How the orthodontic sector can increase revenue with clear aligners!
In this article we would like to show you how the orthodontic sector can increase revenue with clear aligners! In Augustus 2015, two companies operating in the orthodontic sector started using the Leapfrog Xeed for printing scanned teeth that function as a mold for so called “Clear Aligners” “Clear Aligners are an alternative to traditional braces and are designed to help guide teeth into their proper position. Similar to braces, clear aligners use a gradual force to control tooth movement, but without metal wires or brackets.
Process: Scanning > Aligning > Printing > Thermomolding
Thomas Wais from WRC – Tech Austria & LAB M&W Zahn technique receives gypsium molds of patient’s teeth from dentists in Austria. Thomas scans the molds using a 10 micron resolution 3shape scannerbox. In Barcelona, Tessa Limargas from Ortoteam & Esthetic Aligner Team is doing the same, however she uses besides a scanner box also a handheld scanner that scans directly into the patients mouth skipping the process of making gypsum molds. In both cases a scan is created from the patients teeth, which is loaded into a software program Otrhoanalyser 3shape to virtually align the patient’s teeth. The virtual model can be printed on a Leapfrog Xeed 3D printer. As last step both companies use a thermomolding machine to press foil over the printed teeth resulting in a clear aligner.
Ortoteam & Esthetic Aligner Team
Tessa Limargas mentions that It depends on the severity of the teeth malposition it takes more or less time to have teeth aligned. During this period of time, the teeth are aligned in as many stages as needed. For each stage a new print and new foil is necessary. It’s hard to say how many aligners are needed because it depends on the misalignment of teeth, however sometimes more than 6 teeth and aligners are necessary. Reason for us to use the Leapfrog Xeed 3D printer, is that it’s a professional FDM 3D printer delivering enough resolution and speed, however more important is the possibility to place up to 15 ABS models in one print session on the bed.
Regular FDM desktop printers have often already difficulties printing a single ABS model without warping & deforming of the print. We tried with a Makerbot desktop FDM 3D printer however failed. Warping & deforming is a big issue with ABS. We need ABS material to stand the pressure and heat created during the thermomolding process. After a brief training from Leapfrog we were confident enough that the Xeed could do the job. The Xeed is now running 24/7. Main benefit for us is that the Xeed enables us to print our own models instead of using a third party 3D print provider which increasing our efficiency and production time, making us more independent.
WRC – Tech Austria & LAB M&W Zahn technique
Thomas Wais explains that he started exploring the market for a 3D printer three months ago and at first was strongly directed towards the Objet 30 using the Polyjet print technique. However purchasing cost for this machine was far above my budget let alone material and maintenance cost of several thousands of Euro’s yearly necessary to run the Objet machine. After comparing specs of different 3D printers & techniques, my attention was shifted towards the professional, but far more affordable Leapfrog Xeed 3D printer using fused deposition modeling technique (FDM). To compare, a printed model from an objet printer will cost me between 15 and 30 Euro’s.
However from the Xeed 3D printer costs us merely a few Euro’s taking into account material cost, electricity cost and depreciation of the machine. Also the maintenance of the Xeed (which is almost none) can be preformed by a lab member with no technical back ground and is limited to swapping a nozzle or hot end once in a while (compared to changing a toner from a 2D printer). The Xeed saves us between 15K and 20K per year compared to the Objet printer and no downtime is involved since we do not have stop production while waiting for maintenance from a certified company. We are producing with success for one month already and printed ABS teeth without making any concession on quality of our products.
Discover our affordable and professional Leapfrog Xeed 3D Printer!