SOMERVILLE, Mass., US: Held online on 26 and 27 October, the dental track of Formlabs’ User Summit 2022 offered practitioners all over the world the opportunity to learn directly from dentists who have incorporated digital practices into their workflow. In a session moderated by Dr John Fagbemi, director of the London Dental Institute in the UK, on orthodontic innovations, three clinicians shared the benefits of adding 3D printing to their practices and explained how this had significantly changed their careers.
“I now frequently use 3D-printing technology to help plan my cases, communicate with patients and deliver in-house aligners as well,” said orthodontist Dr Lisa Alvetro, who owns Alvetro Orthodontics in Sidney in Ohio in the US and has been practising for over 27 years. She encouraged attendees to add 3D printing to their practices because it will “expand services you can provide, enhance quality and efficiency of your care, and extend the length of your career because there is so much you can plan digitally, making less physical work in the clinic for you and your technicians”. All of these advantages make 3D printing “a cost-effective option for your practice” and allow passing of those savings on to patients, “increasing the patient pool who can afford your services,” she explained.
Dr Alvetro went on to say that dental offices can also worry less about the shortage of trained professionals in dentistry because “even individuals without a dental background can become valuable to the practice if they have digital experience”.
3D printing is “going to bring so much excitement into your office,” Dr Alvetro promised, because a digital workflow “allows you to delegate your tasks, such as tasks that could only previously be performed by a doctor, opening up the potential of your team members”.
The second speaker in the session, orthodontist Dr Pablo Kehyaian, who is CEO and founder of SecretAligner in Madrid in Spain, emphasised to attendees that “the future is in your hands”. Dr Kehyaian shared that he started off very small with 3D printing, by practising with tiny builds and models and experimenting a great deal to become comfortable with the process without pushing himself to make a large change in his workflow. He encouraged attendees to use Formlabs’ printers and materials because of the affordable options for product testing with just one printer and explained that he was able to confirm biomechanical research and study results by testing models, attachments and abutments on his own printer. Dr Kehyaian said that, because of the low investment and plug-and-play nature of Formlabs’ machines, there are no financial risks, especially thanks to user-friendly software that prevents users from making major mistakes.
In a round-table discussion, both practitioners encouraged attendees to read Formlabs’ white papers, which helped them change their mindsets about 3D printing to feel confident enough to use the technology and thereby reinvent their practices. Both suggested starting in small ways, with basic retainers, and just seeing how easy it is to help patients. “When we see patients get excited, we get excited,” said Dr Alvetro. “Every day, it is more and more important to have that word-of-mouth advertisement that comes from excited patients,” said Dr Kehyaian.