Drawbacks of 3D-Printed Orthodontic Aligners

3D printing has changed the dental industry indefinitely. Innovation by companies like Align Technologies has certainly set a precedent for clear aligner therapy. In fact, this system is still used by major aligner companies, including Invisalign®, ClearCorrect®, and most recently, the Smile Direct Club®.

As dentists, you already know there are limitations to 3D-printed aligners. Let’s take a closer look at some of these drawbacks and explore alternative solutions that can help your patients achieve and maintain straighter, healthier smiles.

Striations in Clear Aligners

One major drawback to 3D-printed aligners is striation. Due to the manufacturing process of printed aligners, there is a higher risk for opaque lines. This leads to less than desirable aesthetics for patients who want truly clear aligners.

Inaccuracy of 3D-Printed Aligners

Technological advances such as CAD/CAM have changed the world of dentistry as we know it, making several treatments faster and more convenient. 3D printing has always been monumental in the clear aligner manufacturing process, due to its high speed. Today, the majority of clear aligners are still produced using 3D-printed molds.

The problem with 3D printing is that accuracy is sacrificed with each stage. In other words, the dimensional inaccuracy is compounded every time a new aligner tray is fabricated. This is why clear aligner therapy is not recommended for every orthodontic case. There are simply some cases in which alternative treatments are superior.

When should I consider alternate solutions?

If you provide clear aligner therapy in your practice, you already know it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Here are a few situations in which we recommend seeking alternative solutions:

  • Teeth that are severely rotated by more than 20 degrees
  • Large gaps or spaces measuring more than a total of six millimeters per arch
  • Teeth that are severely tipped by more than 45 degrees
  • Overcrowding in which over six millimeters per arch would be necessary to properly realign the teeth
  • Skeletally based malocclusions
  • Cases in which extrusion is required

Are there options besides traditional braces?

In some instances, traditional metal braces are the best solution – particularly if malocclusion is attributed to skeletal discrepancies. But are there other options?

Orthosnap manufactures clear aligners from the same original cast. Each tooth is held in place with a dynamic pin, which is moved to the desired location before each impression. Rather than relying wholly on CAD/CAM technology, Orthosnap also utilizes the human touch, giving clients the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Orthosnap Aligners

There are a number of advantages that Orthosnap offers over traditional orthodontic aligners. Here are some of the most notable:

  • No striation: Due to the patented manufacturing process, Orthosnap aligners do not have striation marks.
  • Higher accuracy: Because Orthosnap uses dynamic physical models rather than 3D models, the aligners are created with higher accuracy.
  • No upfront costs: Rather than pay thousands of dollars up front, dentist can pay for the Orthosnap system in phases. In other words, you’ll only pay for the aligners you use.
  • Fewer invasive procedures for complex cases: Orthosnap is more accurate and can therefore treat a variety of orthodontic conditions. In many instances, patients can even reduce the need for invasive procedures.
  • More comfortable fit: Higher precision means a better fit. In turn, a better fit leads to optimal patient compliance.

Learn more today.

If you are considering clear aligner treatment for your dental practice, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option. To learn more about Orthosnap’s product and philosophy, visit our online Help Center.