With adult age, there might be dental problems that keep reoccurring and in some cases, the need for custom-made teeth replacements becomes inevitable to maintain an aesthetic appearance and smile. When it comes to dentures, there are two kinds, partial ones that are attached to existing teeth and can be worn to replace a couple of missing teeth and complete dentures which are made for the lower and upper part of the mouth when all teeth are missing.
Oral health professionals will tell their patients that it always takes time to get used to new dentures and wear them confidently, as they might feel like a foreign object at first. But there is also the risk of inflammation underneath the artificial teeth, which can be caused by ill-fitted dentures, a high sugar diet or poor oral hygiene such as night-time denture wear. As oral discomfort often continues to be part of life for many denture wearers, a lot of them will be relieved to hear that thanks to an innovative invention at the University at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine fungal infections due to not properly adjusted dentures might soon be history.
Dentures can be incredibly irritating as they sometimes rub against the gums and an unfortunate side effect can be redness, swelling and in the worst case even inflammation. According to recent studies, almost 70% of dental-wearing Americans suffer from this condition. Referred to as denture-related stomatitis, these common infections can turn into fungal infections if left untreated. In order to prevent these infections people commonly opt for various treatments such as antiseptic mouthwashes, denture cleansers or overnight soaking. But researchers from the University in Buffalo have used newest 3-D printers to come up with special dentures that contain tiny microscopic capsules of the antifungal medication Amphotericin B, making the dentures a lot smarter than the classic mouthpieces.
As the medication is sporadically diffused through a single porous layer in the dentures while they are in use, it is unnecessary to take them out for cleaning with above-mentioned disinfection treatments. The revolutionary dental work is said to be saving on medical cost and time as the customized dentures can be created almost instantly using the 3-D printing system compared to the classic denture, which can take days to weeks to be manufactured.
While still in the testing phase, the developers have used several acrylamides for their innovative dental solution, a material commonly used in most denture fabrication. But before the new invention will hit the market, further research will go into it, as the developers are still trying to reinforce the denture’s strength with the help of glass fibres and carbon nanotubes. They will do so by discovering the new denture’s breaking point by bending it with a test machine to attain the same strength as classic dentures. At present, more work is also put into the development of best denture relining for a proper fit and best performance of the innovative artificial teeth.
The method of 3D printing in clinical prosthetics is revolutionizing the market and developers hope that the approach can be applied to other clinical devices such as stents, valves and artificial joints. The new manufacturing process could have a major impact on the production process, as it is very cost-effective since there will be no need for lab fabrication anymore and the prosthetics can be fabricated in a clinic. Thus, the new technology allows creating customized dentures within almost no time.
The medical staff is also looking forward to the 3D dentures to enter the market since the new technology further allows digital backup files for easy duplication in case of loss or time wear.