An orthodontist from Maryland has good news for the 178 million people in the U.S. missing at least one tooth: the future is now.

The Washington Post reports that orthodontist Jim Lee is using 3D printing to make molds of people’s mouths, which can then be used to produce orthopedic devices such as custom expanders, retainers and more.

Lee has his patients bite down on a camera at his practice in Frederick. The camera then sends the images it takes to the cloud. A lab 25 miles away downloads the pictures and uses them to make the molds. Finally, the devices themselves are created from the molds.

3D printing allows Lee to make molds quickly, and accurately — but at a cost. Lee says that each mold costs about $20, while molds made the traditional way cost $4.

However, it’s worth the extra money, he says. Orthodontists traditionally use a material called alginate to make mold. Patients need to keep in their mouths for about three minutes for it to harden and make a mold. This uncomfortable process often makes patients gag, and produces lower-quality molds. Staff may have to take several different alginate impressions, which means the patient has to come in to the office multiple times. They also have to physically package and ship the molds off, too, which adds to the cost. Sometimes, this trip even distorts the molds.

Using a 3D printer to make molds also benefits the doctor. Though there’s a higher price up front, Lee says that it does help save money indirectly. His clinic doesn’t need more storage space, because of the digital method. Traditionally, orthodontic practices need a special room to store plaster molds, but so far, his practice hasn’t needed one.

“Doctors that have been trained and used to the [plaster] models prefer them because you can hold it up and orient it, and you can’t digitally. It takes a little bit of technical knowledge and flexibility on the doctors’ side to be able to get used to it,” Lee told the Washington Post.