Dentures have come a long way since the ancient Italians started filling gaps with animal and human teeth in the seventh century BC. There are now 50 million dentures produced globally each year, including a small but growing number of “digital dentures”.
The 3D printers behind this latest development have been making inroads for several years, as the technology and materials used continue to improve.
This month, Dentures Plus is installing its own 3D printer as part of a looming change for the industry that should eventually make dentures more accessible, affordable and accurate.
The clinic’s German-designed Kulzer printer is unlikely to be used for permanent dentures – the technology isn’t quite there – but it will provide a new option for temporary dentures and impression trays.
It will streamline some of the processes and give us a good head start on digital dentures. There is less wastage of material and it should be more accurate, but at first it’s mainly going to be used as a diagnostic tool.
Dentures Plus is already one of the best-equipped denture clinics in Christchurch, with the city’s only welder specifically designed for denture repairs, and manufacturing facilities spread across several rooms.
The team currently make dentures using the acrylic injection method, the industry’s gold standard for producing snug, hard-wearing dentures. The process isn’t about to change, although behind the scenes it is likely the 3D printer will play a growing role in planning for dentures.
The clinic makes full, partial, implant and immediate dentures – for fitting the same day teeth are removed – and also has an online store selling maintenance essentials.
These include the Caldent cleaning solution, which Ryan says is by far the best denture cleaner on the market. There are also brushes, baths and treatments for pain relief.
Strong demand for services from Dentures Plus often sees the clinic booked weeks in advance, which means for people keen to get new dentures before Christmas, now is the time to plan.
To find out more, contact Dentures Plus on 03 385 5517 or visit denturesplus.co.nz. The clinic is located at 396 Innes Rd, St Albans.