Until recently the laser sintering of parts and implants for dental applications was uncommon. Today, claims Additive Manufacturing (AM) equipment maker EOS, the technology is on its way toward widespread acceptance.
EOS estimates that in the past six years about fifty million laser-sintered dental crowns, copings and bridges have been created in over 60 direct metal laser-sintering (DMLSTM) systems worldwide. In some countries, EOS’ market share for metal (primarily cobalt chrome) dental units is 80 to 100%.
EOS and its partners in the dental industry are currently working on manufacturing a certified cobalt chrome partial that will officially debut at the International Dental Show (IDS) in Cologne, Germany this March. In plastic laser sintering, EOS has recently rolled out its new FORMIGA P 110, a system suitable for making dentition models out of a specially customized polyamide, PA 2105. Such models are required where ever intraoral scanners are used.
Laser sintering will produce even more dramatic changes to the dental market in the decades ahead. “Our present product line supporting lost wax is probably going to be obsolete in ten to fifteen years,” predicts Bill Oremus, president of BEGO USA, a division of German dental giant BEGO GmbH. “The end of casting is approaching as the application of Additive Manufacturing to dentistry begins to alter the landscape.”
The high quality, durability, and cost-effectiveness of laser-sintered products led BEGO USA to purchase an EOSINT M 270 two years ago. “The US market is primed to take advantage of the cost and time savings that Additive Manufacturing can provide,” Oremus added.
“Any lab that uses our DMLS system at or near capacity to make dental units can get the best cost-to-part ratio in the industry,” says Thomas Thiel, a Medical Dental Technologist and an engineer in the EOS dental applications division. “With DMLS, you can make 450 copings and bridges in a day, whereas a dental technician using lost wax casting might make 20.”
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]