The introduction of 3D printing resins for medical and dental applications presents a revolutionary opportunity to reshape the way healthcare and dentistry services are delivered around the world. These materials have been developed with a variety of features that make them suitable for use in medical and dental procedures, such as superior strength, high biocompatibility, excellent printability and superior surface finish. Formlabs, a 3D printing company, has just announced two new resins for medical and dental applications that are available for their 3D printers: Biomed Durable Resin and Dental LT Comfort Resin.

What is a 3D printing resin?

The most common type of resin used in 3D printing is photopolymer, which hardens when exposed to light. This means the parts produced are very precise and can be easily reproduced. In addition, it makes for a great choice for creating complex shapes, as it can be easily formed into any shape. The choice of resin determines the resulting part's hardness, flexibility, and durability, offering a wide range of possibilities for fabrication.

Source: Samuel Perales/Adobe StockSource: Samuel Perales/Adobe Stock

Epoxy resins are commonly utilized in 3D printing due to their ability to deliver the finest level of detail compared to alternative resin types, allowing them to be used in various 3D printing techniques. From FDM and SLA to laser sintering, epoxy resins can accommodate almost any requirement. Epoxy resins also possess exceptional mechanical properties (strength and durability), making them ideal for functional components.

Acrylics and polyurethane are commonly used in 3D printing as both materials can produce a wide range of intricate parts and products with accurate dimensions. The combination of acrylics and polyurethane also makes them ideal materials for 3D printing objects that must withstand high temperatures or heavy loads, such as automotive parts or medical implants. Additionally, the two materials can be used in tandem to create hybrid structures with superior strength and a wide range of capabilities.

When it comes to 3D printing resin, there are many varieties to choose from, depending on the application. It is important to consider factors like resolution, durability and flexibility when selecting the right resin. With advancements in 3D printing technology, there are now even higher-performance resins that offer better mechanical properties than ever before.

Medical and dental applications for 3D printing resins

3D printing resins are an increasingly popular option for medical and dental applications. For years, 3D printing has been used in the medical industry to create prosthetics, surgical models and other necessary components for orthopedic surgery with great success. With the advent of more advanced 3D printing technologies, it’s now possible to use 3D printers for a wider variety of medical and dental applications.

Dentists can utilize 3D printing resins to manufacture various products, including long-term occlusal splints, nightguards and bleaching trays. This innovative material was specifically designed to prioritize patient comfort, ensuring an optimal fit while exhibiting exceptional durability against wear. The implementation of 3D printing resins enables dental and orthodontic labs, as well as dental practices, to directly produce flexible splints that are both biocompatible and comfortable for patients. These remarkable products offer a long-term solution, requiring minimal polishing to achieve high optical transparency.

3D printing resins can also be used in medical applications such as the manufacturing of prosthetics and orthotics, and personal hearing aids. 3D printing technology can be used to accurately replicate a patient's exact anatomy, allowing for precise fit when constructing medical devices. This accuracy also reduces the need for manual labor or sizing adjustments. Additionally, 3D printed materials are lighter than traditional models, making them easier to handle and more comfortable to wear, especially for long-term use.

Why are 3D printing resins important for the medical and dental industries?

In 2019, it was estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from tooth decay (dental caries) of permanent teeth, globally. To address this issue, the medical and dental industries have seen a shift toward 3D printing for more accurate and cost-effective solutions. 3D printing resins offer crucial advantages over other materials in terms of accuracy, as well as strength and stability. They are a perfect fit for the manufacturing of custom implants, prostheses and dental appliances.

Resins can be engineered to match the desired characteristics like color, opacity and hardness. They are also far more precise than traditional materials as they provide greater accuracy in terms of dimensions and shapes even when printing complex structures or cavities. This makes them ideal for creating intricate dental appliances as well as high-precision medical models and instruments.

The material also provides a high level of strength and stability, which is essential for any dental or medical application. 3D printing resins possess a remarkable recovery rate, meaning they can retain their shape after being stretched or compressed on multiple occasions. This makes them an ideal choice for creating implants and other prostheses that must endure a lifetime of wear and tear.

In addition to the medical and dental fields, 3D printing resins are also being widely used in other industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer goods and manufacturing. This is because they offer a range of advantages over traditional materials including improved safety, speed and accuracy. With their versatile properties and cost-effectiveness, 3D printing resins are seen as the future of advanced manufacturing.

3D printing has come a long way in the past decade and is becoming increasingly popular due to its wide range of applications across industries. It is now being seen as a viable option for creating dental implants and prostheses which are customized and highly accurate. With its enhanced safety, precision and affordability, 3D printing is sure to revolutionize the medical and dental sectors in the years to come.