3D printing is changing our manufacturing process and impacting the medical and dental professions greatly, and changing our way of life in the same way the Internet has changed the way we communicate with others. In this blog, I’m going to briefly explain the current technologies in dental and oral implants and the limitations and shortcomings of those current technologies. Then, I’m going to go over how 3D printing will resolve the problems associated with such limits and shortcomings.
Current dental implants are titanium alloy posts in different lengths, widths, and shapes. They are implanted into patients’ jawbones and help support crowns, bridges, and removable prosthesis to replace missing teeth so that patients can gain good aesthetics and function. After they reach their forties, most people lose one or more of their teeth, which require replacement through crowns and bridges. However, when patients do not have enough bone in the sites where implants are intended to be placed, bone grafting procedures are used to increase the bone volume.
Patients undergo two or three surgeries and have to wait about one year before they get the replacement of their missing teeth. All four, five, or six teeth is designed for full arch replacement, where four to six implants are placed in the patient’s jawbone to support the fixed bridge replacing all the teeth in the patient’s jaw. Teeth in a day or all on four is not intended for one tooth or multiple teeth replacement, unless it is full arch replacement, which results in extracting perfectly healthy teeth to qualify patients for receiving teeth in a day or all on four treatment. Also, teeth in one day, in most cases, requires an enormous amount of bone reduction in the upper jaw to hide the transition line between the upper prosthesis and the patient’s gums to make the prosthesis aesthetically acceptable. The oral hygiene is very difficult under the fixed prosthesis and requires patience and dexterity.
By using 3D technology to manufacture titanium alloy, I developed a new technique to replace missing teeth and bypass the problems that exist with the current oral implant techniques. I will custom design the dental implant based on a CT scan of the patient’s jaw. Then, I will add to the conventional implant post components to protect the bone graft materials from collapsing and provide additional fixation to the implant so that immediate function and aesthetics are obtained, with a much better prosthetic outcome by utilizing single crowns as a prosthetic option and avoiding bridges at the same time.
This will result in better function, hygiene, and aesthetics than what current technology is offering to patients. The bone grafting and oral implants are done in one visit, so there is no need for additional surgeries and patients can finally enjoy their teeth the same day of the implants’ placement.
With this innovative technology, the patient has no more need to worry about extracting good, healthy teeth to get teeth in a day. No more bone reduction to hide the transition line between the prosthesis and the gums; in fact, the opposite will happen, where favorable, missing anatomies will be reproduced to create a new and healthy smile that could have never been attained with past or current technology.