Printing pearly whites: How a local orthodontist uses his 3D printer for tooth aligners

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO
Orthodontist J. Lawrence Hutta, DDS with his 3D printer.

Hutta & Cook Orthodontics hasenhanced an already progressive reputation with a 3D printer.

The practice uses the technology to make more detailed tooth aligners called Orchestrate aligners, an in-house alternative to Invisalign. Information is stored in a computer rather than a plaster mold and printed as needed.

"It has allowed me to work in the virtual world and treat before I start," says J. Lawrence Hutta, DDS.

The process begins with the creation of an image of the mouth with a camera. After a plastic version is printed, the aligner can be built on it. The accuracy of the model translates into a well-fitting aligner.

Hutta has used the printer to improve upon, and even eradicate, some of the steps required to make an aligning appliance. One of the main benefits is the ability to complete the appliance in the office. This technology has also enabled Hutta to streamline his business between his two offices with the transportation of information instead of molds.

"We use the 3D printer in our office every day," says Hutta. "This digital dentistry allows us to provide a service to our patients that speeds up production of the aligners while improving quality at a lower cost, so it's quicker and less expensive than ever before."

Hutta's business model has attracted colleagues and patients alike. Hutta's partner, Brandon Cook, DDS, joined the practice because of Hutta's reputation for using innovative technology to treat patients. Jodi Meadows, an Orchestrate patient, is pleased with the product and the practice.

"I love the way that they are constantly keeping up on technology," she says. "They want change."

Hutta, who celebrates 30 years of practicing orthodontics this June, plans to stay cutting-edge.

"If you've taken the oath to provide the best for your patient, you have to invest in it," he says.

Chloe Teasley is an intern for Columbus CEO.