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Dentistry in 3D... Printing?

Author: Katie MacMillan


3D printing has made its way into dentistry! Objects can be made piece by piece, row by row, to create and customize anything.


Why is 3D printing so useful in dentistry? Everyone’s mouths are different, and 3D printing allows custom structures to be made. Therefore, pieces can be 3D printed and used in reconstructive surgeries for the face, or even dental implants (Dawood et al., 2015).


Another use of 3D printing lies in helping dentists use dental tools to their best ability, through creating drill guides (Dawood et al., 2015). This, like the name suggests, helps dentists guide their drills during dental surgery (Dawood et al., 2015). 3D printing can also be used for medical modeling (Dawood et al., 2015). For example, if a patient has an incredibly unique jaw structure which requires extensive surgery, the surgeon could 3D print a replica of their jaw ahead of time to learn more about it and find the best route to treat any issues.


However, 3D printing does not go without its troubles. Mainly,it is so expensive to purchase and maintain the machines (Dawood et al., 2015). Extra training also has to be provided for people to learn how to use it (Dawood et al., 2015). Luckily, materials and costs are slowly being lowered to make this more accessible, so we can hope to see more of this in the future!



References

Dawood, A., Marti, B., Sauret-Jackson, V. et al. 3D printing in dentistry. Br Dent J 219, 521–529 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2015.914