The importance of Graphy 3D printed dental aligners –


Korean photopolymer company Graphy recently announced that it has material for direct 3D printed dental aligners. These devices also have a shape memory property, so you can submerge them in water to return them to their original shape once they deform from wear and tear. Graphy gutters can also be immersed in water at 100 ° C for one minute to clean them.

The ability to easily clean them will make them safer, which is a feat for a photopolymer material. Safety is also important with photopolymers and Graphy also has biocompatibility approvals for the transparent Tera Harz TC-85 material used to make them. In addition to being transparent, the polymer is flexible, which should make them more comfortable than their stiff counterparts. The company claims to be the first to have a directly 3D printed dental aligner. There are other companies that say the same.

Left to right: XJet CEO Hanan Gothait and Straumann VP Stephan Oehler cut the ribbon at the inauguration of the XJet AM center

At the same time, we are seeing more and more specific dental solutions coming to the market, such as those from Sprintray. Existing companies, such as Stratasys and 3D Systems, have made significant investments in printers and dental materials. 3D Systems has also made numerous acquisitions in space. Prodways is also developing in the dental field. We are also seeing a lot of one stop dental solutions like Singapore based 3D3 which is tackling China, Formlabs has specific dental workflows while LuxCreo will build you a production line for that. SmileDirect Club is entering the market with a fleet of HP Multi Jet Fusion machines, while Zenyum is like Invisalign, but for Asia. Everyone is piling up, but what is going on and why is everyone so enthusiastic about digital dentistry?

First of all, this is a revolution that has been around for decades. BEGO, for example, 3D prints millions of metal crowns and bridges every year and has done so for over a decade. Meanwhile, millions of dental parts, intermediates and polymer molds have been manufactured on EnvisionTEC and 3D Systems machines for quite some time. Scanners and software are more and more common and 3D printing has now entered most of the dental market. It is one of the greatest achievements of 3D printing. But, the disruptors are now disrupted.

3D printed dental parts. Image courtesy of Materialize.

In the old days, big labs did a lot of 3D printing. They used EOS machines or Concept Laser machines specially designed for dentistry. In production, 3D Systems stereolithography (SLA) and EnvisionTEC Perfactories were often used. The Perfactory’s form factor and discounted price meant it led smaller labs to embrace digital dentistry practices. The ticket for implementing total 3D printing dental solutions has been lowered so that almost any lab can afford it. With the smaller Asiga, and later Formlabs, 3D printers, the smallest of family labs, and even individual dentists could come into the game.

More materials have been developed and FDA approvals have been given. Thus, you can now print dental prostheses, molds, bonding trays, splints, orthodontics, thermoformed trays, lost wax parts for casting teeth and crowns, impression trays, surgical guides and mouth guards. And everyone in the value chain, from the largest dental companies to new start-ups and individual practitioners, is piling up. The huge Straumann dental group owns dental 3D printers and Dentsply Sirona also offers 3D printed solutions. In dental, 3D printing is everywhere.

Desktop Health has received 510 (k) clearance from the FDA for Flexcera Base

Why the success in dentistry then? With smaller machines, the workflow was available to a large group of customers. This large group had so much potential that materials companies and OEMs began to develop specific dental products. It was high margin, safety was important. and it was a long term growth market. because the best dental practices would spread around the world as people got richer. For once, 3D printing has enabled user-centric innovation. People went to dentists and labs and their needs were heard.

Companies then began to create specific end-to-end solutions. Everyone started participating in this fun high margin business, so we came up with a good deal for this market. Dental parts are relatively expensive and, therefore, could withstand incredibly high resin prices. Dentists are used to paying more for dental treatment. It’s like the industrial version of telling people you want to plan a wedding. Dental practitioners also don’t mind paying more for safety and time savings. They also defined outcomes and criteria for success, which made it easy for them to know whether or not digital dentistry was working for them. It has also become a trend to buy a 3D printer.

The main reason for the success has been that we can reduce visits, time during visits, time in labs and manual labor in labs, while increasing the efficiency of a small team and… wait… cheaper solution for this industry compared to competitors. 3D printing also makes it possible to manufacture relatively small and unique parts. The workflow to do this, from CT or scanning to the finished part, already existed.

All of this made Dental the perfect case for 3D printing for localized manufacturing. Dental 3D printing is by far the biggest case. Dental parts are, if you combine them all, the most popular 3D printed things on Earth. There are more practitioners working with 3D printers in the dental industry than in almost any other industry. 3D printing in the dental sector generates revenue and cost savings along the entire value chain. It is also quite democratic and quite easy to create competition in the supply chain and a jump in the value chain, with dentists doing lab work, for example.

This is happening in a context where dentistry has gone from being a chore to something important to self-esteem. It has also grown incredibly quickly and has grown from being a kind of mom and dad healthcare trend to a very competitive global business.

And then there is Invisalign. Yes, the alternative to braces featured in a Billie Eilish song. “I took out my Invisalign and here is the album,” he said at the start of a clip that has aired tens of thousands of times on television and over a billion times on YouTube. You are not a trader. They are traders. Invisalign is a 3D printing success story. The $ 52 billion market capitalization alignment technology generates more than $ 2.4 billion in revenue. Through relentless advertising directly to consumers, the business became a huge success.

The company scans the prints and then, in Costa Rica, staff members assess and plan the entire workflow. A series of Invisalign molds are then 3D printed using 3D Systems SLA printers in Mexico. These are then used as thermoforming inserts and a thermoformed silicone aligner is produced. This is sent to the client. A single end-to-end treatment could cost between $ 3,000 and $ 8,000. Invisalign produces approximately 250,000 3D prints per day. Competitor Smile Direct makes about 50,000. So in terms of cost savings, it’s a huge market.

Invisalign would save a tremendous amount of time and money if it could 3D print aligners directly and skip a production step. Maybe he doesn’t want to because he has approvals for thermoformed silicone and thinks it’s safer. But, have they tried printing gutters directly that? Hell yeah. They and all the other dentists have tried that. Luckily, now maybe Graphy has made it, but everyone is a little freaked out that a small Korean business has ended up getting there, so people aren’t shouting it from the rooftops just yet. But, if it works, it’s huge.


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