Planmeca Creo® C5 completes the digital dental workflow

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From fixing gadgets to fabricating dental crowns, dental technician Joonas Karilainen has worked with his hands from an early age. In Autumn 2019, the Mehiläinen Hyvinkää dental lab acquired the Planmeca Creo® C5 3D printer to allow him to concentrate on what he knows best – perfecting dental works.

Dental technician Joonas Karilainen has always enjoyed working with his hands. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve liked putting things together, constructing all kinds of gadgets and working with engines. I think that’s probably where it all started.”

Since then, the engines and gadgets have had to make room for dental prostheses and bite splints, but his imprint has remained in his work. At the same time, digital solutions have made workflows faster and more straightforward, in the dental lab as elsewhere. This has allowed dental technicians everywhere to focus on what they do best – designing and perfecting patient-specific dental works.

Karilainen himself is the Chief Dental Technician at the Mehiläinen dental lab in the Finnish city of Hyvinkää, where he works with everything from restorations and prosthetics to orthodontic appliances together with dental technician Edon Naili. In Autumn 2019, they decided to incorporate 3D printing in their daily workflow. The choice ultimately fell on the Planmeca Creo® C5 3D printer, which has since been in frequent use.

According to Karilainen, the 3D printer is used to print dental models, which are used for fitting dental crowns as well as for working on other technical works. “By trying the crown on a physical model we’re able to ensure that the crown is of a high quality.”

“Before 3D printing, we had to order the models from a subcontractor, which of course carried over to our schedules. Now we can fabricate a model whenever we need one. This has made our work much more flexible,” Karilainen explains.

All-digital workflow with Planmeca Creo® C5

The Mehiläinen Hyvinkää dental lab was one of the first to acquire the Planmeca Creo C5 3D printer in Finland. Today, the lab receives many of its orders electronically, after which the works are digitally designed and custom-made for the patient. The workflow is completed by Planmeca’s high-performance 3D printer.

Karilainen says he has been particularly pleased with the printer’s precision and ease of use. “I did go to a product demo at Plandent in Helsinki, but really neither of us had ever 3D printed anything.”

“Of course there are some basic things you need to know, such as how the device actually prints. But once you get the hang of it, printing itself is pretty much a piece of cake. We did first try out a couple of cases when the printer was installed, but at least for us it’s always been really straightforward.”

”An essential part of dental technical work today”

Just a few years ago, 3D printing was still a revolutionary new technology which was to completely transform health care and manufacturing. Today, however, 3D printing is gradually becoming a fixed part of digital dentistry – much like in Hyvinkää.

“A lot of us need 3D printed models in our work, and they’ve definitely become an essential part of dental technical work today,” Karilainen says. “Certainly there are other ways of fabricating models, but if you want to go digital and get the most out of it, I think that’s hard to do without 3D printing.”

As demonstrated by Karilainen and Naili’s example, a 3D printer is no more complicated than any other type of dental equipment. Indeed, Karilainen encourages anyone interested in the technology to take the leap. “We’ve had no problems using the printer or the software, but no one is an expert from the beginning – all that comes from experience. Just go for it.”

Copy: Aleksandra Nyholm
Image: Dino Azinur





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