May 10, 2023 3 min read
By Dr. Russell Schafer
Summary: Dr. Schafer was able to create and print a lower denture in one week, which fit almost perfectly when he went to deliver it. The patient was very happy with the final product, and the remarkable results demonstrate how beneficial 3D printing can be for a dental practice.
One of Dr. Schafer’s patients, Beverly1, came to his office and presented with a common problem – a top denture she loved, and a lower denture she hated. However, unlike the normal loose lower denture, the mandibular denture was set improperly. The vertical dimension of occlusion (VDO) was too high, and made it extremely uncomfortable to wear on a regular basis.
The patient had been without a mandibular denture for more than a decade, and was unsure if she’d ever be able to tolerate one. Unfortunately, so many patients suffer with poor oral health not knowing whether they will be able to feel comfortable with their smile, as they have had negative experiences with dental professionals in the past.
To assess whether Beverly would be able to tolerate a lower prosthetic, Dr. Schafer decided to make her an interim denture to see if this could be a functional and positive solution for her.
Dr. Schafer decided to cut back the vestibule on the patient’s current mandibular CD until he got an acceptable VDO and relined it with light body PVS. He then scanned the mandibular denture with the reline, the maxillary CD, and the bite with the two dentures which were articulated with blue bite intraorally.
From here, Dr. Schafer was able to articulate the mandible to Beverly’s upper denture and set the mandibular teeth in Maximum Intercuspal Position (MIP) and form a denture base around them. The denture base was printed on the DENTIQ with CURO Light Pink Denture Resin, and the teeth were printed on the SOL with CURO Crown A2 Resin.
Dr. Schafer invested in multiple printers in the office. With the Ackuretta DENTIQ, which is a smaller but reliable printer, he often prints his denture bases. The SOL, which prints faster and has a variety of build platforms, prints denture teeth within 45 minutes for a layer thickness of 100 microns2.
As a long-time user of 3D printers, Dr. Schafer makes these three recommendations to everyone:
1. It is always useful to have two printers. If one of the printers is out of commission, which occasionally happens, you always have a back-up.
2. With two printers, a dental office can print a denture base and denture teeth at the same time, making for an efficient denture workflow.
3. Always keep one resin per vat, and store them in a storage space that doesn’t allow UV light to penetrate. The new SOL vats are now all sent with a stackable vat box, which will make your life a lot easier. With this technique, you will avoid pouring resin in and out of vats on a regular basis, which will save you time, money, and a mess to clean up.
The most important step in 3D printing is not actually the printing itself, but rather the washing and curing protocols which determine the biocompatibility of the print. Following the resin manufacturer’s recommended wash and curing steps is easy with the CLEANI and CURIE units. The Ackuretta CURIE comes with preprogrammed curing parameters for almost 200 resins. The user selects the resin used and clicks “Start”. It’s foolproof.
After cleaning, processing, and curing, the denture was placed in the patient’s mouth.
The patient was able to adapt quickly to the denture. Dr. Schafer had to adjust the lingual flange slightly as it was overextended. With this very minor adjustment, Beverly was able to speak just a few minutes after wearing the lower denture! At her one-week follow-up appointment, she was speaking normally, pleased with the overall result.
The Power of 3D Printing
The power of creating an application – or more importantly a solution – using 3D printing technology is undeniable. Dr. Schafer was able to present a quick and low-cost denture solution for the patient. The team went from initial meeting and impressions to delivering the final results one week later with minimal adjustments.
3D printing has the power to change dentistry, and the lives of each and every patient. This is just one of many successful stories. 3D printing is providing dental professionals with access to innovative solutions, bringing affordable and high-quality solutions to patients around the world. We look forward to helping on your journey to print each patient’s perfect smile.
1 The patient’s name has been changed for privacy purposes.
2 It is important to note that printing speed will depend on the viscosity of the resin being used.