3-D is all the rage these days, affecting every aspect of human life, how we treat animals, how we travel in space, and even how we entertain ourselves.
The Verge reported last month that L’Oreal was partnering with a bio-printing company to 3-D print human skin, eliminating the need to use animals as test subjects for their products.
A more recent news story from CNBC covers how 3-D technology is poised to slash space launch prices within a matter of months.
The newest 3-D movies, such as Jurassic World, are expected to be blockbusters. But perhaps nowhere is the impact of 3-D more beneficial than in dentistry.
Dental Sector and 3-D
The dental sector in the U.S. is a big consumer of 3-D scanners and represents a strong growth area for 3-D printing devices.
Dr. Shahin Safarian has been using a 3-D scanning device in his practice since 2005, when they were still a novelty.
A U.K.-based research firm, IDTechEx, predicts that many dentists will adopt 3-D printers quickly after their appearance, making the U.S. a $180 million-a-year market within the next 10 years.
Dentistry is on the verge of a big change, and dental patients are going to be the first people to benefit from it.
Dentistry before 3-D
A few years ago, getting a crown was not a comfortable procedure. It meant that a patient was required to chew on gag-inducing mold to record an image of his or her bite.
The procedure made many patients uneasy. Many times, the procedure had to be repeated because few patients could bite down on the mold in the right way the first time.
Even after all the pain, the results were not always stellar. Then, 3-D scanners came and changed the whole picture.
Dentistry after 3-D
3-D scanning has made dentistry more tolerable and less scary for patients.
A dentist can produce a 3-D image of teeth without forcing his or her patient to chew on some gooey mold.
The patient spends a few minutes with a scanner and a three-dimensional image of his or her mouth shows up on a computer screen. Using the image, a dentist can create porcelain crowns.
The patients, who experience this procedure once, rarely want to get another crown in the old way.
What does the Future Hold?
New advances in 3-D technology promise to make dental procedures even more humane and less painful.
Some companies are working on 3-D printers that will allow dentists to create crowns and other dental prosthetic’s in real-time.
According to IDTechEx, such printers may constitute an $868 million market in 2025.
It will be a big relief for dental patients if IDTechEx’s prediction comes to fruition.
What can a Dental Patient Do Now?
The first 3-D movie was showcased in the U.S. 1922 but the first spike in interest in 3-D had to wait until the 1950s.
People who were expecting more 3-D films immediately after the first showcase were in for a disappointment.
It could happen again because there is no guarantee that the current progress in 3-D printing will not hit a roadblock in near future.
For patients, the safest strategy will be not to wait until 3-D printers become the norm and consult a dentist today if they have a dental issue.
For a discussion, you can speak to Dr. Shahin Safarian, whose clinics in San Diego and Chula Vista use the latest 3-D dental technologies. You can call now at (858) 755-8993 or (619) 656-6785. First consultation is free.