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Formlabs reveals how 3D printing is being used at Modern Clear for personalised dental solutions

Source:        DateTime:2023.01.30        Hits:

Clear aligners are one of the most popular and rapidly growing orthodontic treatments worldwide, and the most common end-use application for 3D printing according to Formlabs.

The company says that almost all clear aligners today are produced by thermoforming over 3D printed models.

Modern Clear is a clear aligner manufacturer from Germany. Operating in 45 countries, the company partners with over 16,000 dentists and orthodontists, and over the last five years has treated more than 150,000 patients and produced more than three million clear aligners.

“Our slogan is the best quality, best aesthetic, but never at the cost of functionality. We designed the clear aligner system from the medical view. The most important thing is that the treatment result is achieved without any damage to the health condition of the patient. Our 3D simulations and our prognosis are realistic and we are not scared of marking some cases contraindicated,” said Gleb Grützner, CEO of Modern Clear.

Clear aligners appear almost invisible, making them popular with adult patients who don’t want colleagues, friends and family noticing that they are receiving dental treatment.  

A key aspect of the aligners system at Modern Clear is the in-house production. All aligners are produced by thermoforming over 3D printed models, hand-polished for the smoothest surface finish, and then shipped directly from Modern Clear’s office in Germany to dentists and orthodontists worldwide, according to the company.

“3D printing for us is essential. We cannot have any manufacturing process without using 3D printers. The most important in 3D printing is quality, because if the quality of the 3D printed model is good, the aligner will also be most probably good, the doctor will be happy, and the patient will be happy. So at the end of the day, we build the business with a good reputation,” said Grützner.

The team at Modern Clear were first introduced to Formlabs at a trade fair and soon purchased its first two Form 2 printers. A few months later, a third printer was bought, and eventually grew the fleet to 20 printers to keep up with growing demand. 

With the release of the Form 3, Modern Clear decide to upgrade its entire production line to the new model, expanding to 40 Form 3 printers. The fleet is run in 24/7 production, three shifts per day with the Formlabs Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) technology.

“Since we run a big business and we have 40 machines, it is important to have access to professional support in terms of maintenance. Every now and then one printer will need some maintenance and some reparation, and Formlabs helps us here with extended support. If something breaks, they just hot-swap it within one or two days,” said Grützner. “Once every month they come with their team and do the maintenance. This is for me, one of the most important things, as a business owner.”

Grützner says he has observed a rapid uptake in digital technologies in dentistry and orthodontics over recent years and expects this to accelerate in the future. Many dental labs already use 3D printers, but Grützner predicts the use of 3D scanners will also become the norm as the technology becomes more accessible.

Grützner said: “I would say right now, maybe 10% of dental practices are working full digital. But I have a feeling, through he last two years in the pandemic, a lot became more familiar with the idea of digitalising their clinic, because it saves so much time, and so many appointments. So I see an all-digital future.”