Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as the layer-upon-layer process of joining materials to create objects from STL files and 3D model data. Additive manufacturing does not use the traditional machining processes associated with subtractive manufacturing. The term additive manufacturing encompasses many technologies including subsets like 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping (RP), Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), layered manufacturing and additive fabrication. In the dental industry, AM allows for the building of dentures, crowns, bridges, and other dental structures for oral repair and maintenance. Using a 3D model of the patient’s mouth, a dental appliance is created through AM to match the patient’s oral anatomy. Such appliances are often made of ceramic due to the material’s biocompatibility, aesthetics, mechanical function, and chemical stability. Utilizing AM allows dental professionals to provide safe and effective oral prostheses in a more cost effective and sustainable way.