We’ve reported before on the impact of 3D printing on dentistry and although research and development is ongoing there is another innovative step in the battle against tooth decay.

Scientists at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, have melded an antimicrobial substance into an artificial tooth. What makes this particularly special is that the tooth can be printed out on a 3D printer.

So we have the prospect of custom-made teeth with the property of actively preventing the build up of dental plaque in the mouth.

The printer uses dental resin polymers with quaternary ammonium salts as the active anti-microbial ingredient. In the laboratory the artificial tooth was coated with human saliva and then exposed to the main bacteria responsible for causing dental decay. The tooth killed 99% of the bacteria with no adverse effects on human tissue.

Currently, we are still some way away from human trials but if these happen and are successful then we are looking at a very different way of looking after artificial teeth. It’s prospects look good and in theory it should take a lot less time to develop than a new drug.

Header image: “RijksUniversiteit Groningen – University of Groningen” by Fruggo – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RijksUniversiteit_Groningen_-University_of_Groningen.jpg#/media/File:RijksUniversiteit_Groningen-_University_of_Groningen.jpg