I have already once spoken with David Holub, a twenty-five-year-old Project Manager at TGM Help; we talked about the fascinating and dynamically developing world of 3D printing. But the area of his work is so interesting and wide that we met again. And this time we focused on what he primarily deals with - the use of 3D printing in dentistry.
Technologies of 3D print are relatively new. How long have they been used and what for?
It is true that 3D technologies are currently getting a lot of attention and many new industries are emerging in which they are used. But it is also true that 3D printing has been around since 1980, when the first patent application for this technology was filed, and in 1986 the first official patent was issued. With the speed at which technologies are currently evolving, it is difficult to estimate where the limits are. Probably the greatest popularity at the moment has the 3D plastic printing, which hobby designers from all over the world love - we can often see their creations in the media. For this reason, 3D printing is sometimes perceived more as a leisure affair. At the same time, its application, for example in the field of medicine, dentistry, dental prosthetics, but also industry, is becoming very broad and allows manufacturers to produce things that had not been possible to make before or their production was complicated and financially very expensive.
Are there areas where 3D printing cannot be used yet, but it is assumed that it will be able to in the future? Or are there also some insurmountable limits?
This is really hard to guess. It could be said that almost every day, the development is moving forward and exceeding its current limits. From my point of view, the biggest limitation at the moment is in the available materials and in the price of individual machines. There are already countless companies around the world that manufacture and develop 3D printers and at the same time develop new materials for their machines. It could be said that it is a race for the first place in this sector.
So you're not worried about the future of this type of production?
Definitely not. Its application in many fields is already proving to be ground-breaking and is opening up new possibilities. I dare say there is currently no competition in prototyping. Its flexibility and almost limitless ability to create 3D objects with the ability to influence the internal structure, all in one production process, is a huge advantage in terms of both time and personalization for the needs of the individual without the need for more energy. For example, the automotive industry has already open its doors for this technology. For example, Formula 1 cars use parts made by 3D printing, where the great advantage is the possibility of lightening some parts thanks to the use of the mentioned internal structuring.
How are 3D technologies accepted by the professional public, such as the aforementioned dentists? Do they see advantages in it, or is it difficult to convince them of those benefits?
These technologies are paving their way and very fast, I think, are approaching a successful goal. In the field of medicine, of course, it is difficult to come to market with something new - after all, it is about human health, and we cannot underestimate or take anything lightly. All materials that are already in use must meet all standards and certifications. To give an example, titanium, for example, is widely used in both general medicine and dentistry due to its properties. After processing this metal, we can use 3D printing without any concerns, achieving comparable quality and at the same time adapting the product to the needs of a particular patient.
Dentistry already uses top materials and procedures. How can 3D technology move it forward?
In dentistry, the market is stabilized in terms of currently used materials and there is not much room for innovation. However, 3D printing offers very precise processing of dental prosthetics and at the same time full adaptation to the patient's needs. Another great advantage is the speed of production. Anyone who has undergone treatment at a dentist knows how long and uncomfortable this procedure can be. Our goal is to offer the patient the most comfortable and at the same time fastest possible treatment without compromising the quality. We can achieve great acceleration and comfort of the during process, for example, by using intraoral 3D scanners, which relieve the patient of having to sit through unpleasant imprints being made with mouth open. Anyone who has experienced this will certainly remember the full mouth and gag reflex that this process evokes in most people. In addition, the doctor can send the scanned documents with the description directly to the laboratory, which will immediately start working on creating the required replacement. This speeds up the whole process in a matter of days and minimizes the unpleasant procedures that are used when seeing dentists. Unfortunately, this technology is still not very well established and dental practices often not willing to invest in it.
A classic dental prosthesis are costly, a complete set of new teeth is usually a question of hundreds of thousands. How can 3D printing influence the prices in dentistry?
There are two fundamental factors in pricing here. Firstly, the amount that the doctor charges for their work and indication, and the second part is the amount that the dental laboratory charges for production. Looking at foreign markets, however, we find that dental care in Czechia is among the cheaper ones compared to other countries. As in any sector, the difference is in the materials used and in the certain prestige of the dentist and the laboratory - this is of course also reflected in the final price. In contrast to the usual medical treatment, in this case the patient pays for the dental care in full, as the insurance companies do not pay for this type of treatment.
Won’t this technology be hard to afford for people?
It is not about not being affordable now – so, I do not think that prices should change fundamentally in the near future. The marriage of dentistry and 3D printing can do only good!- both for the patient and the doctor. We are constantly working to raise awareness of the availability of these new methods. We hope that they will find a place and a way in our country as well, and thus enable everyone to make dental care a little more pleasant. It is great to get the patient quickly sorted out and give them the comfort of a carefree smile.
David Holub (born 20th March, 1996 in Prague) is the Project Manager of the family company TGM Help s.r.o, which deals with professional 3D printing.
He graduated from the Italian Grammar school and then in Italian Studies from the School of Arts, Charles University. After this he helped in metal production for his parents. He worked with a 2D laser cutting machine, drew and programmed production for this machine, he also worked with a folding machine.
He is not married (but as he says ‘taken’) and has no children.
#He likes all modern technologies; football, golf, movies, reading and computers.
CZECHIA AND THE WORLD
The sector of 3D printing is developing rapidly practically all over the world. According to David Holub, which countries are the furthest and how does the Czechia stand in the game? "In this respect, they are certainly world economic leaders, such as the US, Canada, Singapore and, for example, the United Arab Emirates. There are large production centres that use exclusively 3D technology to process their products, " David says. "In Czechia, this method of production is not much talked about in connection with dental prosthetics. It is something new for almost everyone, which is gradually beginning to become known to the general public. As with any new technology, there are two different views: one is not being afraid of innovation and is not resisting new things, the other is concerned about, for example, the quality of workmanship and trusts rather in established methods. But I am personally convinced that new technologies will find their place in the sun as well."