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3d printing in dental surgery is something that's changing the world of dentistry forever in more ways than one. Even as 3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacture of tangible products right in the home or a business, how it's shaping dentistry is just as significant. In the exacting business of dental surgery, it's helping even more so based squarely on using the old-fashioned method of image scanning.
Printing the Skull for Better Dental Surgery Insight
Through the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, it's been reported that a new printer has been designed that prints 3D models of the skull for maxillofacial surgeries. By doing a complete head scan, a 3D image of a person's (or pet's) skull can be placed into a CAD 3D program and then printed out in perfect detail.
This kind of startling technology is just an example of what 3D printing is doing now in creating internal body parts. With some printers already being used to print human organs, printing internal parts of the body for study is still a whole new level of shock and awe. Now that a person's skull can be printed as a 3D rendering, complex dental surgeries are going to become much less complicated.
Other Benefits to Dental Surgeries
Even with the ability to print the skull, 3D printing can also print the upper and lower layers of our teeth to get better insight into any dental surgery needing to be done. When dealing with complicated dental surgeries due to injury, it can help determine how close injuries might affect the brain. It also determines details in jawbone reconstruction and what the exact outcomes will be based on the 3D models being printed at real size.
Better Communication with Patients
While it might create interesting reactions at first showing a patient a 3D model of their skulls or teeth, it can help them get a better understanding of the surgery they'll have. This enhances a better sense of communication between the dental surgeon and the patient. Plus, the patient gets a more profound understanding of their own body that's never been made available before. It ultimately creates better outcomes while saving time on the recovery process.
As UC Davis above points out, this 3D scanning and printing technology was ironically developed already in the 1980s. It just hasn't been made on the open commercial market until recently. This was reportedly due to patents expiring and opening the field for other industries to finally use it. Regardless, it makes one wonder how the world could have changed already 25 years ago had this 3D technology been available then for the dental industry.