3D printing and dental product regulation

The membership of the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) is reviewing the regulatory issues associated with 3D printed dental products, highlighting how the dental industry pioneers the introduction of new and innovative patient treatment solutions.

“Australia’s dental laboratory sector is going through a period of immense change and there is no better example of this than 3D printed crown and bridge work,” ADIA chief executive officer Troy Williams said.

“Something that was a concept only a year or two ago is today a very real option with dental laboratories now having access to this technology, even here in Australia.”

Just as with milling, ADIA believes that 3D printing will give Australia’s dental laboratory sector the ability to compete with cheap overseas imports.

“When it comes to competing with imported product, quality is decreasingly an issue as many overseas laboratories use manufacturing inputs that meet Australian regulatory standards for safety,” Williams said.

“The issue has been labour costs and Australia—with wage rates higher than most nations across south-east Asia—couldn’t compete. 3D printing, just as with milling, changes that.”

As the peak business organisation representing dental product manufacturers and suppliers, ADIA has been working with the dental laboratory sector to help it understand and use new technologies such as 3D printing. Now ADIA is focusing its efforts on the nation’s regulator of dental products, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as it sets about developing a regulatory framework for 3D printed dental products.

Williams said, “We are pleased that the TGA has engaged with the dental industry, through ADIA, on this matter as it reflects the fact that the regulator acknowledges the role of the dental industry in introducing new and pioneering patient treatment options.”

In working with the TGA to develop a regulatory approach to 3D printed dental products, ADIA is seeking a regulatory framework for dental products that is based on a risk management approach designed to ensure public health and safety, while at the same time freeing industry from any unnecessary regulatory burden.

Read how 3D printing is revolutionising dentistry in our feature The future is here published in the April issue of Bite magazine.

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