3D Systems shares update on dental growth strategy

3D Systems announced its expanded focus and technology roadmap tailored to deliver the largest range of solutions for a growing digital dentistry market. The portfolio will include solutions for alignment, protection, repair, and replacement of teeth — the broadest portfolio available from any additive manufacturing solutions provider according to the company.

3D Systems
(Image: 3D Systems)

According to 3D Systems, it has established itself as a leader in digital dentistry with its optimised workflow designed to drive new levels of speed, productivity, efficiency, and precision while also providing opportunities to improve the patient experience. Powered by 3D Systems’ proprietary Figure 4 technology, the NextDent 5100 and NextDent materials provide the foundation of a digital dentistry solution.

The platform supports an already broad and growing range of dental applications for lab managers, dental technicians, dental prosthetic technicians, clinical prosthodontists, and orthodontists. Today, this solution enables the production of trays, models, surgical guides, dentures, orthodontic splints, retainers, crowns, and bridges.

Building upon the NextDent technologies, the company is now expanding into new oral applications, such as night guards. Night guards are a rapidly growing market segment driven by the need to prevent damage to teeth from night grinding, an affliction affecting millions of people around the world. Night guards are also increasingly used by physicians for the treatment of sleep apnoea and related disorders. 3D Systems expects night guards to become an important element of its dental technology portfolio over the next few years.

Earlier this year, the company showcased the newest application of its additive manufacturing dental technologies with the introduction of a first-to-market solution for multi-material, jetted, one-piece dentures. 3D Systems believes its unique denture solution delivers a durable, long-wear, aesthetically beautiful prosthetic to the patient, enabled by the formulation of bespoke materials for both teeth and gums. The solution has already garnered interest from leading dental labs, including Glidewell, the world’s largest producer of restorative dental devices. 3D Systems anticipates FDA clearance of the solution in the second half of 2024, with rapid commercialisation to follow.

“3D Systems captured an industry-leading position in digital dentistry many years ago, very early in its evolution. We believe the dental industry is now poised for a broad-based acceleration in the adoption of additive manufacturing technology that will impact all major dental applications, from tooth alignment and protection, to repair and replacement,” said Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president & CEO, 3D Systems. “With our decades-long leadership in the development of unique dental materials and printing technology, 3D Systems is ideally positioned to bring this full range of new, high-volume, custom applications to market over the next few years, and we are committed to do so.”

Dr Graves continued: “Leveraging our fully integrated materials, hardware, and software development teams, we are working with market leaders in each dental product category, to bring these new applications to market as rapidly as possible. Our belief is that this approach offers maximum benefit to dental patients as they gain access to better performing, more cost-effective solutions to meet their personal lifetime needs.”

3D Systems also announced the signing of a multi-year purchase agreement, with a value estimated to approach a quarter-billion dollars through 2028, in support of the indirect manufacturing process for clear aligners. The contract builds upon the legacy the company has established as a key supplier of 3D printing technology to the clear aligner industry.

3D Systems’ technology today enables the manufacture of roughly one million patient-specific clear aligners per day across this rapidly growing market. The Company believes this milestone orthodontics contract provides a strong foundation upon which to launch the next phase of significant expansion in the dental market, which will include novel technology for the direct printing of clear aligner products.

According to Vantage Market Research, the global dental 3D printing market is estimated to be valued at US$14.6bn by 2032. With decades of experience in the dental industry, 3D Systems has been integral in catalysing the adoption of 3D printing to produce patient-specific dental devices. The Company currently boasts the largest portfolio of dental 3D printing materials to address more than 30 applications and empowers dental facilities to manufacture dental appliances with heightened efficiency while minimizing material waste. This translates to accelerated production timelines, resulting in streamlined experiences for more than one million patients served each day.

“Supporting the development and regulatory approval process for these new applications is essential, but equally important is the ability to rapidly scale processes to meet demand and to service customers as their volumes rise. Today, 3D Systems’ dental technology enables the production of over one million custom products per day and does so across multiple customer plants dispersed across several continents. The proof of our capability to reliably scale and support mass-custom production of dental products is well demonstrated in our recent multi-year contract award, the largest single contract in our company’s 40-year history, to support dental aligner manufacturing,” said Dr Graves.

“We believe this is a strong indicator of the exciting potential dentistry holds for our company as we continue to expand our offerings and key partnerships to soon encompass all major patient applications, from night guards to dentures, and even to next-generation direct-printed clear aligners.”

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