RUDN Dentist Printed Veneers on a 3D Printer

A RUDN dentist with colleagues from Austria and Germany proposed printing ceramic veneers on a 3D printer. Such veneers are very accurate, and can be manufactured rapidly. The authors not only presented the concept, but also described the first successful clinical case of its application. The results are published in Materials magazine.

Usually for the manufacture of veneers , crowns and other restorations in dentistry, either heat pressing or milling is used. However, even with the help of computer technology, such methods cannot give an ideal result. Accuracy is limited at least by the size of the milling cutter. And in the case of veneers, the thickness of which can be sometimes in the order of 0.3 mm, it is almost impossible to subtractive manufacturing. In this respect, the advantage lies with the method of layer-by-layer application, namely, 3D printing. This technique allows to fabricate structures with the minimal thickness up to 0.1-0.2 mm. The main task is to find a suitable material for such manufacturing process. Some studies have suggested the use of zirconium and aluminum dioxide, or tricalcium phosphate. Whereas it technically possible to print veneers from these materials, such materials is not the best choice for the clinical application. A RUDN dentist with colleagues from Austria and Germany proposed using lithium disilicate for this and described the first clinical case of using this approach.

“Dental glass-ceramic, especially lithium disilicate, is widely used for crowns, overlays and veneers in esthetically significant areas as it overcome the limitations of metal-ceramic restorations. 3D printing technology allows thin lithium disilicate restorations in the range of 0.1–0.2 mm and can therefore replace press technology. However, there are no clinical reports in the literature on this under conditions in vivo ”, said Alexey Unkovskiy, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the Department of Prosthetics Dentistry, RUDN University.

Dentists tested the proposed approach on a 60-year-old patient with severely worn teeth. Ceramic veneers were printed for the anterior six teeth with CeraFab 3D System S65 (Lithoz, Vienna, Austria) with a layer thickness of 25 micrometers. Each tooth had 606 layers, it took 36 seconds per layer, and the full print took 6 hours.

A single result, of course, does not make it possible to talk about the full success of the technology. However, it proves the general feasibility of making veneers from the usual material using additive manufacturing.

“We presented the first clinical experience with classic 3D printed veneers. This demonstrates the technical feasibility of producing thin porcelain veneers . In the future, systematic studies are needed to obtain evidence of clinical effectiveness,” said Alexey Unkovskiy, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of the Department of Prosthetics Dentistry, RUDN University.