Researchers at the University of Buffalo have 3D printed dentures which can be used to deliver drugs when needed. This is ideal for those who are highly susceptible to infection, particularly the elderly, disabled or hospitalised patients.
Generally, those who wear dentures face side-effects of fungal infections that can cause swelling, inflammation and redness in the mouth. This condition, called denture-related Stomatitis, affects about two-third of the denture wearing population in the US.
These 3D printed dentures come with microscopic capsules that periodically release Amphotericin B, an antifungal medication.
The team at the University at Buffalo who created these 3D printed dentures performed several tests to confirm its utility. It found that these dentures can reduce fungal growth much more effectively than currently used treatment methods like antiseptic mouthwashes, microwave disinfection or baking soda. The team also bent the 3D printed denture to discover their breaking point. Though its flexural strength was one third less that of conventional dentures, the 3D printed teeth did not fracture.
“The major impact of this innovative 3D printing system is its potential impact on saving cost and time,” Praveen Arany, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor at the Department of Oral Biology at the University at Buffalo says.
Unlike regular dentures which take a minimum of a week to make, this latest 3D printed denture can be made within a few hours of getting the imprints, not to mention the additional benefit of preventing infection whenever they are in use.
The applications to this invention can also be applied to other therapies like stents, casts, splits and prosthesis.
The researchers are now focusing their attention on reinforcing the mechanical strength of these 3D printed dentures with carbon nanotubes and glass fibres, so that the dentures can maintain a proper fit always.
"The major impact of this innovative 3D printing system is its potential impact on saving cost and time”
- Praveen Arany