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Inside Dental Technology
April 2021
Volume 12, Issue 4

Printing Bone in Humans

Potential for a new dental implant protocol for osseointegration?

Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT | dalter@aegiscomm.com

For years, dental patients with compromised or missing bone in either their mandible or maxilla have endured bone grafting in an enhanced attempt to successfully osseointegrate dental implants and anchor them in dense-solid bone. These grafts were typically sourced from natural, synthetic, or cadaver bone, and each presented varying successes with regard to assimilating effectively to the patient's bone and oral cavity. "However, these grafts have high rates of infection and simply don't work if the bone material needed is too big," according to a recent research study.1

Consequently, according to the report, great efforts have been made to 3D bioprint bone in recent months, but differently than previously; this 3D printed bone material has the potential to print within the bone, rather than externally, and to subsequently be grafted. A team at the University of New South Wales in Australia, has engineered a ceramic ink that can be 3D printed with live cells and without the dangerous chemicals often associated with this process; the researchers are even claiming that it could allow the bones to be 3D printed directly into the human body. The end result is a bone replacement that the body did not reject.

Following the theoretical thought process, the same protocol can be applied easily in dentistry, specifically with implant-supported restorations. The researchers are even claiming this could allow bones to be 3D printed directly into the human body and therefore increase the assimilation and lessen the body's rejection mechanism. "In contrast to previous materials, our technique offers a way to print constructs in situ which mimic the structure and chemistry of the bone," study co-author Iman Roohani says. The researchers came up with ink that could be 3D printed into an aqueous environment that mimics the human body. Their ink takes the form of a paste at room temperature, but once put into a gelatin bath, it hardens into a nanocrystal matrix similar to the structure of real bone tissue.

Can you just imagine what this technology can provide the dental patient, clinician, and laboratory? Would this development increase dental implant case acceptance and accessibility? Theoretically, we could have superior bone, where dental implants can be placed with ease and confidently secured within a denser bone. What can that do for your implant restorative business? And how can a laboratory get involved and be at the cutting edge of these innovative advancements in dentistry? Every laboratory owner and manager should keep a keen eye on what may be coming down the way and how to best position their dental laboratory business to gain the greatest momentum and advantage.

It is my great honor and pleasure to elevate and inspire with knowledge.

Reference

1. Papadapoulos L. Researchers Could Soon 3D Print Bones Directly Into the Human Body. Interesting Engineering. https://interestingengineering.com/researchers-could-soon-3d-print-bones-directly-into-the-human-body. Published January 31, 2021. Accessed February 26, 2021.

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