What is the ideal material for 3D printed bite splints?
Today new materials are being created at a rapid pace to meet the growing demand for 3D printed products for dentistry. Defining the ideal properties and combination of characteristics is the topic of discussion in an episode of the Bite Splint Masterclass with DSD Founder, Christian Coachman and Dr Elisa Praderi, Senior Clinical Protocols & KOL Manager at Formlabs Dental.
In this article, we take a closer look at the highlights from the conversation, which includes a comparison between bite splint materials and rigidity versus flexibility in bite splints.
Bite splints can be 3D printed using different resins for a rigid or flexible structure depending on preference
Evolving from traditional solutions
TMJ disorders and bruxism continue to be an important problem for dentistry to address.
Thanks to 3D printing this is becoming easier, more cost-effective, and comfortable for patients. “Traditionally, splints fall into two main camps; soft splints made from vulcanite, soft vulcanized rubber, and soft latex rubber and on the other hand, rigid splints made from hard acrylic materials,” Dr Praderi explains.
While the soft splints have a good fit and are comfortable to wear, they can trigger further muscle activity, do not provide stable occlusion and have a limited lifetime. The rigid splints provide stable occlusion, last longer and do not trigger muscle activity, but patients find them very uncomfortable which can lead to treatment dropout. “Despite their limitations, digitally milled, rigid acrylic splints have been the gold standard for some time,” Coachman adds.
Creating a solution that combines the best of both worlds was the goal of Formlabs Dental when they launched the Dental LT Comfort Resin. This material is used to create a printed bite splint that is flexible, stabilizing occlusion while addressing the important issue of patient comfort.
About Dental LT Comfort Resin
Formlabs Dental has been creating materials for this application with 3D printing since 2018. “We believe this material is the present and future of material science in dentistry,” Praderi continues. According to Formlabs Dental, the Dental LT Comfort Resin benefits are:
Comfortable and Easier to Fit: the formula provides a higher level of flexibility of the material
Softens at intraoral temperature
Flexibility: elongation and flexural modulus
Wear resistance: surface hardness and impact properties (higher than Dental LT Clear V2)
Perfectly clear: out of the printer
Easy to polish: classic polishing techniques
Biocompatible: long term biocompatibility
Cost-effective: cost production of 5-7 USD/EUR per splint
Extended clinical indication for printing bleaching trays
Comparing materials for bite splints
Many factors contribute to a good bite splint and these are all considered in this comparison table when assessing the following three materials: Traditional acrylic rigid splint, digital rigid splint printed with Dental LT Clear Resin V2, and digital flexible splint with Dental LT Comfort Resin.
Features that are evaluated in this table (below) include impression distortion, manufacturing distortion, hand skill dependency, occlusal adjustment, comfort to the patient, impact on muscle activity, cost of outsourcing production, cost of in-house production, manufacturing and delivery time, wear resistance, surface hardness, appearance, polishability, expected lifetime and percentage of redos of appliances.
Michigan Bite Splints: Key Comparative Points
Access the Bite Splint Masterclass for free
The interview forms part of the Bite Splint Masterclass, created in collaboration with DSD and Formlabs Dental. The masterclass is a series of video episodes that document the steps of an efficient workflow for in-clinic 3D printing of bite splints and similar products.
To watch the full recording of the discussion on the ideal materials for 3D printed bite splints with Christian Coachman and Dr Elisa Praderi, click here. The content is hosted on BeDSD, our online education community platform. Access is free of charge and only requires a minute to create your account. Click here to access it now
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