Medical & Dental

First Renishaw additive manufacturing system installed at Australian dental lab

Renishaw, a UK based 3D printer manufacturer, has installed a metal 3D printer in Proslab, a dental laboratory in Melbourne.   

The Renishaw AM400  will be used for production by the dental lab and also to improve quality of Proslab’s removable partial dentures.

Proslab’s CEO Damian Synefias said,  “while we started as a traditional lab, we are now one of the leading labs servicing Dental Prosthetists in Australia and New Zealand offering a true one-stop service. We do everything in house. Nothing’s outsourced. We even have our own delivery drivers.

“We have increased our turnover as we have improved our turnaround time and eliminated 100 percent of in-house errors. This means fewer reworks are necessary, benefitting both patients and prosthetists.”

CoCr 3D printed removable partial dentures. Photo via Renishaw.
CoCr 3D printed removable partial dentures. Photo via Renishaw.

3D one-stop shop for partial dentures

Before employing 3D printing methods, milling and traditional low-wax casting methods were used by Proslab to manufacture dental products. These methods require laborious manual hours and processing, which lead to reduced accuracy of the dentures.

Alex Harris, Renishaw’s Applications Engineer explained, “it is very difficult to achieve a consistently high level of accuracy using lost-wax casting. Additive manufacturing is a highly accurate technique for producing removable partial dentures. Each part is built up in layers of cobalt chrome, directly from the CAD file. This removes the additional casting steps whilst improving efficiency and accuracy.”

Proslab has now completely digitized its production workflow for cobalt chrome removable dentures, providing finished products within five days.

3D laser printing ensures the accuracy required for crowns and bridges. Image via Proslab
3D laser printing ensures the accuracy required for crowns and bridges. Image via Proslab

3D printing metallic dentures

The level of customization afforded by additive manufacturing makes 3D printing highly appealing to the dental sector.

Last year, Materialise, a Belgian software company, released its 3D printed titanium maxillofacial implants, TRUMATCH. The implants were certified by the FDA for distribution in the U.S.

As previously reported, a maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dental surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), used Renishaw AM250 metal printer to restore a cancer patient’s jaw bone.  

However, the developments in this field are not limited to metal 3D printing. This year in August, Tokyo Dental College printed a research paper in which a guideline and framework for FDM/FFF one-stop 3D printing dental and medical lab was developed.

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Featured image shows the Renishaw AM400 metal 3D printer. Image via Proslab