducing dental impressions. Announcements like this suggest that it might only be a matter of time before 3D scanning becomes the standard practice of obtaining a model of a patient’s teeth as it fits perfectly with the 3D printing revolution planned by companies such as XJet.

Ceramic dental impression from the Roland AG ceramics printer.
3D scanning could be used to create the ceramic models of teeth – instead of the usual way which involves a type of cement being used in a patient’s mouth. Above image shows a ceramic dental impression printed by the Roland AG ceramics printer, seen at formnext 2016. Photo via: Michael Petch

A recognized dental educator, Dr. Gordon Christensen, also anticipates the change involving technology stating that “The paradigm shift going on in dentistry is the most major and significant in my long career.”

This change is one Henry Schein are keen to encourage with ventures into more forward technologies. The CEO, Stanley Bergman, should be credited with this willingness to adopt new technology, boosting sales at the company since becoming CEO. His insistence to follow innovation rather than being left behind with traditional methods means the company has delved into a variety of different fields, such as providing smart veterinary products and serving medial practitioners. The company has grown year-on-year earning shareholders an annualized return of 16% which is impressive given they have done so since they went public in 1995.

Stanley Bergman, chairman and chief executive officer of Henry Schein Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Henry Schein Inc. provides health care products and services to office-based practioners. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images *** Local Caption *** Stanley Bergman
Stanley Bergman CEO of Henry Schein. Image via Fortune.

The company began their journey by 3D printing mouth-guards: one of the basic tasks a traditional dental technician undertakes. While simple, this is a good starting place for the company to gauge the process of 3D scanning a patient’s mouth and then 3D printing a mouth-guard. It is a process that GuardLab, the company Schein will be working with, have already established having partnered with UFC earlier in the year. In March GuardLab revealed a partnership with UFC for printed mouth-guards for their athletes and allowing fans to have the same treatment.

Upper Guard Protection mouthguard via: GuardLabs
Upper Guard Protection mouthguard via: GuardLabs

Henry Schein plan to expand this service to New York City schoolchildren at the Greater New York Dental Meeting. Child athletes will also be provided with custom-fit protective mouth-guards. Non-profit organization Right to Play, who educate children through games, and the mentor scheme Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, will give Henry Schein mouth-guards to children as part of the event from Monday, November 28 to Wednesday, November 30. The company will also showcase live scanning at the event with the use of: a Planmeca PlanScan Scanner, 3Shape TRIOS intra-oral scanner, and a 3M True Definition Scanner.

Featured image via Greater New York Dental Meeting.