Seattle Orthodontist Chris Riolo spoke at the 2019 Moyers Symposium giving a lecture titled, Digital Technology in Orthodontics: a custom appliance revolution on the horizon. We presented progress we have made developing a “in-house” 3D metal printed custom orthodontic appliance system. Dr Riolo began by explaining that orthodontic is experiencing “disruptive innovation”.
In health care, disruptive innovation involves technologies, products, or services that are cheaper, simpler, and more convenient, making it possible for less-expensive professionals to provide advanced services in affordable settings, or even for patients to care for themselves.
Disruptive innovation in the orthodontic market place has taken the form of the “Direct to Patient Care Model”. This direct to patient care model is represented by corporate providers such as Smile Direct Club (SDC), Candid Co, Byte, Smile Love among others.
These custom orthodontic braces where designed using off the shelf CAD software, Rhino. The custom design brackets are then exported and 3D printed using a Concept printer. The brackets are printed in chrome cobalt using laser sintering technology. You can see the digitally design custom bases with their adaptors in the figure below.
We are continuing to develop this system and developing the software used to facilitate the digital design process. This is an opportunity to move the work flow associated with the fabrication of the custom appliances used in the care of our patients back into our private clinics, for the benefit of our patients.