Dr. Aditya S. Kharge1, Dr. V. N. V. Madhav2, Dr. Sumit Nalavde3,

Dr. Pratik Attal4

1 Postgraduate student

2 Professor and Head of the Department

3,4Reader

Department of Prosthodontics and Oral Implantology,

Y.C.M.M. & R.D.F’s. Dental College and Hospital, Ahmednagar.

ABSTRACT 

The integration of 3D printing technology and advanced materials has revolutionized the field of prosthodontics, offering new possibilities for the fabrication of dental prosthesis. This article presents an overview of the impact of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics. The rise of 3D printing in prosthodontics has been driven by its ability to produce highly accurate and customized dental prosthesis in a shorter timeframe. Various materials, including resin-based materials, metal alloys, and ceramics, are now used for fabricating dental prosthesis using 3D printing technology. These materials offer unique properties and applications, such as excellent detail resolution, high strength, biocompatibility, and superior aesthetics. The adoption of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics brings numerous benefits, including enhanced precision and customization, improved time and cost efficiency, and superior aesthetic outcomes. Moreover, patient-centric care is facilitated through the ability to create prosthesis tailored to individual patient needs and preferences. Ongoing research focuses on developing novel materials and integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for more accurate and efficient prosthesis design and production. The future of prosthodontics holds promising advancements as 3D printing technology and materials continue to evolve, leading to improved patient care and outcomes.

Keywords: 3-D printing, Additive manufacturing.

Citation: Kharge AS, Madhav VNV, Nalavde S, Attal P. 3-D Printing materials in Prosthodontics: A Review. J Prosthodont Dent Mater 2023;4(1):11-17.

 

Introduction 

Prosthodontics, a specialized branch of dentistry, is dedicated to the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and associated oral structures. Over the years, the fabrication of dental prosthesis has relied on traditional methods that often involve complex and time-consuming processes. However, with the advent of 3D printing technology and the development of advanced materials, a new era has dawned in prosthodontics, revolutionizing the field and offering numerous benefits for dental professionals and patients alike.1

 

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has gained significant traction in prosthodontics due to its ability to produce highly accurate and customized dental prosthesis. This technology involves the creation of three-dimensional objects layer by layer, guided by computer-aided design (CAD) models. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, which often involve manual labour and multiple steps, 3D printing offers a streamlined and efficient approach to prosthesis fabrication.2,3

 

The key to the success of 3D printing in prosthodontics lies in the development of suitable materials. A wide range of materials is now available for fabricating dental prosthesis using 3D printing technology, each with its unique properties and applications. These materials have undergone significant advancements and are specifically designed to meet the requirements of dental applications.2

 

Resin-based materials, such as dental resin, are commonly used in 3D printing for the production of dental models, temporary crowns, and bridges. These resins offer excellent detail resolution, high strength, and good aesthetics, making them suitable for a variety of prosthodontic applications. Metal alloys, including cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) and titanium alloys, are utilized for the fabrication of metal- based prosthesis using selective laser melting (SLM) or direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) techniques.4 These materials exhibit biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, and exceptional mechanical strength, making them ideal for crowns, bridges, and removable partial dentures. Ceramics, which have long been favoured for their aesthetic properties, are now produced using 3D printing techniques like lithography-based ceramic manufacturing (LCM) or powder bed inkjet printing (PBI). Ceramic materials provide excellent aesthetics, biocompatibility, and durability, making them suitable for crowns, veneers, and other aesthetic restorations.5

The integration of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics brings about numerous benefits. First and foremost, it enables a higher level of precision and customization in the fabrication process. 3D printing allows for the creation of dental prosthesis that fit the patient's oral anatomy with exceptional accuracy, reducing the need for adjustments and ensuring better functional outcomes. Additionally, the use of 3D printing materials enhances time and cost efficiency. The streamlined workflow and reduced manual labour significantly reduce the production time and associated costs. Furthermore, the materials' properties, such as biocompatibility and improved aesthetics, contribute to enhanced patient satisfaction and confidence.6

Advances in CAD-CAM material science for 3D Printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, involves creating three-dimensional objects layer by layer using computer-aided design (CAD) models. This technology has gained significant traction in prosthodontics due to its ability to produce highly accurate and customized dental prosthesis in a relatively short period. Additionally, 3D printing allows for the fabrication of complex geometries that were previously difficult or impossible to achieve using traditional methods. 1

The success of 3D printing in prosthodontics is closely tied to the development of suitable materials. A wide range of materials is now available for fabricating dental prosthesis using 3D printing technology, each with its unique properties and applications. Here are some notable materials used in prosthodontics:7,8.9.10

Resin-based Materials:

    • Photopolymer Resins: These resins are commonly used in stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing (DLP) 3D printing technologies. They offer high resolution and good mechanical properties, making them suitable for dental models, temporary crowns, and bridges.

    • Biocompatible Resins: These resins are specifically formulated to be biocompatible and suitable for intraoral use. They are used in the fabrication of surgical guides, denture bases, and other prosthetic components.

  1. Metal Alloys:
    • Cobalt-Chromium (Co-Cr) Alloys: Co-Cr alloys are widely used in 3D printing for metal-based dental prosthesis. They offer high strength, corrosion resistance, and biocompatibility. Co-Cr alloys are commonly used for crowns, bridges, and removable partial dentures.

    • Titanium Alloys: Titanium alloys are lightweight, biocompatible, and possess excellent mechanical properties. They are commonly used in 3D printing for dental implants and implant-supported prosthesis.

  2. Ceramics:
    • Zirconia: Zirconia-based ceramics offer high strength, excellent aesthetics, and biocompatibility. They are used in 3D printing for crowns, veneers, and bridges. Zirconia ceramics can be further customized by colouring or layering techniques to achieve natural tooth-like aesthetics.

    • Lithium Disilicate: Lithium disilicate ceramics provide good strength, aesthetics, and biocompatibility. They are commonly used in 3D printing for crowns, inlays, onlays, and veneers.

  3. Polymer Composites:
    • Polyetheretherketone (PEEK): PEEK is a high-performance polymer that offers excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and resistance to wear and corrosion. It is used in 3D printing for dental implant frameworks, removable partial denture frameworks, and orthodontic appliances.

     5. Hybrid Materials:

    • Hybrid materials combine different materials to achieve specific properties and functionalities. For example, hybrid materials can combine a resin-based matrix with ceramic or metal fillers to enhance mechanical strength and aesthetics.

Benefits of 3D Printing Materials in Prosthodontics

The adoption of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics offers numerous advantages, transforming the way dental prosthesis are fabricated and improving patient outcomes:

  1. Precision and Customization: 3D printing enables precise and customized fabrication, ensuring a better fit and function of dental prosthesis. This level of accuracy minimizes adjustments and reduces chairside time, enhancing both patient comfort and practitioner efficiency.
  2. Time and Cost Efficiency: Compared to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing can significantly reduce the production time and associated costs. The streamlined workflow, elimination of manual labour, and reduced material waste contribute to improved productivity and cost-effectiveness.
  3. Enhanced Aesthetics: With the availability of high-quality materials and improved printing techniques, 3D printing enables the creation of dental restorations that closely mimic the natural appearance of teeth. This allows for superior aesthetic outcomes, boosting patient confidence and satisfaction.
  4. Patient-Centric Care: The use of 3D printing materials empowers dental professionals to provide patient-centric care. The ability to create customized prosthesis tailored to the patient's specific needs and preferences enhances treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.5,6

Future Directions

As 3D printing technology continues to evolve, the field of prosthodontics is poised for further advancements. Ongoing research focuses on developing novel materials with enhanced mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and improved aesthetics. Moreover, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms may enable more accurate and efficient prosthesis design and production.

Discussion

The discussion focuses on the use of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics and their implications for patient care and outcomes. It highlights the properties, advantages, limitations, and applications of different material categories, including resin-based materials, metal alloys, and ceramics.1

Resin-based materials are commonly used in 3D printing for prosthodontic applications. These materials offer excellent detail resolution, high strength, and good aesthetics. They are often utilized for the production of dental models, temporary crowns, and bridges. Resin-based materials provide the advantage of customization, allowing for precise fitting of prosthesis to the patient's oral anatomy. However, they may have limitations in terms of long-term durability and colour stability.3

Metal alloys, such as cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) and titanium, are also widely used in 3D printing for prosthodontics. These materials possess high mechanical strength, biocompatibility, and corrosion resistance, making them suitable for crowns, bridges, and removable partial dentures. The use of metal alloys in 3D printing allows for the fabrication of complex and precise metal-based prosthesis. However, the high melting temperatures required for metal printing may limit the compatibility with certain 3D printing technologies.3,5

Ceramics have long been favoured in prosthodontics for their excellent aesthetics and biocompatibility. With the advent of 3D printing, ceramics can now be produced using techniques such as lithography-based ceramic manufacturing (LCM) or powder bed inkjet printing (PBI). Ceramic materials offer superior aesthetics, durability, and biocompatibility, making them suitable for crowns, veneers, and other aesthetic restorations. However, ceramics can be challenging to work with due to their brittleness and the complex firing processes involved.

The use of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics has several advantages. Firstly, it enables a higher level of precision and customization in prosthesis fabrication. With 3D printing, dental prosthesis can be precisely tailored to fit the patient's oral anatomy, resulting in improved fit and functionality. The ability to create patient-specific prosthesis enhances treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Another advantage of 3D printing materials is their potential to reduce production time and costs. Compared to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing offers a streamlined workflow and reduced labour requirements, resulting in shorter production times and decreased costs. This can benefit both dental professionals and patients by improving efficiency and accessibility of prosthodontic treatments.

Furthermore, the use of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics has implications for aesthetics and biocompatibility. Materials such as resin-based composites and ceramics provide excellent aesthetic outcomes, closely mimicking natural teeth. They can be matched to the patient's natural tooth colour and translucency, resulting in aesthetically pleasing restorations. Additionally, many 3D printing materials exhibit biocompatibility, ensuring a safe and comfortable fit for patients.

However, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics. Some materials may have certain drawbacks, such as limited long-term durability, colour stability, or difficulties in processing. It is crucial for dental professionals to carefully select materials based on the specific requirements of each case and the desired outcome.

Conclusion

The integration of 3D printing materials in prosthodontics has brought about a paradigm shift in the fabrication of dental prosthesis. By combining precision, customization, and cost-effectiveness, these materials offer significant benefits to both dental professionals and patients. As the technology advances and new materials emerge, the future of prosthodontics holds the promise of even more remarkable developments, leading to improved patient care and outcomes.

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