If you want to get veneers, normally the dentist first has to create a mould of your teeth. That mould is sent to a laboratory where a technician creates the veneer by hand. You then have to wait – often up to several weeks – before you can return to the clinic to have your veneers fitted. But advances in 3D printing technology mean that you could soon have your veneers created and fitted on the spot, and in less than an hour.
3D printing is revolutionising the health sector. It can now be used to create anything from hip replacements to prosthetics. However, the machine used to create veneers is not 3D printing in the conventional sense – which involves building an object layer by layer. Instead, the machine carves the veneers from a block, in a process more akin to computer-aided sculpture.