3D PRINTING - THE NEW WAY TO MAKE IMPLANTS?

With an estimated 50% of the population at risk of gum disease (periodontitis), and resulting gum recession, there is increasing interest in dental implants.

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With an estimated 50% of the population at risk of gum disease (periodontitis), and resulting gum recession, there is increasing interest in dental implants.

Improvements to implant technology is also on the increase and now the latest technology to be employed is 3D printing.

The latest in printing technology is being used extensively in healthcare for prosthetics, hearing aids, surgical guides and tissue engineering.

It is not just plastics and polymers that are used as the base material but doner cells, ceramics and metals too.

Implants are usually made from titanium with increasing interest in the use of ceramics as the basis for implant technology. As the implant replaces the function of the tooth root providing the foundation for the post and crown it needs to be strong, resiliant and non-reactive to the body.

3D printing is also being used for making new teeth (crowns) which can be crafted on a computer screen and then printed off for individual use. For the moment the high cost of the machinery means that it is predominantly the R&D departments within universities that have access to them but past practice tends to show that we can probably expect this to fall as the demand rises.



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