As the dental industry continues to evolve and grow, there will be a wave of new technology and software to choose from. SportingSmiles, an online provider of clear retainers, and other variety of dental products since 2009 turned to 3D printing in 2018. The move has paid off as the company has seen monumental growth over the past few years.
3D Printing has helped SportingSmiles create new opportunities for upsells to their large customer base and has helped build lifelong relationships with purchasers. With the 3D printers integrated with other software, SportingSmiles has been able to scan in impressions and keep them on a digital file. This gives the company the ability to reprint any molds when needed for customers who want to reorder essix retainers or other products.
Upsells was a large benefit to the 3D printers but they came with a list of other benefits. CEO of SportingSmiles, Evan McCarthy has been impressed with other facets of the printers that helped build his dental lab into a production machine.
"Our lab is much cleaner because of the 3D printers," McCarthy said. "We used to have a few technicians grinding the stone models down and there was dust and material everywhere. It'd take just as much time to clean up as it would to create the molds. With the 3D printers, it's such a clean process that saves us time. The molds are exact too, the accuracy is second to none."
While some dental labs face long post-processing for their molds, SportingSmiles has a simple finish to their molds that help keep the production from slowing down. The 3D printers have been easy to keep up with maintenance and McCarthy feels that they will become a crucial part for most players in the dental industry.
"I always knew that with the way technology was heading that we were going to turn to 3D printing," McCarthy said. "SportingSmiles wanted to be ahead of the curve and be ready for when the industry started to implement them. We've found a large sum of successfully integrating them into our business. Our company has continued to grow and with the 3D printers we can match the demand for our products."
Aside from clear retainers, SportingSmiles offers night guards, custom whitening trays, and sports mouthguards. Established in 2009 in Brookfield, Wisconsin, SportingSmiles has gone on to become one of the most successful online dental companies with over one million customers in the United States.