3D PRINTING IN PROSTHODONTICS
Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology was first demonstrated in 1986. Additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and solid freeform technology are synonymous to 3D printing. The primary step in 3D printing is to obtain anatomical scans using imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT). The image from these modalities are then saved in a standard format such as Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and later with the help of computer-aided design (CAD) software, virtual 3D prototype with Standard Tessellation Language (STL) can be created. Final step is 3D printing and deposition of the material layer by layer to achieve the final structure. Various printing techniques used are fused deposition modelling (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), inkjet bioprinting, extrusion bioprinting and laserassisted bioprinting. The created virtual 3D prototype can be printed using the appropriate technique and the printed object is subjected to post-printing modifications to obtain the final product. 3D printing has made the process of fabricating a prosthetic nose or any other body part as easy as pressing the print button. Polyjetmultimaterial printing technology in the production of maxillofacial prosthesis allows for not only exemplary digital reproduction, but can actualize complex color combinations, simulating skin pigmentation, besides adjustable mechanical properties, to obtain the tactile feel of human tissue. Additive manufacturing techniques are found to be used for scaffold production in tissue engineering also. Application of 3D printing in the field of maxillofacial reconstructive surgeries are obtaining highly precise anatomic prototype models to aid in preoperative planning and improve postoperative facial symmetry, virtual planning and printing of pre-contoured grafts and plates to revamp surgical outcomes and reduce operating time, provide high-accuracy and life like prostheses that can enhance the aesthetics and psychological status of patients and also for surgical planning and training.
Dr.Adhershitha AR, Assistant Professor, Department of Prosthodontics,
Government Dental College, Kottayam.