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5 Reasons to Use Printed Models in Dental Education

The introduction of printed models in the dental education environment is still in its infancy.  According to Scott Dunham, senior business analyst at SmarTech, “the dental industry will be the most radically changed by 3D printing in the next decade when we look at where it’s at today versus what it will look like thanks to 3D in the next five to ten years.” With the dramatic changes going on in the dental industry it is important to be working with a trusted partner who will work with you and understands your specific needs.

The use of dental stone is still the standard for producing most of the model work required for dental education purposes. However, with a better understanding of available materials along with its accuracy and reproducibility, printed models are becoming more prevalent in dental education.

Why should you consider giving printed models a try at your school?  There are many reasons to incorporate printed models into dental education, but here are our top 5:

1. Accuracy

When models are being produced for your curriculum it is of the utmost importance that the models match each other precisely for grading purposes. Most dental printers can print models with repeatable accuracy to within 50 microns.

2. Reproducibility

Once the file is created to your specifications each model is an exact replica of every printed model from that file, however many you print.  There is no concern for differences in shrinkage or unwanted discrepancies.

3. Time savings

Most schools have their lab technicians or a summer intern pour up models during the summer break. This takes time away from the productivity of the lab technician, or adds additional cost for having to hire and train someone. Depending on the numbers of models requested, printed models can be completed and ready for students within a couple of days.

4. Flexibility

Using printed models gives you the flexibility to change your design year after year.  All that is needed is your idea along with a STL file displaying what is required for your teaching scenario. Should a student damage or lose a model it can be easily and quickly replaced.

5. Cost savings over time

If you’ve ever seen a school where stone models are being prepared for a course, you can’t help but notice how much material is being wasted.  Printing models are printed to the exact size you chose.  No excess material is produced.  In addition, printed models do not require trimming or waiting for set-up like stone models.

James Robinson, CDT

Jim is the Institutional Sales Manager for Whip Mix and a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant serving more than 22 years of active duty. He is a Certified Dental Technician (C.D.T.) with his certification being in Crown and Bridge. Jim has lectured extensively domestically and internationally on Occlusion and Articulation and is a lecturer and hands-on trainer for the Dawson Academy.