A ‘game changer’ for 3D printing in dentistry

We hear from Dr Sunil Hirani, practice principal and specialist orthodontist at Smilelux, who explains how his 3D printer – and the service that comes with it – has improved his practice’s efficiency. 

Sunil Hirani (SH): Today is an extremely important day. It’s the day that we make history because we’re having our very own 3D printer installed in our digital laboratory upstairs.

I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. There’s been a lot of planning involved, and it will allow us to do things that we couldn’t do before.

Ross Phillips (RP): I’m the SprintRay area manager for UK and Nordics and we’re really excited to be working with Dr Sunil Hirani.

He’s really quite innovative and he’s a bit of a thought leader in orthodontics – not just traditional orthodontics, but in lingual brackets and aligners.

He’s also a member of the TIO group, a group of orthodontic specialists who are platinum providers of aligners. Within that group, and within orthodontics in general, our printer ecosystem has proven to be very popular because it’s so easy to use.

It’s plug and play and it’s a very large platform. This means that orthodontists can print many models or aligner models for aligners at the same time. The workflow of cleaning the models and then curing them is exceptionally easy. Our product has resonated with orthodontists for these reasons.

‘Smooth, quick and efficient’

SH: My practice SmileLux was started about 13 years ago. In that time, we’ve become more and more digital. In fact, we’re now 100% digital with our fixed appliances and our clear aligners. The workflows have changed.

We do a lot of lingual orthodontics here – a type that not many are able to do – as well as aligners and conventional orthodontics using labial fixed appliances, skeletal anchorage and, of course, now 3D printing.

Our practice has evolved in terms of digital technology.

We were using previous systems and protocols. But they’ve been refined, and the whole purpose of that was to become more efficient, and increase the service speed.

I really wanted the 3D printer. As part of our informed consent process, we show the patients the predicted outcomes that we’re reasonably confident in achieving.

What’s better than having a 3D printed model that the patient can take away with them, and they can study in their own time?

I think that’s a great way of actually discussing and documenting cases – so 3D printing was inevitable.

However, what made me look at SprintRay was an overseas friend I have who’s based in Greece.

He came across SprintRay and was impressed that everything can be done very smoothly, quickly and efficiently. After he told me about it, I then got in touch with SprintRay. It was a natural evolution.

We’ve now had our SprintRay bundle installed.

It’s been extremely easy. I would say the whole process from unboxing to actually getting going is about 30 minutes – it did not take long at all. It’s really plug and play.

It’s an extremely simple system to use. The first thing we did was have some diagnostic models and simulation models to print. I’m just amazed at how simple it is to use this system.

I think it’s going to lead the way in the future. It’s only a matter of time before everyone else is doing this. I’m just extremely happy to be part of this journey.

I bought our SprintRay bundle from Mark Berry, managing director at ESM Digital Solutions. I’ve known Mark for at least four or five years – we bought our scanner from him.

I would say that the support from his team is absolutely first class. It’s not the item that we look at when we make a purchase. It’s the team that we’re dealing with and the aftercare.

Simplifying processes

Mark Barry (MB): We’ve been delivering SprintRay for about a year now. One of the things we really liked about SprintRay, as a company and as a solution, they’ve had a laser sharp focus on bottlenecks within the 3D printing workflow.

They’ve really put a lot of effort and resources into simplifying the process as much as possible.

It’s a great product to deliver and a great product to train on. It’s easy, it’s simple and, of course, our customers love it as well. We are getting excellent results very easily and very quickly.

What I like about it is it’s only for the dental industry, so I’m dealing with a specialist team.

That means I have the support and the backup. What I want is to increase efficiency – our practice is based on service and on quality.

Being able to produce retainers – and potentially aligners– on the same day, is a game changer.

For more information visit www.sprintray.com.

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