coding development

Design x Metatooth r9

Release 9 of Design x Metatooth has been published!
Design x Metatooth r9

Design x Metatooth (pronounced “design by metatooth”) is a web-based 3D modeling application. Release 9 has now been published, check it out at

Release 9 adds Pick, Draw, Undo, and Redo functionality to the basic View (Rotate + Zoom) & Measure capabilities. On screen help is non-existent, please refer to the user documentation below.

User Documentation

Resize your browser width to 1000 pixels or more to access the menu bar.

Throughout, you may adjust the zoom using your mouse’s scroll wheel or middle button. Use the buttons along the menu bar to switch modes or issue commands. The keyboard shortcut for the mode/command is displayed to the right of the button name.

Rotate View – Press r to return to this rotate view mode. Rotate with the primary (typically left) button.
Measure – Press m to switch to measure mode. Click and drag with the primary button to get the 2D or point-to-point distance between two locations on screen. The measure tool can be reset any time within this mode. Switching to a different mode will remove the measure tool from the screen.
Pick – Press p to switch to the pick mode. Single click with the primary button to mark the intersection point below the cursor.
Draw – Press d to switch to the draw mode. Click and drag with the primary button to mark a line on the target mesh.
Undo – This command’s keyboard shortcut is z. Undo will remove the last object (pick point or line) made. Undo is available in Rotate View, Pick, and Draw modes.
Redo – This command’s keyboard shortcut is y. Redo will recover the last object removed by the undo command. Redo is available in Rotate View, Pick, and Draw modes.
Download – The download button in the upper right can be used to save the visible mesh to disk as a Binary STL file.

coding development

Design x Metatooth r8

Design x Metatooth r8

Design x Metatooth is a web-based 3D modeling application. Check it out for yourself at! r8 adds Measure functionality to the basic View (Rotate + Zoom) capabilities. On screen help is non-existent, refer to the user documentation below.

User Documentation

Resize your browser width to 1000 pixels or more to access the menu bar.

View – Press ‘v’ to return to view mode. Zoom with the scroll wheel or middle button. Rotate with the primary (typically left) button.
Measure – Press ‘m’ to switch to measure mode. Click and drag with the primary button to get the 2D or point-to-point distance between two locations on screen.
Download – The download button in the upper right can be used to save the visible mesh to disk as a Binary STL file.


Retainer vs Mouthguard

Retainer vs mouthguard: What are they and why would you choose one over the other?

Dental Retainer

essix retainer

A retainer is commonly used after orthodontic treatment. Your teeth will want to return to their original position after treatment, and the retainer ensures your smile stays they way you want it. Wear your retainer as directed by your dentist. It can take 12 months for soft tissue to fully heal after treatment.


A dental mouthguard worn overnight, a night guard, is thicker than a dental retainer. The thicker (1.5mm) design is more durable to provide longer-lasting protection from the effects of grinding and clenching. The thickness also changes the relationship between the upper and lower jaws, which can relieve temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.

dental mouthguard

Metatooth offers custom night guards in a hard acrylic material. Other styles may be soft and flexible, made from ethylene vinyl acetate. There are also hybrid designs, that make use of both materials.

Mouthguards made from a hard material will also act as a dental retainer.

Retainer vs mouthguard, which one did you choose? Tell us about it in the comments!


Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ). WebMD., n.p., Accessed 08 March 2020.

custom-night-guard mouthhealth

Cleaning Your Custom Night Guard

Cleaning your custom night guard is important, it requires regular cleaning to stay in top condition and prevent bacteria growth. Luckily, it’s easy and straightforward to do. Follow these simple instructions to keep your night guard (and mouth!) fresh and happy.

custom night guard

The Morning After

Do you brush your teeth in the morning? For the same reasons you brush your teeth, your night guard requires the same care. Use your toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your night guard as you would your own teeth. It’s best to store your night guard in a glass of cold tap water to prevent bacteria growth. Change the water daily.

For a deep clean, use a denture cleaning tablet such as Polident(r). Once a week is sufficient. Avoid using alcohol or mouthwash, this will damage your night guard and shorten it’s life!

On The Go

If you use a travel case, make sure it’s clean as well. Wash with hot water and soap. Rinse and dry well. Dry your night guard before storing in the travel case. Do not put a clean night guard in a dirty case!

Night Guard Checkup

Depending on the severity of your bruxism, your night guard might wear out. While it’s made from a durable material, teeth grinding and clenching will change the night guard’s shape or even create a hole. Better the night guard than your teeth! Check weekly for worn patches or cracks.

Bring your night guard with you to your regular dental checkup. Your dentist can provide a more thorough check of your night guard (and your teeth!) to assure you that all is well.

Do not wear a damaged night guard. Metatooth can replace your custom night guard from your initial impression. Contact us to find out how. Thanks for learning about cleaning your custom night guard. Any other tips? Tell us about it in the comments!


Magento 2 on Heroku

Magento 2

Magento 2 on Heroku is what powers the online shop. This is a blog running on Heroku. Look for a post on integrating the two in the future. My first step was to deploy to Heroku. Here’s one of the few resources I found, but it is a good one.

In a nutshell, download the latest 2.x version from Then unpack, create a local git repository & commit.

$ mkdir Magento
$ cd Magento
$ tar xjvf ~/Downloads/Magento-CE-2.3.4-2020-01-16-11-26-09.tar.bz2
$ git init
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial commit of Magento"

Normally, you would have to move auth.json.sample to auth.json in the repository to allow Composer to pull from the Magento repository. The PHP buildpack for Heroku will use the value of the COMPOSER_AUTH environment variable instead. It should also be in JSON format, as shown below.

$ heroku create
$ heroku config:set COMPOSER_AUTH='{ "http-basic": { "": { "username": "<public-key>", "password": "<private-key>" }}}'
$ git push heroku master

Need an authentication key? I relied on the following documentation.

Are you using WordPress and Magento 2 on Heroku? Tell me about it in the comments!


Material Safety for Nightguards

Material safety is an important concern for all consumer products. More so for one that you wear overnight. Metatooth’s custom night guard is made from material cleared by the FDA for use in medical devices. What’s your night guard made of?

material safety data sheet

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)

MMA is irritating to the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. The FDA has taken action to remove the use of MMA in nail care products.

Methyl methacrylate is used safely in many consumer products, in accordance with the EPA.

Exposure to methyl methacrylate is primarily occupational, through dermal and inhalation routes. Potentialfor exposure exists for employees of manufacturers of methyl methacrylate and its polymers, as well as doctors, nurses, dentists, and dental technicians.

The Methacrylate Producers Association, Inc provides information on this material. The majority of MMA is converted to polymers before being used in consumer products. Exposure to MMA from these products is unlikely.

If you have a sensitivity to MMA, then our custom night guard may not work for you.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a fact sheet on phthalates. The CDC has this to say about how people are exposed.

People are exposed to phthalates by eating and drinking foods that have been in contact with containers and products containing phthalates. To a lesser extent exposure can occur from breathing in air that contains phthalate vapors or dust contaminated with phthalate particles. Young children may have a greater risk of being exposed to phthalate particles in dust than adults because of their hand-to-mouth behaviors. Once phthalates enter a person’s body, they are converted into breakdown products (metabolites) that pass out quickly in urine.

The CDC provides a list of items containing phthalates.

  • vinyl flooring
  • adhesives
  • detergents
  • lubricating oils
  • automotive plastics
  • raincoats
  • soaps
  • shampoos
  • hair sprays
  • nail polishes
  • polyvinyl chloride plastics (plastic packaging film and sheets, garden hoses, inflatable toys, blood-storage containers, medical tubing, some children’s toys)

The health effects of low levels of exposure are unknown. More research is needed!

Our custom night guard does not contain phthalates.


Our custom night guard does not contain BPA.


Our custom night guard does not contain latex.

Additional material safety information is available from Metatooth on request. What are your material safety concerns? Post them in the comments!


Methyl methacrylate. Wikipedia., n.p., Accessed 28 February 2020.

Nail Care Products. FDA., 6 Mar 2018, Accessed 28 February 2020.

Methyl Methacrylate. EPA., n.p., Accessed 28 February 2020.

Global Product Safety Summary: Methyl Methacrylate. Methacrylate Producers Association, Inc.,  27 Nov 2019, Accessed 28 February 2020.

Phthalates Factsheet. CDC., 7 Apr 2017, Accessed 28 February 2020.

custom-night-guard mouthhealth

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding effects 1  in 10 adults. It is even more prevalent in children, but declines with age. Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is the condition of grinding, gnashing, or clenching of your teeth. Sleep bruxism — night-time grinding — is most common, although awake bruxism does occur. Symptoms include jaw, ear, and head-aches. Teeth can also be damaged. Ask your dentist if you have signs of bruxism.

Stress and Anxiety

The causes of bruxism are not completely known. They may be physical, psychological or genetic. Stress and anxiety may induce awake bruxism. Sleep bruxism may be activity related to sleep arousals (awakenings from sleep apnea or snoring).

Reduce stress at bed-time by:

  1. try to relax in the hours before bedtime
  2. maintain a consistent soothing routine
  3. create a cool, comfortable, and dark sleep environment
  4. keep work-related items like computers out of the bedroom

Alcohol, Nicotine, and Caffeine

All of these drugs can interfere with normal sleep patterns which could result in an increase of bruxism. Other conditions like sleep apnea and snoring are also aggravated by these substances. Consider lifestyle changes that reduce or eliminate alcohol, nicotone, and caffeine for improvements in sleep patterns.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and snoring are thought to contribute to sleep bruxism. Seek treatment for sleep apnea from your doctor or dentist. Night guard users have reported both increases and decreases in the incidents of snoring. More study is needed to better understand how devices like occlusal splints impact these medical conditions.

Occlusal Splint (Night Guard)

An occlusal splint is commonly used as a night guard for teeth protection. Splints do not stop the grinding, but they do protect the wearer’s teeth from damage. Splints can be purchased over-the-counter or through a dentist. Over-the-counter night guards are made by thermoforming or “boil and bite”. Many dentists offer a custom-made occlusal splint. This type is now available direct to the consumer.

occlusal splint

Do you have experience with a night guard? Tell us about it in the comments!


Blake, K. (2016, February 29). Teeth grinding: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, July 22). Bruxism (teeth grinding).

National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). 3 Tips for Coping with Bruxism or Teeth Grinding.

3d-printing dentistry marketresearch product

Yankee Dental 2020

Metatooth went to Yankee Dental 2020 and here’s what we found.

3D Printing

Micron Dental was showing their P305 printer. This printer uses LCD technology as the light source. Micron claims less lens distortion issues with this technology over the SLA and DLP types. It is being sold as a bundle only, which includes a wash & cure station.

The P305 lacks the design flair of the Formlabs Form 3B  or SprintRay Pro. The exterior design would not effect performance, but it does limit access to the print plate, with a side door of just 18 inches. Compare this to the “hatch” approach provided by the other two vendors. Does this effect usability? Micron users please comment below!

Formlabs was present as well, showing the Form 3B. No new materials were shown. The hunt is still on for a printable clear aligner tray. Everyone seems happy to be selling model resin! Formlab’s PreForm software is free to download and use, which was news to Metatooth.

Finally, Great Lakes Dental Technologies showed an economy desktop LCD printer the UNIZ Slash Plus.

Dental CAD

Metatooth watched a demonstration of 3Shape‘s Bite Splint and Indirect Bonding modules. 3Shape’s design software is available stand-alone, at prices comparable to other stand-alone software. However, the yearly maintenance fees are required for the software to operate.

Look for 3Shape to support Polygon File Format (*.ply) in the near future. This will enable non-3Shape users of this data to receive the color information collected by TRIOS scanners. This would be a welcome addition to those supporting open standards and protocols in the dental industry.

Practice Management Software

There were a number of companies offering software products that worked with the leaders in practice management software. Hopefully more of these offerings will keep coming. Metatooth recommends software products that integrate using the vendor’s API, not via an understanding of the vendor’s database schema.

This market is quite regional, so for the Northeast, Metatooth considers these the market leaders.

  1. EagleSoft from Patterson Dental
  2. Dentrix from Henry Schein
  3. OpenDental

Relative newcomer carestack might be one to watch.


Artificial Intelligence vendors were centered around perio-charting assistance and some other voice-to-text tasks. BOLA.AI offered the most functionality. This area will continue to grow, especially as practice management systems (see above) move to the cloud and add API support.


Direct-to-consumer companies looking to add a clinical channel were present. quip was the most well known to Metatooth, but another toothbrush service — BURST — was also on the scene. Colgate, Oral-B, and the like had throngs at their booths. When does quip or BURST become an acquisition target?

There was also an anti-snoring device from Zyppah. This self-molding thermoform device is available directly from the company. A “dentist only” channel was being presented.

Metatooth had a great time at the vendor exhibition of Yankee Dental 2020. What did Metatooth miss? Tell us about it in the comments!

Yankee Dental 2020
friday links

Friday Links

Friday links to a collection of news items I’ve recently come across. Each is not enough for a full blog post, but maybe I can cobble one together! My own news at the bottom.

Here is another example of a 3d-printed implant this time for plastic surgery. It’s a 3d-printed breast implant which will start clinical trials in Germany by the end of year. It’s a resorbable structure that allows for the recipient’s own tissue to be used as the bio-mass, instead of silicon or polyurethane.

What’s the latest on SmileDirectClub? While anticipation of the initial public offering was high, it ended up being a big dud. The stock dropped again after their first earnings report. Note that the past quarter’s revenue was above expectations: $180MM vs $165MM. That seems like plenty of money!?  It’s definitely not if you spend $600MM. They remain on track to increase revenue 78% this year. SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ: SDC) has stumbled, but with the HP partnership and continuing consumer demand, it doesn’t seem like they are going away anytime soon.

Formlabs recently announced the Form 3B and are all in on dental with their dedicated business unit. The white case of the 3B is a nod to the desired clinical setting for these devices. This market needs advanced materials and Formlabs appears to be investing in their development, along with the creation of a support organization to differentiate themselves from other OEMs at this price point.

What’s the latest from Metatooth? The first printed night guards have been received!

Alien Milling is my manufacturing partner. There are still things for me to learn about digital workflows! Each participant has embraced digital platforms, but they don’t work together. A challenge and an opportunity.

Thanks for reading Friday links. What have you noticed in the news regarding dental, 3d-printing, and digital workflows? Tell me about it in the comments!


EforAll Lynn Winter 2020 Cohort

The EforAll Lynn Winter 2020 Cohort is coming together and Metatooth will be part of it! EforAll’s Lynn Community offers twice-a-year business accelerator programs and “pitch contests” focused on nurturing local entrepreneurs. Core values are Inclusivity, Empathy, Collaboration, Respect, Performance, and Drive. Entrepreneurship for All began in Lowell-Lawrence, MA as Merrimack Valley Sandbox in 2010.  It is the brainchild of Jaishree and Desh Deshpande, with initial funding through their Deshpande Foundation.  It has since expanded across communities in Massachusetts and has recently welcomed Longmont, CO to the fold.

It’s already been helpful to participate in the application and interview process. Interviewers and application reviewers have highlighted questions and prompted reflection on my motivation and goals. The core of the program is twice-a-week workshops over the next 12 weeks. Mentor matching happens at program start and mentors meet with entrepreneurs over the course of the following year. Participants are expected to leave the 12 week workshop period with a 9-month plan to grow their business.

There is a lot of moving parts in any operation. I’ve previously relied on SCORE and the Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce for business questions and advice. I plan to go back to that well, too!

Thanks to the staff & volunteers of EforAll Lynn for their attention during the application process. How are you engaging with your local community to strengthen your business and achieve your goals? Tell me about it in the comments!