Formlabs recently shared some interesting and impressive facts about their presence in the dental market.
They command the largest dental 3D printer user base in the world, having sold thousands of 3D printers to dental professionals. Also, practitioners have performed over 50,000 surgeries using orthodontic models 3D printed on a Formlabs 3D printer. That’s a lot of printers and a lot of surgeries.
Formlabs’ professional dental resins include Dental Model Resin for crown and bridge models, and Dental SG Resin, which is a Class 1 biocompatible material for printing precise surgical guides. Standard Grey Resin is also suitable for dental prototyping applications, because it shows extremely fine detail well.
A limitation all these materials share, however, is that none of them are suitable for long-term dental applications; in other words, they aren’t designed for long-term use in the oral cavity. This is fine, since they have been specifically engineered for printing short-term dental devices. But, what if you wanted to 3D print a long-term split or retainer?
The answer is Dental LT Clear, an all-new resin from Formlabs with a Class IIa biocompatibility rating. It’s a hugely capable material with a wide range of applications. Here’s what you need to know about it:
Dental LT Clear
Dental LT Clear is Formlabs’ first long-term bio-compatible dental resin for the Form 2. It is a CE-certified Class IIa material with a wide range of potential applications, not least for manufacturing splints, retainers, and other direct-printed orthodontic devices for long-term use in the oral cavity.
Previous Formlabs’ dental resins were engineered for temporary, short-term use only – an obvious limitation for dental devices. The launch of Dental LT Clear changes this. Now, for the first time, dental professionals can 3D print splints, denture bases, crowns, bridges, retainers and other devices with their Form 2 for long-term and mid-term applications.
Thanks to the wicked print speed offered by the Form 2 3D printer, it is possible to 3D print a hard splint with Dental LT Clear in less than 50-minutes, or a full build platform with seven hard splints in under two hours. This means that it is possible to 3D print a splint for a patient whilst they wait. Formlabs also recently updated their Dental SG Resin and PreForm software for faster print speeds. This has improved print speeds for surgical guides by up to 50 per cent.
Of course, any dental resin is useless if not accurate. So it comes as no surprise that Dental LT Clear sets a new benchmark for biocompatible resin accuracy. On this, Formlabs said in their blog post: “An in-depth accuracy study of 80 Dental LT Clear printed splints showed that intaglio surfaces of Form 2 printed splints were dimensionally accurate within ± 100 microns over 80 percent of the intaglio surfaces, and within ± 125 microns over 90 percent of the surfaces,” said Formlabs, “This was found to provide a precise fit on both models and patients.”
Appearance, properties and print cost
Dental LT Clear resin is, as its name suggests, a clear material with excellent transparency fresh from the print bed. Models can also be polished to a higher optical transparency. This material is strong, tough and highly resistant to fracture and wear. It’s also extremely rigid. This makes it most appropriate for 3D printing hard splints and other hard orthodontic devices. Dental LT Clear resin has a shore hardness of 80–90D and a flexural modulus of ≥ 1,300 MPa. You can view the Dental LT Clear datasheet here, and you can view instructions for use here.
Formlabs says that the average cost per part for splints and retainers is $4 to $6 per part, and the cost per full arch surgical guide is $3 to $5 per part (Formlabs). Those costs are extremely low compared to traditional manufacturing methods.