Older woman smiling | Dentist in Gretna LA

3D Printed Dentures

January 1, 2019
Posted By: Russell Schafer, DDS
Older Couple | 3D Printed Dentures New Orleans

At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, Dr. Schafer strives to offer the highest level of care for his patients by keeping up with the latest technology.  One of the newest services that Dr. Schafer offers at our New Orleans office is making 3d printed dentures from our in-office 3d printers. We offer this service because it helps many of our patients avoid embarrassment from missing teeth at a much more quickly than our hand crafted dentures and we use them in situations where we need a low cost prosthesis for the moment.  This blog post will discuss the process for creating the printed dentures, the types of printed dentures, and who can benefit from printed dentures.

The Printing Process

The process for creating printed dentures can be broken into the appointments and fabrication.  The appointment process is similar to making a regular denture. First the dentist takes and impression of the upper and lower jaw, and then the dentist takes a bite so that the position of the jaws can be measured.  The impressions allow the dentist to select the appropriate size of teeth as well the mid line of the face, and the bite shows the dentist how set the teeth so that they match up properly. The impressions and the bite are scanned into the computer.  Using specialized software, Dr. Schafer places the teeth so that they line up well and bite together properly. The dentures are then built on 3d printers with material that is similar to what dentists use in white fillings. The printers can take anywhere from 30 minutes for routine dentures to 5 hours for complicated ones.  After the dentures are built, they are washed in an alcohol bath twice for 3 minutes and then put in an intense UV light box similar to a tanning booth for 30 minutes. The dentures are then polished by the dentist to make sure they feel comfortable to the patient.

Types of 3D printed Dentures

There are two types of dentures that can be printed out.  The dentures can either be monolithic or two part. Monolithic dentures are printed out of white resin and are great because they are stronger  and quicker to fabricate than the two part dentures and can be made thinner. After they are fabricated, cleaned, cured, and polished, Dr. Schafer will add red gums to them to make them look more natural.  The two part dentures are great because they look prettier than the monolithic dentures. The two part dentures have a red base that is printed out for the gum portion of the denture and then white teeth are printed out as well.  The white teeth and red gums are cleaned and then bonded together. The red base looks more esthetic not only because it is red but also because it is translucent so the underlying gums from the mouth show through slightly.

Who can get 3D printed Dentures?

Dr. Schafer recommends these dentures for three different groups of people.  First, these dentures are primarily made when a prosthesis is needed quickly.  A handcrafted denture usually takes at least 4 weeks to make well, and a 3d printed denture can be made as quickly as the same day.  If a person loses a partial denture with front teeth, the patient can have another set made by the following morning so that he doesn’t have to go long without front teeth.  Dr. Schafer also makes the printed dentures as replacements while hand crafted dentures are being fixed. If a patient’s hand crafted denture isn’t fitting well and must go to the lab for a repair, it can take up two weeks for the denture to return and no patient wants to go without their smile for even a day. The final patient that Dr. Schafer makes 3d printed patients for are those that do not have high esthetic needs.  Patients who simply need teeth back do well with 3d printed dentures because Dr. Schafer is able to get them back teeth quickly as there are only 3 sizes of teeth and 2 colors of teeth to choose.

If you are in need of a set of teeth quickly, printed dentures may be the right choice for you.  Dr. Schafer and his team work hard to give patients back their smile no matter what is needed. If you have more questions about printed dentures or need to make an appointment, call us at 504-392-5104 and we will help you out.


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