Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) installed and implemented a Carbon M series 3D printer earlier this semester, becoming the first dental school in the United States to acquire this system.
“The collaboration with Carbon is the latest example of our school’s innovative approach to developing strategic partnerships with leading technology and oral healthcare companies,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter. “These partnerships ensure that our school maintains and, indeed advances, our preeminence in digital dentistry and cutting-edge technology.”
The large-scale production printer, currently used by Adidas, Riddell, Ford Motor Company, and the healthcare industry, is capable of printing 20 dental models in as little as two hours – compared to the more than 14 hours a job of that size would take on a desktop-sized printer.
According to Hesham Nouh, associate chair of General Dentistry, clinical associate professor of General Dentistry, and director, Predoctoral Prosthodontics & Restorative Dentistry, the printer is an example of how GSDM continues to push technological boundaries, cultivating innovative mindsets in its students and residents and ensuring they will graduate prepared to be leaders in an ever-evolving field.
The Carbon M series 3D printer will integrate into existing digital dentistry workflows, such as surgical guides and digital dentures, and will allow the school to go “fully digital” for the printing of dental models, aligners, and 3D printed dentures. Carbon also has partnerships with other leading companies in the oral healthcare arena, like Dentsply Sirona; as Carbon is the only validated platform for Dentsply Sirona’s Lucitone Digital Print Denture materials.
The Carbon DLS process will benefit all predoctoral students and postdoctoral residents at the school, who will be able to use the printer under the supervision of dental technicians and faculty, thus integrating its production capabilities with fully validated workflows and materials that have been approved for use in the dental profession.
From a preclinical standpoint, the printer provides a more efficient and customizable approach to creating models, according to Nouh.
“We don’t have to store all of these casts—we can just print everything a week before the course,” he said. “We [also] have the option of creating a lot more designs, because we can design everything digitally and print it….so we have more freedom to expand what we’re doing currently.”
On the clinical side, the printer will increase efficiency and accuracy in fabricating items such as dentures, surgical guides, and night guards.
“We can get an exceptional denture with a procedure that is much less technique sensitive than the current process used in a standard laboratory,” said Nouh, “You can design everything digitally and just click print and do a multitude of different dentures at once.”
By streamlining both preclinical and clinical workflows, the Carbon printer will create space that faculty, students, and residents can use for deeper exploration of curriculum and patient care, according to Nouh. For Nouh, the installation of the printer is another important step in educating the next generation of dental health professionals.
“I say, let’s revolutionize dental education,” said Nouh. “Let’s revolutionize how we typically believe dentistry should be taught, and teach it with all the new technology that is available to us—not only will it make us better at what we do, but it is also going to give our future dentists tools, that , whether they use them today or tomorrow, will allow them to provide the best oral healthcare possible to their patients and in so doing, become more successful.”