Thermoforming of aligners

Traditional fixed braces used for teeth straightening are less attractive and uncomfortable because of the use of wires or brackets (often made of metal). Additionally, fixed braces can only be removed by professionals, meaning they cannot be temporarily removed for important occasions or photographs.

With the ultra-customization allowed with 3D printing, dental laboratories developed new invisible realignment technique through the use of a system of clear, scalable, custom aligners made using digital modeling software and thermoformed directly from 3D printed orthodontic models.

With a daily wearing time of 22 hours and changed every three weeks, the aligners will gradually and smoothly straighten teeth, taking between 6 and 18 months to achieve perfect alignment. The production of aligners requires a perfect communication between the dental laboratory and the dentist and a perfect precision and quality of the dental model used for thermoforming aligner.

The use of 3D printing solutions is ensuring the repeatability of the whole process, accuracy and quality, unbound to the specific technician expertise. A mass production approach is key for this market, since the requested lead time is usually short, and for the same patient up to 24 different models could be needed. Therefore, working with high productivity 3D printers are an important requirement to keep good levels of profitability and customer satisfaction.

Bring the productivity to the next level with our Automated Aligner Production System

The LD Dental Series printers are already unbeatable machines when it comes to print huge quantities of dental models, therefore the clear aligner production through thermoforming process makes them the natural choice for many labs that look for production speed, part quality and consistency.

With up to 55 dental models printed in 1 hour, no need for printing supports thanks to the granite platform, and no consumables, the ProMaker LD Dental Series make a great combination of print throughput and cost efficiency. 

But here at Prodways we wanted to push the limits even further.

Thanks to a strong collaboration with a market leading provider of clear aligner workflow software, and with our mother company Groupe Gorgé –  specialized in robotics and automation – we are ready to bring on the market an integrated, end-to-end digital solution for labs, enabling them to enter an attractive market or expand their existing clear aligner production capacity.

Click here to know more about our Automated Aligners Production System


Return over the investment

Generally speaking, and this is valid for all the applications, the ROI of moving to digital dentistry can be summarized in

  • Better precision and quality
  • Faster production cycle
  • Great results consistency, unbounded to the personal skills of the operator
  • Better efficiency, in terms of costs and time
  • Increased patient’s comfort through all the steps of the process

Productivity and costs: master models for DENTAL ALIGNERS

Production throughput and costs forecasts are important indexes to be evaluated when it comes to choose the right machine.

Production time on a ProMaker LD20 Dental Model 3D Printer
Number of models 55
Material used PLASTCure Model 300
Total time @100μm LT (hours) 1h 02min
Time per part (@100µm)67 67 secconds
Average cost per model 2.45 €

Prodways’ exclusive granite platform

The Prodways dental 3D printers feature granite build platforms (perforated platform as option) for increased Z accuracy and reduced post processing time (no support needed), improving productivity and part quality at the same time. 

Workflow for the creation of size-perfect models for dental aligners

Dentist Lab Dentist
Get the scan of the patient mouth using an Intraoral 3D scanner like 3Shape Trios scanner *
Use dedicated CAD software having the scanned dental model as a base, to create the different progressive versions of the model, from the original dental configuration to the final ones **
Digitally place the 3D models on the build platform of the machine

Manual, semi-automated or automated nesting tools are available (***)

On the machine, choose the material and right configuration, load the geometries in STL format and print the models
Now the dentist/technician can create the complete set of thermoformed aligners using the master printed models as reference.

Note: A second possible workflow is based on the use of the 3D scan of an alginate mold created with traditional methods as alternative to the direct intraoral 3D scan.

3rd party software integration

To provide to its customers fully integrated solutions, from the dental scan to the part design, to the layout optimization to the printed part, Prodways collaborates with 3Shape, 3D scanners manufacturer (*) and CAD/CAM software developer (**/***), along with Materialise and Autodesk (***).

Prodways ProMaker LD and L series’ machine profiles and workspaces are available on all the most advanced software for dental application on the market.

Prodways machines and materials for thermoforming of aligners

Thanks to custom material development and specific machine configuration, we bring the trademark MOVINGLight® accuracy and speed to another level, allowing our customers to print up to 55 thermoforming models in just 1 hour.

Liquid resins for MOVINGLight® printers

ProMaker MOVINGLight® printers, unlike other DLP®/Stereolitography printers, use no consumables, making it possible to provide industrial-grade productivity while keeping ownership costs low.

Case studies and press releases

Download some of the most interesting case studies shared from our customers, and discover how Prodways technology, innovation and research can help you to boost your business.

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