In a move reflecting a growing trend in the 3D printing industry, EnvisionTEC Inc. has partnered with Forestadent USA and Orchestrate 3D. The intertwined entities aim to produce orthodontic products at a high quality as traditionally associated with the respective namesakes. The main product connected with the partnership is the Perfactory Micro Ortho 3D Printer from EnvisionTEC. Marketed as a printer designed and used by orthodontists, it promises to speak the language and fill the needs for any orthodontist willing to find space for the machine.
Boasting low costs and facile maintenance, the printer offers advanced dental models for use in orthodontic appliance manufacturing. It advertises no signs of stairstepping which is good news for aligners and patients’ gums. The build envelope is 4” by 3” by 4”; therefore, the Micro Ortho printer holds the capability to produce up to three full arch models flat down in 45 minutes or 7 models straight up in less than 4 hours. Most exciting, as a former brace face, is the average price per full arch ranging from $3 to $5. How that translates to patient cost has yet to be investigated.
Now, here is a brief bio of the players involved in the partnership. EnvisionTEC offers solution platforms and holds U.S. and international patents in goods ranging from dental to aerospace including jewellery and automotive goods among others. Orchestrate Orthodontic Technologies is a 3D digital company built by and for orthodontists. Over the last five years the organisation’s tests and research have produced 3D scanners, software and 3D printers adapted specifically for orthodontists. Finally, Forestadent USA offers novel orthodontic products and has been a family business for over 100 years. Its name lends a sense of tradition to EnvisionTEC and is a logical collusion for Orchestrate Ortho. The collaboration may prove beneficial for all parties involved as all are leaning to the cusp of innovation and 3D technology.
I had braces and headgear for seven years. The orthodontist grinded the cement off my teeth the day before senior portraits. Research for this article triggered some painful memories, but the idea that 3D innovation and cost effectiveness has entered the dental field and may have far-reaching ramifications is promising. Hopefully, the efficiency and production effects can be not only utilized by orthodontists, but ease burdens and allow opportunities for potential patients.