Document Type: Literature Review


1 Dept. of Prosthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 DDS, MScD. Private Practice, Shiraz, Iran


The early computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems were relied exclusively on subtractive methods. In recent years, additive methods by employing rapid prototyping (RP) have progressed rapidly in various fields of dentistry as they have the potential to overcome known drawbacks of subtractive techniques such as fit problems. RP techniques have been exploited to build complex 3D models in medicine since the 1990s. RP has recently proposed successful applications in various dental fields, such as fabrication of implant surgical guides, frameworks for fixed and removable partial dentures, wax patterns for the dental prosthesis, zirconia prosthesis and molds for metal castings, and maxillofacial prosthesis and finally, complete dentures. This paper aimed to offer a comprehensive literature review of various RP methods, particularly in dentistry, that are expected to bring many improvements to the field. A search was made through MEDLINE database and Google scholar search engine. The keywords; ‘rapid prototyping’ and ‘dentistry’ were searched in title/abstract of publications; limited to 2003 to 2013, concerning past decade. The inclusion criterion was the technical researches that predominately included laboratory procedures. The exclusion criterion was meticulous clinical and excessive technical procedures. A total of 106 articles were retrieved, recited by authors and only 50 met the specified inclusion criteria for this review. Selected articles had used rapid prototyping techniques in various fields in dentistry through different techniques. This review depicted the different laboratory procedures employed in this method and confirmed that RP technique have been substantially feasible in dentistry. With advancement in various RP systems, it is possible to benefit from this technique in different dental practices, particularly in implementing dental prostheses for different applications.