Researchers in Iran explain how medical imaging coupled with computer-aided design could be used to create a perfect-fit blueprint for prosthetic dentistry, whether to replace diseased or broken teeth and jaw bone. The blueprint can then be fed into a so-called 3D printer to build up an exact replica using a biocompatible composite material. Such technology has been used in medical prosthetics before, but this is an early step into prosthetic dentistry using rapid prototyping.
The technology involves,convert an MRI or CT scan into a prosthetic component requires milling technology. This carves out the appropriate solid shape from a block of polymer but has several disadvantages, uppermost being that it is very difficult to carve out a complex shape, such as a tooth. By contrast, rapid prototyping uses a 3D image held in a computer to control a laser that then “cures” powdered or liquid polymer. Almost any solid, porous, or complicated shape can be produced by this 3D-printing technology
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