3D CAD/CAM technologies are utilized in all stages of aligner design and manufacturing - from diagnostics to production.
The first step from which treatment begins can be a CAT Scan or 3D Rays. This is a diagnostic method with the highest level of accuracy and depth of data: it allows to build a complete three-dimensional model of the patient's face, enabling the doctor to study each layer of the facial tissue. The clinician and the patient can both see the full picture: the location of the teeth, the presence of caries, periodontitis, cracks in the roots or cysts, retained teeth, the position of the roots in the bone tissue, as well as any other abnormalities or damage. In addition, according to the analysis, it is possible to assess the quality of bone tissue, the presence of inflammation on the mucosa, the location of blood vessels and nerves.
The next stage is intraoral scanning. The data from the 3D scanner forms a digital 3-dimensional model of the dentition, which will be used for modeling. Previously, in the pre-digital era, plaster casts from analog impressions were used in this context. The impressions could be poorly indicated, distorted, could deteriorate during transportation, or lost. Now the entire operation consists of saving and uploading a file from a laptop connected to the scanner to the laboratory server, which only takes a few minutes.
In the next stage, data from the scanner is loaded onto a computer program, utilized by an operator to create a three-dimensional model of the future smile. The patient will immediately see what the expected result can be and discuss it with the attending clinician
The software also creates arches position in occlusion for each stage of the treatment. That is, the patient will see how the dentition will gradually move and their smile will change. After the 3D plan is approved, data from the software is transferred to the 3D printer.
In accordance with the received data, the printer produces a full set of basic models of the patient's arches, on the basis of which aligners are manufactured for the entire period of treatment. The manufacturing error does not exceed 20 micrometers (0.02 mm).
Thanks to the advantages of 3D technologies:
The speed of service delivery has increased, as the process of diagnostics, modeling, and aligners production has become digital and automated;
clinicians utilize more accurate data that minimizes the risk of medical errors;
It became possible to predict and visualize the final outcome of treatment and discuss it with the patient;
All data is saved electronically, which makes it possible to create a replacement if aligners are lost or become deformed;