3D Printing in Orthodontics

3D printers are incredible machines with uses in several industries. Did you know that they are used in the field of orthodontics too? The iTero intraoral scanner takes a digital impression of the teeth. A 3D printer takes that digital impression and turns it into a physical model made of resin. This resin model can be used just like a traditional plaster model.

Orthodontic Appliances

If you or your child require an orthodontic appliance such as an expander, a digital impression can be taken in minutes. After its completion, the impression is instantly sent to the lab, which uses a 3D printer to print the model on which to make the appliance. This is much faster than the old way of pouring a plaster model of an alginate impression and mailing it to the lab!

Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

Clear aligners like Invisalign can also be made with 3D printers. Manufacturers receive digital impressions from the orthodontist, and they use their 3D printers to produce models on which to make the aligners. 3D printers, along with special software, can even be used to create in-house clear aligners. Peterson Family Orthodontics also offers in-house aligners which are a great option for patients interested in highly customized treatment and fast turn-around time. 


An impression must be taken the day you get your braces off so that a retainer can be made. With 3D printers, a digital impression can be used for this purpose. The impression is sent to the 3D printer and the team can make and deliver your retainers on the same day you get your braces off. This allows you to begin wearing your retainer as recommended immediately, helping to preserve your newly straightened smile!

Dr. Peterson is proud to have a 3D printing setup in his San Tan Valley practice. This offers several advantages to his patients. A digital laboratory is more efficient, so you will be able to get your appliance in fewer visits. Because the 3D printed models are so precise, your appliance will fit better. And if you ever lose or damage your retainer, don’t fret! Your digital impression is stored in the cloud, so it’s quick and easy to make a new retainer that will fit just like the original. With the help of technology like 3D printers, the experience of orthodontic treatment just keeps getting better.

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