WATCH NOW: Kenosha Company Brings 3D Printing to Dental Care | Business

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JOE STATES

As technology continues to reshape the healthcare landscape, a Kenosha-based company is working to bring 3D printing to the world of dental care.

Nota 3D Solutions Inc. sells and services a variety of 3D printers. High-tech devices work with materials ranging from metals to thermoplastics and, in this particular case, photopolymeric resins, which can be used to print biocompatible dental devices.

“It is on the cutting edge of technology,” said Jason Jarosch, President and CEO.

With a 3D printer, personalized devices, from dentures to night guards, can be made much faster than traditional methods, and at a fraction of the cost. Something that would have required several visits and weeks of work can be done in a single day.

“We print prostheses on site, and the patient comes away with prostheses designed for them,” Jarosch said.

Jarosch said he launched Nota 3D in 2016 after working for a competitor who failed to take advantage of recent advances in 3D printing technology.

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“I thought I would start my own thing and offer some of the new stuff,” Jarosch said.

From an office at 3200 Sheridan Road, Jarosch and his small team began selling and servicing 3D printers for customers across the country.

In early 2020, Nota 3D entered the field of dental 3D printing, just before the start of the pandemic. Even though it seemed like bad luck at the time, Jarosch said that at the end of 2020 the dental world was growing. The demand for the speed and cost effectiveness of 3D printed dental appliances has increased with it.

No more multiple visits

Traditionally, creating custom dentures and other devices requires multiple visits to a dental expert, which in some cases are hand molded to fit a patient.

“It was very laborious,” Jarosch said. “It could be weeks or months before they can get anything.”

Although Jarosch said dental 3D printing has been around for about a decade, the equipment is too large and complicated to operate at a local dental clinic. The prints were usually sent to a larger lab that served hundreds of clinics.

Jarosch said his goal is to one day see all dental clinics have their own printing machines. Today’s printers are about the size of a full-size mini-fridge and can easily fit into an office.

“This is really going to benefit the doctor’s offices themselves, as well as the patients,” Jarosch said. “But health care, in general, is slow to adjust.”

Nate Brown, a sales representative for Nota, said that while doctors and customers are often familiar with 3D printing of dental appliances, they don’t realize how much the technology has developed in recent years.

“A lot of times we’ll come in with these samples and they’ll be shocked,” said Brown, pointing to a table of dozens of printed dentures and night guards.

Evolving technology

But 3D printed dental appliances are not without drawbacks. Traditional dentures generally last longer, around five to 10 years compared to one to two years of printed dentures.

But because printing is so much cheaper than traditional methods, Jarosch said it was still a better decision financially, both for patients and doctors. And, with new, stronger materials set to be announced in 2022, Jarosch argued that the field is progressing rapidly. Such disadvantages may not be true in a few years.

“It exists, but we’re starting to see it grow,” Jarosch said. “What we’re doing now, it’s only been a few years.”

As 2021 draws to a close, Jarosch looked back on the evolution of Nota 3D and said he was optimistic for the year ahead.

“This has been a pretty good year for us,” Jarosch said, “but 2022 is going to be a big year of growth for us.”

He plans to expand his small team, currently a total of seven, with additional technicians and sales representatives.

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