Using 3D Printed Teeth for a Bacteria-Free Mouth

Using 3D Printed Teeth for a Bacteria-Free Mouth

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF GRONINGEN, GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS. A team developed an antimicrobial plastic that can be used in printing 3D teeth. This is a great innovation since existing implants can actually create more maintenance expenses due to bacterial damage. This new method can also get rid of foul-tasting plaster casts and even dirt.

Andreas Herrmann of the University of Groningen and his team developed an antimicrobial plastic that can be used in printing 3D teeth. In the US, millions of dollars are spent to repair or maintain dental implants. This innovation can save patients a lot of money when it comes to their oral hygiene.

An antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts were ingrained by the team inside dental resin polymers. Since the salts are charged positively, they break up the negatively charged bacterial membranes that shatter and die in the process. The new material can kill bacteria on contact. In addition to that, they are not harmful to human cells.

The team lodged the mix in a 3D printer and hardened it with ultraviolet light. Then, they printed different dental objects like orthodontic braces and false/replacement teeth. They coated samples of the material in a mix of Streptococcus mutans (a bacterium that causes tooth decay) and saliva. The result was promising since the material killed over 99% of the bacteria. That was better compared to less than 1% for a controlled sample that did not have the salts.

More research and tests will be done to check if plastic is durable enough as a tooth replacement. The team will need to extend the samples in saliva and bacteria mix for more than 6 days. They also need to check the compatibility of the material with commercial toothpaste. Once these concerns are resolved, this new material can be rolled out to patients.

Invention Using 3D Printed Teeth for a Bacteria-Free Mouth
Organization University of Groningen
Researcher Andreas Herrmann & Team
Field(s) Advanced Functional Materials, 3D Printing, Dentistry, General Medicine
Further Information https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28353-3d-printed-teeth-to-keep-your-mouth-free-of-bacteria/

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

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