Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology use in dental practice was investigated.
A survey examining prevalence, applications, and user experience of 3D printing in
dentistry was developed. The Qualtrics survey was sent to American Dental Association
Clinical Evaluators Panel members on November 14, 2022, and remained open for 2 weeks.
Nonresponders received a reminder after 1 week. Data were analyzed descriptively in
SAS Version 9.4.
Among 277 respondents (27% response rate), 17% currently use a 3D printer in practice;
67% of those have been using it for less than 2 years. The most common uses for 3D
printer were to complement or enhance other digital technologies (63%), control workflows
(50%), improve efficiency (50%), use existing digital skills or procedures (48%),
and reduce cost or manufacturing time (43%). The most common advantages were improved
efficiency (68%) and reduced cost (44%). Forty-eight percent used a 3D printer for
25% of their cases per month for diagnostic models (62%), splints and occlusal devices
(50%), and surgical guides (48%). Practice changes included dental laboratory collaborations
(51%) and staff members additions and training (61%). The most common problems involved
software (41%) and printing failure (39%). Top reasons among the 83% without printers
were laboratory dependence (44%), high financial investment (39%), and lack of perceived
benefit (34%). Among nonusers, 21% were considering investing in one in 2023, and
35% were considering obtaining training.
3D printer use in dental practice is low, although early-stage adopters report improved
efficiency and reduced application costs.
As 3D printing technology evolves, interest in learning about and adopting the technology