Printed jawbones and dental implants are set to lead the growth in commercial 3-D printing, with the sector expected to expand over 500 percent in the next 10 years, according to a new report.
The dental sector is on the verge of a "mass uptake" of the technology and represents a "clear growth area" for 3-D printing, according to tech research firm IDTechEx.
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It expects the dental and medical 3-D printing sector to grow by around 515 percent to $868 million by 2025, up from its current value of $141 million.
As a result, many printer manufacturers are designing machines and developing materials specifically aimed at the dental market, the group's report said.
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"Applications are emerging in the medical and dental fields, where the opportunity afforded by cheap customisation is allowing surgeons to replicate a patient's body based on MRI and CT scans in order to practice difficult invasive procedures, and medical and dental implants which are fully customised to a particular individual can be generated," IDTechEx said.
With some 90,000 dental surgeries in the U.S. alone, the group estimates that dental-specific printer sales in the country could hit $180 million per year, as each printer costs around $20,000 and has an average lifespan of around 10 years.
Manufacturer Stratasys is named by IDTechEx as one of the leading companies in the space. Shares in the Nasdaq-listed group jumped as much as 19 percent earlier this month after it reported a 67 percent increase in second-quarter revenue, beating analysts' expectations.
In total, the 3-D printing market will be worth $4 billion by 2025, according to the report, as jewellery, aerospace and auto industries begin to implement the technology more.
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