3D printing in dental implant research

A dental student from the University of Maryland in the US is using 3D printing technology in his study which he hopes will lead to the creation of official guidelines on how to clean dental implants.

Steven Feldman, during a fellowship program at the American Dental Association Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center, needed to conduct tooth brushing tests on a typodont (a model of the oral cavity).

Due to the cost involved in producing a typodont with dental implants, Feldman came up with the idea to use a 3D printer to create an inexpensive but extremely accurate model of the jaw.

Mr Feldman then designed a computer program to measure the remaining plaque on the implant down to a pixel-by-pixel level.

The study was based on the notion that 85% of the plaque needs to be removed from an implant on a daily basis to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis.

guidelines for brushing dental implantsThree different brushes were tested: a standard toothbrush, a cross-bristled brush and a thin-bristled brush, at two different angles, 90 degrees and 45 degrees, with different strengths, from 150 grams to 600 grams of pressure.

The study showed that there was no significant difference in the amount of plaque that was removed by the three different toothbrushes, but that brushing at a 45 degree angle significantly removed more plaque than brushing at a 90 degree angle.

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