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3D Printing in Dentistry

Three-dimensional printing was once an extremely expensive and complex undertaking. Now, 3D printers are available for home and office use and dentists around the world are finding new and exciting ways to use this technology to improve patient outcomes.

Ready-to-Use Files

In order to print a 3D object, you must first use specialized software to create instructions for the printer. There are many pre-existing designs available for download either free or for a fee online. 

National Institute of Health: The NIH 3D Print Exchange allows users to upload and share their files for 3D printing projects. Users can also search their extensive collection to find files they can use or adjust for their own project.

Pinshape: 3D files are available to download, some for free and others for a fee. Dentistry related items include a tooth, a digital activator splint, double and hybrid night guard splints, and a Herbst cast splint.

CG Trader: 3D files are available to download for a fee. Dentistry related items include implants, teeth and gum models, a dental bridge, and teeth with pathologies.

GrabCAD: 3D files available for download for free (with registration). Dentistry related items include implants, prosthesis, crowns and veneers, models, etc. Searching “dental” will produce the best results.

STL Finder: 3D files available for download, some are free and others for a fee. Dentistry related items include prosthesis, tools (dental mirror, dental clip tray), and implants. Searching “dental” will produce the best results. 

TurboSquid: 3D files available for download for a fee. Dentistry related items include tools, dental models, implants and teeth. Searching “dental” will produce the best results. 

Thingiverse: Free, online repository for downloadable 3D Printing design files. Dentistry related items include items such as floss holders, models of human jaw, dental impression trays, dental crowns etc. Searching "dental" provides best results.

CultsMix of free and paid 3D printing design files, including Dentistry-related materials such as full dentures, bite guards, teeth scans and models etc. This site also supports French and Spanish languages as well as English. Searching "dental" provides best results. 

3DExportMix of free and paid 3D printing design files for download (majority appear to be paid) including dental mirrors, implant models, bite guards, tooth models pathologies in varying levels of detail etc. Searching "dental" provides best results. 


If you would like to create your own items for printing, there are several software packages available for creating three-dimensional objects that can then be printed.

FreeCAD: Open source (free) downloadable software for 3D modelling. 

Tinkercad: Free, easy-to-learn online app anyone can use to create and print 3D models. Requires users to sign up for a free account before searching, creating and using 3D print designs.

Blender: Open source (free) downloadable 3D creation suit, compatible with MacOS and Windows. Aimed at more experienced users.

Meshmixer: Open source (free) downloadable 3D modelling software, compatible for Windows and MacOS. Suitable for beginners new to 3D printing. 

3D Systems: Downloadable software, cost is $49 USD. You can send your items to them for printing. 

DesignSpark Mechanical: Free downloadable software (Windows only). Add on modules are available for a fee. 

SketchUp: Free 3D modelling computer program. Free version is web-based only with limited cloud storage, premium versions allow for unlimited storage and the use of desktop version. This program comes with pre-made models and is suitable for beginner or intermediate users. 


Video Tutorials

A 20-minute tutorial that introduces first time users to the TinkerCAD interface and guides them through designing a wrench.    

This 8-minute video offers a quick introduction to Meshmixer software and STL files, with a dentistry focus.  

About 16-minutes long, this video demonstrates two methods for working with and printing STL models, with a dentistry focus. Additional how-to videos related to 3D printing in Dentistry can be found on the YouTube channel, The 3D Dentist