There’s a game changing revolution happening with Dental Labs – Are you ready for it?

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Your dentists are going digital – intra oral scanners, dental planning software …

Over the last few years, medical aid claims for dental treatments have seen a drop. Why?

Primarily because dental care is expensive and is increasingly being regarded as ancillary, rather than primary. This downward pressure is forcing dentists to seek ways to reduce cost, especially time costs, when treating patients.

Dentists are looking to digital options to lower costs, simplify work-flows and speed things up.

Increasingly, dentists are no longer wanting to send you impressions, rather they are wanting to send digital files. As a result, dental labs and dental ceramists are having to re-evaluate their work-flows, streamline their cost structures and be more efficient.

Digital 3D technology solutions, specifically tailored for dental labs, have reached a maturity. Some of these technologies have matured to the extent that traditional methods can no longer compete.

The drivers that changed the Jewellery Manufacturing Industry are the same drivers facing Dental Labs today!

It was only five years ago, that the jewellery industry was facing similar problems. Manufacturers in countries with extremely low wage and running costs were decimating their markets. The jewellery industry turned to digital design, combined this with 3D printing and the industry as since seen a complete revolution in their manufacturing practices and profitability.

The Dental industry is at the same point today.

Dental Labs that adopt 3D printing workflows and capabilities will be the ones that survive. Those that don’t will be left scrambling for the crumbs.

Here’s what your dentists are facing

Technology has brought ‘instant’ to the fore. Text messages travel the planet in the blink of an eye. Google provides answers to (almost) any question, instantly.

People are getting used to speed and convenience. They are coming to expect it.

Here’s a common pressure your dentists are facing …

healthy teeth patient at dentist office dental caries preventionA chipped, cracked or broken tooth.

The traditional process, is to send the impressions to you, the local dental lab, then wait weeks as you hand craft or mill the veneer or crown. Sometimes you are busy, so it takes even longer. As your workload increases, you spend more time in the lab, less time enjoying the fruit of your labours.

In the meantime, their patient is sent home with an inconvenient temporary crown secured with temporary cement, only to return weeks later for another lengthy procedure to secure the new crown.

This is a long, painful and tedious process for your dentists patients. What if you could cut the wait for your dentists from weeks to days (while everybody else makes them wait weeks/months)?

People are getting used to fast. If you don’t provide it, they will go to someone who does.

Here’s a quote from a patient of a dentist using 3D printing technology to print temporary crowns in his office.

I have a crown, and it was 3D printed while I was waiting in-office – the whole procedure (from walking in with cracked tooth to walking out with a new crown) took about an hour and 15 minutes or so.

Doc even rolled in the 3D printing machine computer deal and showed me how he shaped the crown to avoid it colliding with other teeth/creating pressure points.

Some time ago, Matt Shafer, from Bay View Dental Laboratory, realised 3D printing would be a necessary part of a competitive future for their dental lab.

The company researched a variety of 3D printers before settling on the EnvisionTEC Vida as its primary 3D printer for precision production work.

Here’s what Matt had to say …

“The accuracy and material flexibility offered by the Vida has allowed the company to expand its business in offering surgical guides, too. It’s now a growing business,” Matt said. “In the end, I’m glad we introduced 3D technology. The venture into 3D printing, has gone better than we had ever expected.”

3D technology and three-dimensional printing has already transformed dental labs and dental ceramists across the world. That revolution has come to South Africa – enabling you to be a competitive player if you so choose.

Here’s how your lab can be part of this future.

Step 1: Your dentists scan their patient’s teeth with an intra-oral digital scanner/camera or take a dental impression cast or bite plate and put it in their 3D scanner. Takes a maximum of 5 minutes.

The scanner will 3D scan stumps, abutments, complete dental casts, fillings, bridges, antagonists, dental inlays, wax-ups, coverings and armours.

See a 3D dental scanner in action:
Dental 3D Scanner in action

Step 2: The dentist designs a dental treatment plan – digitally

Dental software only needs a few minutes to perform the analysis, including inspecting the model data and creating of the set-up.

A few additional capabilities (besides designing veneers & crowns) of Dental software (and why it’s so attractive to the harried dentist):

  • Easy to use – Step through wizards make it easy for the dentist to perform any operation. In a few easy steps they can add their own virtual bases of the maxillary and mandibular models or achieve transparent masks
  • Fast – It takes just a few minutes to perform all the analysis, inspection and creation.
  • Create virtual bases (ABO, ABO-2013, Ricketts, Parallel, Tweed) and add them to scanned stone casts.
  • Perform occlusal inspection analysis, 2D / 3D sections, measurement on teeth and full archs.Rapid-3d_maestro3d-dental-studio-virtual-setup
  • Create a set of 3d models, needed for the whole orthodontic treatment, ready to be exported and optimized for the 3D printing.
  • Automatically place brackets on the teeth. Offering various placement techniques (Step, Roth, Wick Alexander, Dwight Damon, MBT, Andrews).Rapid-3d_maestro3d-dental-studio-brackets
  • Design and construct the clear aligners in a virtual way; draw the aligner shape, set a variable thickness and simulate the thermoforming. It also allows the dentist to make the bracket transfer trays for bracket placement (with or without jig)
Watch the video below to get a more detailed tour.


Maestro Ortho Studio allows you to view 3D dental impression models easily when created with Ortho Studio. Specific data about the dental impression cast, patient, etc. are also displayed on the screen for your convenience.


Step 3: You 3D print orthodontic aligners, crowns, bridges, temporaries, veneers, provisionals, drill guides or models!

The EnvisionTEC Micro cDLM printer is able to print 8-10 crowns at a time in 15 minutes. The Perfactory® Vida 3D prints up to 4 set-up models in a single print! For a large 3D print expect a finished product in 24 hours. Compare this to your current methods.

When you hold a finished print it has a wonderfully smooth finish, with no signs of stairstepping or uneven layers.

Because the range of materials is so impressive, your dental lab will have the ability to 3D print multiple types of dental models, orthodontic aligners, surgical guides, bite splints, night guards, retainers, dentures and crowns.

Here’s a few examples to whet your appetite and demonstrate the possibilities:


EnvisionTEC’s E-Dent M is a light-cured micro-hybrid filled dental crown and bridge material for long-term temporaries. E-Dent M can also be used for printing of very tough veneers that are extremely accurate with a very fine surface finish. E-Dent M is currently available in 3 shades. Structures can be cut back and then layered using any light-curable shade composite. It is FDA approved. EnvisionTEC’s E-Dent M has been developed especially for the manufacturing of long term crown and bridge provisional. Full crowns or multi-unit bridges can be printed. The printed design can also be cut back to allow for color layering and shading.


EnvisionTEC’s Clear Guide M is a crystal clear material for the production of accurate drill guides that are superior to traditional methods of manufacturing implant placement guides. High-resolution 3D printing allows for precisely targeted placement of implants. Finally, the cost of high-quality drill guides can be dramatically lower when produced, making EnvisionTEC the clear choice for any digital dental laboratory.

EnvisionTEC’s E-Appliance M is ideal for orthodontic models. E-Appliance is a specially designed nano-filled resin that will work reliably with both polyvinyl alcohol based-separators and tin foil substitute for a “salt and pepper” technique of producing an orthodontic appliance. This method of in-house or lab-based construction of orthodontic removable or fixed appliances provides excellent strength and durability combined with an amazing array of design latitude for individuality of expression for the patient. Models offer the detailed precision and high quality surface finish that accepts a wide range of separator mediums for the perfect removal of the finished appliance from the model.

Imagine the possibilities this technology will bring to your dental lab.

EnvisionTEC VIDA used for printing Dental models and clear orthodontic aligners
Zortrax Inkspire used for printing Dental models


Do you want to step into the future now? Let us show you the possibilities.

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