The challenges of operating a dental practice in 2020 are unprecedented. With many offices closed to all but emergency patients, many clinicians are taking advantage of this opportunity to get educated on new technology. Recently, Dr. David Honey demonstrated just how valuable that technology can be, when he leveraged his SprintRay 3D printer to deliver emergency care while maintaining social distancing that would be unthinkable even two years ago. Stories like these inspire us and nicely capture the power that digital technology, including 3D printing, gives to dentists and ultimately, patients.
Dr. David Honey operates a private practice in Illinois, where safer-at-home orders have kept him from practicing in his usual capacity. But when he got a call from one of his patients in tears, stating that her upper palate denture had cracked in half, he knew he had to help however he could. So he met the patient in a parking lot just outside his office. He had her drop her denture into a sterilization pouch and told her to return in a few hours. “She’s on the board of one of the local hospitals,” Dr. Honey says, “doing video conferencing all day. She stopped all her conference calls when the denture broke. She tried to superglue it back together but it wouldn’t hold.”
Dr. Honey knew he had to get the denture to hold as a single piece of he was going to have a shot properly duplicating it.. Since superglue wasn’t holding, he used flowable composite to join the pieces together. He then added small composite dots across the denture’s palate area to help his scanner identify the contours. He used his CEREC Primescan to create a digital copy of the denture. “The Primescan is much faster and easier than taking a CT scan and converting it to an STL file,” he explains.
Now that he had a digital model of the denture, he was in business. “I exported the model as the highest-resolution STL and imported it into RayWare so I could 3D print a copy of it on my SprintRay Pro. I used DENTCA Denture Teeth resin, shade A1. The patient had been looking for a lighter shade, so this gave her a nice preview,” Dr. Honey says. DENTCA is a resin partner for SprintRay, so he simply selected the DENTCA A1 resin profile from RayWare and began printing. “Ordinarily I print dentures as 50-micron layer height. But because I was hurrying so my patient could make her next conference call, I printed at 100 and skipped the tank heating. With the new support structure update from SprintRay, this material prints just fine even without preheating the tank.”
In just 55 minutes, Dr. Honey had a full monolithic denture printed in biocompatible DENTCA teeth resin. He snapped-off the supports, washed the part, and then post-cured it. Because the print was so quick, he even had time to characterize. “The print was so quick I even had time to add a little bit of gingival base color. I use Gradia gum shade. I usually like to strip back a little bit of the denture so it doesn’t appear bulky when I’m duplicating, but I didn’t have time for that, so I just put a thin layer on. Goes on great when the denture is warm from the cure box.” After it was characterized, Dr. Honey smoothed-out any sharp edges or nubs to ensure that it didn’t agitate the patient. He polished the teeth and then sterilized the new denture.
“I called the patient and had her stay in her car while I brought the new denture out to the parking lot. Gave it to her through the window and had her try it in… she was ecstatic! Felt just like the old one,” Dr. Honey says. After performing a few tests to make sure that everything fit, she said it felt great. “You should’ve seen me standing in the parking lot six feet away from her car, trying to give her instructions through the window next to a busy road,” Dr. Honey says with a chuckle. “I love being able to provide a great, quick solution for patients who are in need.”
Thanks to Dr. David Honey for chatting with us about this incredible story!
Learn more about using SprintRay Pro to rapidly fabricate digital dentures.