Print your own teeth

Jul 14, 2011

What if, instead of waiting days or weeks for a cast to be produced and prosthetic dental implants, false teeth and replacement crowns to be made, your dentist could quickly scan your jaw and "print" your new teeth using a rapid prototyping machine known as a 3D printer?

Researchers in Iran explain how medical imaging coupled with computer-aided design could be used to create a perfect-fit blueprint for prosthetic dentistry, whether to replace diseased or broken teeth and . The blueprint can then be fed into a so-called to build up an exact replica using a biocompatible composite material. Such technology has been used in medical prosthetics before, but this is an early step into prosthetic dentistry using rapid prototyping.

Writing in the International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing, Hossein Kheirollahi of the Imam Hossein University and colleague Farid Abbaszadeh of the Islamic Azad University, in Tehran, Iran, explain how current technology used to convert an MRI or CT scan into a prosthetic component requires milling technology. This carves out the appropriate solid shape from a block of polymer but has several disadvantages, uppermost being that it is very difficult to carve out a complex shape, such as a tooth. By contrast, rapid prototyping uses a 3D image held in a computer to control a laser that then "cures" powdered or liquid polymer. Almost any solid, porous, or complicated shape can be produced by this 3D-printing technology.

The Iranian team has now demonstrated how can be used to fabricate dental objects such as implants and crowns quickly and easily even where features such as overhangs, sharp corners and undercuts are required. The team points out that the most appropriate medical imaging technology, CBCT (cone-beam computed tomography), which is lower cost and exposes the patient to a lower dose of ionizing radiation is best suited to the generation of the computer design for creating such dental objects ready for printing.

Explore further: New filter technology uses inert gas to bore holes in high-quality steel

More information: "Application of rapid prototyping technology in dentistry" in Int. J. Rapid Manufacturing, 2011, 2, 104-120, DOI: 10.1504/IJRAPIDM.2011.040692

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quasi44
not rated yet Jul 15, 2011
Iranian medical and mechanical engineering ingenuity; taking us to school. While some would undoubtedly say that this could possibly be categorized as an inevitable advance based on our own technologies; I'd like to remind them in advance that nothing is truly obvious until something happens to make it stand out and be seen.
To the Imam Hossein University and the Islamic Azad University; I'd like to extend a big Thank You, for sharing your discovery that will be of enormous benefit to dentistry, and further, to impoverished people all over the world.