Showcase AM Expo 2016

Clear Aligner (Braces)

Aligners are made out of transparent plastic, produced by thermic deformation with a 3D printed model or deep drawing.

Orthodontics is a subdiscipline within dentistry and focuses on the correction of tooth displacements. After a long period with metal braces and tight brackets, clear splints, so-called aligners appeared on the market in the year 2000.

The dental models are printed with additive manufacturing and are used as forms for the deep drawing of the aligner. Since each dental model is unique, this application is ideal for the 3D printing technology. By other conventional production methods it's possible to produce these models, but not with the same amount of models and economics. There is no comparable application where 3D printing is used for mass production that much as with the production of aligners.

These aligners, mostly made with various polymeres with thicknesses <1mm are removable and are able to transfer enough force on the teeth in order to correct the tooth displacment to perfection within a certain amount of steps. The totally transparent aligners are removable and therefore easy to clean. Patients and dentists are easily convinced to have a correction method with higher efficiency and less time on the chair compared to conventional metal wires or brackets. Next to teenagers, the potential is large for the adult segment since this method enables for the first time a non-visible treatment.