It’s said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but it is a person’s smile which people generally notice first, and a judgement on an individual’s personality is consciously or subconsciously formed in those fleeting initial seconds when someone smiles. In an image-conscious age of celebrity culture and social media, everybody wants a perfect gleaming smile. It has always been this way, and in 1955, the very first British television commercial was for toothpaste.
Everybody can recollect a time when they have visited the dentist. For some, it evokes memories of being told to lay back and open wide before the sound of a drill brings beads of sweat onto your brow, while for others it simply involved a lot of prodding and a reminder to brush twice a day.
Even if a patient brushes regularly and doesn’t have a penchant for sweet things, work might still need to be done on their teeth to give them that confidence-boosting smile. With more and more dentists using a 3D printing service, that work can now be achieved more quickly and at a lower cost, both in time and money.
Many young people have crooked teeth and it is a common sight to see them walking around with metal braces. Some people don’t mind wearing them, in the knowledge, it will make them look better as they grow older, but for others, during that self-conscious adolescent period, it is personally embarrassing.
However, those awkward days are coming to an end as a 3D printing service can now produce braces from a substance which is almost invisible. Furthermore, these braces can be replaced regularly as the teeth realign, in a simple procedure which can be carried out while the person waits.
This immediacy is one of the biggest attractions for dentists and patients alike, especially if a tooth is removed or has to be capped. The old sequence of events involved a visit to the dentist for the removal of a tooth or having it filed down in preparation for a crown. An impression is then taken off the gums which in turn, is used as a mould to create a model to be sent off to a laboratory which fashions a replacement or a cap to rebuild a tooth. Meanwhile, the patient goes home and walks around for several days with a gap in their smile, or unable to chew properly and finally, they return to the dentist to have the work completed.
It is becoming more common now for a dentist to either use a 3D printing bureau, or to have a 3D printer of their own, so they can produce the replacement tooth or cap immediately. All it involves is a 3D scan of a patient’s mouth, after which a 3D model of the tooth or teeth is generated by a commercial or private 3D printing service.
All the necessary work can be carried out in one visit, which is good news for people who don’t want to walk around with an embarrassing gap for a week, or for those who find a visit to the dentist a traumatic experience. This progress in dentistry should bring a happy smile to everyone’s face.