WHAT IS WORKFLOW

workflow

There is a popular misconception circulating that a 3d printer makes dentures, provisionals, splints or surgical guides.   That is not exactly the whole truth.   A 3D printer plays a part in making a dental appliance but it is part of a system or workflow that allows for the creation of that dental appliance.

Irrespective of using traditional techniques or digital technology to fabricate an appliance, there are a series of steps starting with data acquisition and ending when the appliance is inserted into the patient.   This series of steps is the workflow used to create a dental appliance.   These steps along with the equipment, software, and raw materials is your workflow solution to making an appliance.   To simplify this, whether using a traditional or digital workflow, there are the same basic steps to the workflow.

  • Data Acquisition
  • Prepare Data
  • Case Design
  • Prepare Design for Manufacturing
  • Manufacture
  • Polish and prepare for insert

The 2 processes are similar but uses different “raw materials and equipment” to get to a similar result.   Let’s look at a real-world situation with a side by side comparison between traditional and digital to better understand this concept.

 

Let’s assume for this example we are making a splint.

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

DATA ACQUISITION TIME TO COMPLETE
Goopy impressions of Upper and Lower arches with a bite registration 30 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

DATA ACQUISITION TIME TO COMPLETE
Scanned impressions of Upper and Lower arches with a bite registration. 10 minutes

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

DATA PREPARATION TIME TO COMPLETE
Impressions are poured in stone, trimmed, and mounted on an articulator using the bite registration.  Working model is duplicated and mounted for use during design and manufacturing 90 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

DATA PREPARATION TIME TO COMPLETE
Stl files are imported into dental CAD software, trimmed, and virtually aligned. 5 minutes

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

DESIGN "MOCKUP"
TIME TO COMPLETE
Wax is manually shaped on the duplicate model using the articulation to create a design replica of the splint. 20 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

DESIGN "MOCKUP"
TIME TO COMPLETE
A computer-generated replica of the final appliance is created using software to design instead of raw materials. 5 minutes

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

DESIGN PREPARATION
TIME TO COMPLETE
The wax replica and duplicate model will be flasked in a mold to prepare for processing.  The wax will then be boiled out of the mold and separator is applied to the mold. 45 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

DESIGN PREPARATION
TIME TO COMPLETE
“Nesting” software is used to prepare and place the computer-generated design into a file for printer to produce the appliance directly without any additional steps or materials. 5 minutes

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

PRODUCTION
TIME TO COMPLETE
Acrylic is added to the mold using the lost wax injection molding technique to create the appliance. 60 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

PRODUCTION
TIME TO COMPLETE
Nested splint is sent to the printer for 3D printing splint. 45 minutes

TRADITIONAL WORKFLOW

FINISH
TIME TO COMPLETE
Break out acrylic from the mold.  Remove all stone from the model. Trim and fit splint on the articulated model.  Polish on the lathe to a high shine. 60 minutes

DIGITAL WORKFLOW

FINISH
TIME TO COMPLETE
Remove splint from the printer build plate.

  • Clean in IPA.
  • Post Cure in UV light box.
  • Polish on the lathe to a high shine.
25 minutes