Everything you need to know about printing DSD products on your 3D printer

Printing 3D products in-house plays an important role in the comprehensive dental care approach. Here at DSD we are passionate about helping doctors acquire their printer, train their staff, and really take full advantage of this and other digital technology.

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to printers is “What (DSD) products can I actually print?”. We put these questions to our resident 3D printing expert, George Cabanas, who provided a comprehensive list of all these products, considering factors such as ease of use and types of resins, as well as specific recommendations on how to print each.

We put the following questions to our resident 3D printing expert, George Cabanas, who provided a comprehensive list of all these products, considering factors such as ease of use and types of resins, as well as specific recommendations on how to print each. This list has been generated in an order of general rising complexity.

All products are relatively easy to print given the right printer. The 3D printers we choose at DSD are Formlabs Dental printers, which have been proven to be the most complete systems to allow us to print every product necessary. Included in the guide are additional links to detailed Formlabs Dental guides for slightly more complex projects.

What You Should be Printing First (and how long does it take)?

George Cabanas: “The starting point is always models, whether normal study models, or in our case, mock-up models that are used for the smile test drive. Models to do vacuum trays or aligners are the first products you should be starting to print. With printing models chairside and a vacuum tray, you can print many initial retainers and guides to do provisionals.

A model in Formlabs Dental with the new version, which is called V3, takes approximately an hour and a half to print. Then there's always the washing and the curing with all systems. The quality produced would not be for an implant restoration or for a normal study model. You always need to consider post-processing time, how much time you wash, how much time you cure, but overall a little over an hour in time until you have a completed model. (Formlabs Dental has calculated a time of one hour and 17 minutes for a horseshoe type of model).

To understand better the user experience watch our recorded Roundtable discussion where DSD clinic owners share their own experiences with 3D printers. In this informative session, they lay out how long it took them to start printing, all the products they were able to begin printing, and the subsequent impact on their clinic and patients.”

What Can’t You Print with a 3D Printer?

George Cabanas: “The ultimate goal for companies is to yet develop materials in order to print all products. It's going to get there, but as of today it’s required to have a milling machine in order to mill ceramics and zirconia, they cannot be printed with a 3D printer.

In the face of this challenge, an option that many labs are taking advantage of is that of printing castable materials that can be invested and then injected into ceramics, such as IPS Empress from Ivoclar Vivadent. With a Formlabs Dental printer and an Empress system, magic can be performed.”

Why Print?

George Cabanas: “We know that printing is the future for many reasons, philosophically and ecologically. It simply makes more sense to have an additive technique than a subtractive technique. Without printing, many large machines are required to give you the stability and the torque to actually cut down very, very strong materials. Whereas with a printing philosophy, you are adding material and that's the reason why the future belongs to printing. We cannot print everything yet, however the idea is that everything that we have materials for, we print.”

What can you print on a 3D printer?

In-house vs outsourcing

  • Models

  • Shells

  • Surgical guides/ Crown Lengthening Guides

  • Provisional or Immediate Loading Prosthesis

  • Digital Dentures - pink and teeth

  • Indirect Bonding Trays

  • Night guards

  • Natural Restorations Tooth Preparation Guides

  • Ever increasing number of appliances… Definitive resins for crowns & inlays


Table 1


Table 2 English 3d Print

Surgical guides

Table 3 English surgical guides

Crown lengthening guides

Table 4 English Crown lengthening guides

Provisional or immediate loading prosthesis

Table 5 English Provisional or immediate loading prosthesis

Digital dentures - pink and teeth

Table 6 English Digital dentures pink and teeth

Direct bonding trays

Table 7 English Direct bonding trays

Night guards

Table 8 English Night guards

Natural Restorations tooth preparation guides

Table 10 English Natural Restorations tooth preparation guides

Ever increasing number of appliances - definitive resins for crowns and inlays

Table 10 English ever increasing number of appliances

Start Printing Your 3D Products Now

Our strong recommendation is to start with models and then transition to more complex applications as soon as you start to feel more comfortable with different materials. If you want to learn how to implement 3D printing in the bigger context of the digital smile design workflows, we recommend you consider attending a DSD Residency 1 course.