Thermoforming Clear Aligners and Retainers With 3D Printed Models

Produce Clear Aligners and Retainers at Scale, Powered by Formlabs

 

The clear aligner and retainer market is now a mature and rapidly growing field in orthodontics. With the most recent technological advancements in CAD software and 3D printing, now any lab or practice can add this valuable service with little initial investment and produce aligners and retainers in-house.

The Workflow for Making Clear Aligners and Retainers

1. Scan
Collect patient anatomy digitally using an intraoral scanner, or scan a physical model or impression using a desktop scanner.

 

2. Design
Import the scan data into CAD software, where tooth movements are planned or brackets are virtually removed.

3. Print
The now created 3D models are brought into the PreForm software and sent easily to the Formlabs printer.

4. Prepare
Wash, dry, and post-cure the printed parts using Form Wash and Form Cure.

5. Thermoform
Thermoform the clear aligners or retainers over the 3D printed models.

6. Polish and Finish
Smooth rough edges, remove burrs, and polish the aligner to shine before the final quality control.

Larger Build Volume, Lower Cost

Form 3B’s large build platform and automatic resin dispensing material cartridges allow for more parts per print job. Orthodontic practices and labs can expect to see 55% less labor and costs compared to competitive 3D printers.

Orthodontic models flat to build platform

Model Resin at 140 μm

Up to 9 models per print in ~3.5 hr or 1 model in ~45 min for $2-3 a model

 

Orthodontic models flat to build platform

Grey Resin at 160 μm

Up to 9 models per print in ~3.5 hr or 1 model in ~45 min for $2-3 a model

 

Orthodontic models flat to build platform

Draft Resin at 300 μm

Up to 9 models per print in ~1.5 hr or 1 model in ~20 min for $2-3 a model

 

Orthodontic models near vertical

Model Resin at 140 μm

Up to 9 models per print in ~3.5 hr or 1 model in ~45 min for $2-3 a model

 

Orthodontic models near vertical

Grey Resin at 160 μm

Up to 16 models per print in ~8 hr for $2-3 a model

 

What Our Customers Say About Working With Formlabs 3D Printers

“The Form 2 is very reliable; we call it a workhorse. We know when we go home at night that when we come in in the morning, everything will be printed. There's not going to be a failure; everything will be there. Because of that, we can build our business around them” – Sean Thompson, Adv.Prosth/Adv.Orth./DIP.PS.(dist) M.P.T. M.M.U./L.O.T.A., founder and director at Ashford Orthodontics

Webinar: How to Create Clear Aligners In Your Practice with 3D Printing

Rick Ferguson DMD, DABOI/ID, DICOI, an educator in implant dentistry of 20 years, and Formlabs dental product manager Sam Wainwright walk through the full production workflow including the software, tools, and proper materials needed to create dental aligners in your own office.

Watch the recording to learn:

  • Dr. Ferguson’s workflows, tips, and advice on creating clear aligners
  • Overview of digital impression systems and CAD software on the market today
  • Return on investment calculations for 3D printing and thermoforming clear aligner
Watch the Webinar Now