Stereolithography (SLA) is the original 3D printing — or rapid prototyping — technology and is widely used today in a large variety of applications due to its efficacy in producing accurate details and a superb material finish. Thanks to advancements in both mechanical engineering and digital processes, stereolithography is a highly-valued asset in the production of sophisticated dentistry models that may be impossible to match with traditional prototyping practices.

Stereolithography of today is extremely effective in adhering to detailed computer aided design, which has seen expansive growth in capability and potential along with the digital age. This means that materials can be produced to resemble unique shapes and measurements down to the finest detail and are perfectly suited for prototypes, models and application of the final product.

dental material properties

Dental implants are an ideal product for utilizing the technological advantages of rapid prototyping. With the precision engineering required to produce flawless zirconia implants, employing SLA systems for detailed and accurate models and measurements ensures that the final product is every bit as perfect as its digitally-contrived counterpart. The science behind this technology allows more and more advanced forms of materials to refer to computer aided design for model and prototyping specifications.

SLA machines work by focusing lasers on light-sensitive polymer resins causing them to link together and form shapes and 3-dimensional solids. The laser draws shapes and models based on pre-programmed computer software onto the material whose layers solidify and are drawn successively — creating the desired object.

making of a dental model

In the case of dental implants, photosensitive resin and ceramics are blended into a paste which is drawn into layers to produce the shape of a unique dentistry model. Prototypes produced using this method have identical properties to those made by pressing and injection — traditional modeling processes which not only take longer but are more expensive than those made with stereolithography.

Apart from being a cheaper and faster production method, SLA offers a level of detail which is unparalleled by means not aided with digital software. Computer aided design (CAD) is able to produce comprehensive digital models which are then materialized using advanced computer aided manufacture (CAM) technology. This means that every input of detail, gradation and scale is accurately depicted — creating an exact physical replica of the digital model. Distinct shapes and details in dentistry models allow for a natural appearance when compared to real teeth and are essential qualities when producing a virtually indistinguishable dental implant.

Utilizing stereolithography to create a detailed and uniform zirconia dental restoration prototype ensures that the result is an accurate representation of the unique needs of the patient. SLA models are so accurate and consistent that they can even be used as temporary crowns in the case that a short-term substitute is desired. Zirconia provides the ideal material for dental implants due to its durable qualities and lifelike appearance, and stereolithography is the optimal method of producing models based on the extreme detail and accuracy required.

A dental implant designed with the greatest precision, highest-quality materials and advanced manufacturing processes is guaranteed to pay for itself with every single smile — and zirconia implants made with the help of stereolithography prototyping gives a smile that lasts a lifetime.

At our dental laboratory, we use an in-house SLA machine to create our models from digital impressions. Our machine uses a special polymer with excellent properties for dental models. To learn more about this technology, contact our dental implant lab in Montreal via email at or call 514-989-7887.

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