3D Printing For Patient-Specific Bracket System
After thorough examination of a child’s mouth, teeth and jaws, the orthodontist tells the parents that the child requires orthodontic expander to treat crossbite or overcrowding of the upper teeth. Why does the child require the orthodontic appliance? Developing a proper sized jaw is very important so that the top and bottom teeth will eventually fit together.
Venture-backed startup Lightforce Orthodontics was officially launched during this year’s American Association of Orthodontics annual session. The startup is making the world’s first custom 3D printed bracket system for the digital orthodontics industry. According to Dr. Alfred Griffin, standard orthodontic prescriptions are essentially a compromise.
There is “all patients equal” proposition but the truth is patients do not have exactly the same teeth bite. Pre-programmed brackets have several constraining factors that include inflexible bracket manufacturing technologies and lack of precision in analog treatment planning.
The environment is not realistic for patient-specific customization because injection used to create molds for a single standard prescription with 20 brackets of different programming and shapes will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to complete.
Dr. Griffin has turned to 3D printing that is already being applied in dental and orthodontics fields. Aligners, implants, molds, dentures and braces are being created through 3D printing. While off-the-rack braces can work through the skills of an orthodontist, if each bracket is custom-created and 3D printed, a new level of flexibility and clinical opportunities will enhance the treatment’s efficiency.
3D printing is the right solution to ensure a good fit for custom applications in patent-specific braces. Dr. Griffin created a patented system for 3D printed orthodontic treatment brackets through material that is identical to injection molded ceramic brackets. The only difference is the brackets have been specifically formulated for 3D printing to minimize time consuming adjustments during all the phases of treatment.
Between the ages 6 and 13, a child’s baby teeth will be replaced permanent teeth; however, not all jaws are big enough to accommodate the larger adult teeth. The orthodontist prescribes orthodontic expander to make room for the child’s permanent teeth. Successful palate expansion treatment must be done before the child’s growth plate fuses.