3D printing is changing the face of manufacturing in the world, and now there is potential for it to impact those who wear dentures. Dr. Jason Lee, the inventor of the process, hopes that this innovative technology will make the denture production process quicker, more accurate, and more predictable.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo published a study in April 2018, testing the strength of 3D printed dentures, and looking at the potential for the material to carry anti-fungal medication. Nearly two thirds of the U.S. denture-wearing population suffers from frequent, painful, fungal infections in the mouth. The ability for dentures to carry medication would be valuable to those that are susceptible to infection.
In the study, the printed teeth did not fracture under stress tests. The anti-fungal agent was able to withstand the heat printing process and also allow the proper release of the medication. So far the studies are very promising, but further research is needed to continue to reinforce the strength of the material, as well as fine-tuning the amount of material that holds the medication.
The success of this study means that applications from this research can also be applied to other clinical therapies, such as splints, stents, casts and prosthesis.