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3D Printing Has Potential to Impact Dentistry
April 2, 2016
Earlier this year, we reported on the efforts of a researcher, Dr. Shaochen Chen who has advanced the practice of bioprinting with printing tissue that mimics the function of a real human liver. Now, according to 3DPrint.com, a researcher in Australia has developed a technique that uses a patient’s own cells to engineer missing bone and tissue in the gums and jaw. Upon first glance, it may seem somewhat foreign to do this. However the technique actually mirrors contemporary practice whereby dental surgeons used bone and tissue from places like hip or skull for procedures.
The lead researcher for this practice is Periodontist Professor Saso Ivanovksi who has worked for the last five years to develop this technique. Under his method, patients would have a CT scan taken of damaged region of the mouth or jaw, and then the image would be sent to a bioprinter to make the new needed part. He believes by using this technique not only would it be more affordable (as travel and cost could be reduced for those living outside of cities) and would also involve less pain and other surgical after effects.
According to Ivanovski, "The cells, the extracellular matrix and other components that make up the bone and gum tissue are all included in the construct and can be manufactured to exactly fit the missing bone and gum for a particular individual."
With Ivanovski’s technique, it is anticipated that the cells would grow and successfully merge into the healthy tissue. By using the person’s own cells, it is more likely that these type of procedures would work in the end. His idea is the first of its kind in Australia and offers the medical community an "immediate solution to an immediate need". The potential of this new technique is overwhelming and for his idea, Ivanovski has been granted a $650,000 grant for a three-year study by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
It is the hope of researchers to start clinical trials for bioprinting dental procedures within the next year or so.