By: Dr. Julia Latham
When it comes to living in a tech-driven world, I consciously decided to jump in headfirst and add 3D printing to my practice.
How did I do it, you might ask? Well, here’s how I decided.
Deciding If You Should Invest in 3D Printing for Your Dental Practice
Assess Your Practice Needs
I started by assessing my own practice’s needs.
The ability to provide “same-day service” for my patients is of primary importance, and I realized early on that reducing the number of visits to the office is often a huge practice builder.
Deciding to Invest
My decision to adopt 3D printing came naturally when COVID-19 began to disrupt my ability to provide timely care, due to shipping and turnaround delays from laboratories.
I sought a better way to provide faster care that also optimized my practice output and increased internal efficiencies by involving dental assistants in the whole 3D workflow.
For me, the ability to print models for retainers, nightguards, diagnostic casts, and aligners was a game changer.
Narrowing it Down
When determining the right 3D printing solution, it’s important to consider such questions as:
- What will I be printing, and how often?
- Do I have the personnel in place to support in-house 3D printing?
- How big or small will my 3D printing area be?
Asking these types of questions will help narrow down the available options and choose the right 3D printing solution.
What to Know About 3D Printing for Beginners
Often the biggest challenge when learning a new technology is just that – learning it.
Make sure your whole dental team completes initial training, which will help in the long run.
Even after we feel comfortable with the digital workflow, conducting regular training will help the entire dental team (not just your team lead) hone their skills.
Scheduling quarterly training with the manufacturer is a great way to achieve this.
Tips for Getting Started with 3D Printing at Your Dental Practice
1. Delegate a Team Lead
Once you’ve invested and are ready to get started, it is important to delegate a team lead (or leads) for this particular “area” of your practice.
2. Schedule Training
You’ll want to schedule training for yourself, your team leads, and the dental team (if they are available) and come equipped with questions.
3. Keep Things Running Smoothly
Ensuring a secure internet connection, adequate workspace, and proper ventilation, are just a few things that will need to be determined ahead of time.
But, don’t worry, your manufacturer can guide you along the way (especially if it’s DMG).
Be sure to pay attention to email and/or mail notices from your 3D solution provider, that will tell you things like software updates and added features.
If “ease of use” is non-negotiable at your practice, then I encourage clinicians to consider DMG DentaMile.
It offers a complete solution to 3D printing, meaning software, hardware, and materials all integrate together, seamlessly.
With fast print speeds, ultra-fine resolution, networking capabilities, and device fabrication options, it’s an excellent solution for both novice and expert printers.