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With 3D-printed guides, dentist visit no more a drill

M SOMASEKHAR Hyderabad | Updated on January 10, 2018

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A visit to the dentist is a trip most people want to avoid. However, technology is making things easier for the patient. One recent technique that is speeding up surgeries, with better results, is the 3D-printed surgical templates.

According to K Mahendranadh Reddy, Chairman, Indian Council of Prosthodontic Research: “We can customise 3D-printed guides which allow the dental surgeon to carry out the procedure with precision in the identified location, ensure safety by limiting the access to protect neighbouring blood vessels and tissues.”

This leads to better predictability and results as the entire process is first thought through while creating the surgical guide. These tools have become key for dental surgeries, especially for inserting implants which require intricate work.

The guide helps in ensuring maximum aesthetic outcomes while limiting the depth of the drill as well as implant,” he told BusinessLine.

According to Reddy, the traditional method involved making a mould using dyes of the affected portions and then making the implant with selected material.

The 3D printing technique allows the creation of a working model through digital analysis of the CT/MRI scan and customises the implant with the most suitable material and prints it. There are over 200 material options available to the dentist from silicon to plastic, he said.

Getting cheaper

With the number of firms getting into 3D printing increasing and the range of materials for implant expanding, the cost of the entire procedure is coming down, said Reddy, who is also the Secretary of the Association of Asian Prosthodontics.

He recently delivered a lecture on the subject organised by the Indian Dental Association - Deccan Branch as part of its continuing education programme.

He said: “The surgical guides are also becoming popular in spine surgeries where surgeons face difficulty reaching the specified area without impacting the nervous system. Similarly, in orthopaedics, especially in knee and hip replacement surgeries, as cutting guides and for complex fractures involving difficult orientation of the bones.

The number of dental surgeons practising the procedure is growing in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Indian companies like Think 3D and Germany-based global major Nobel Biocare, provide the latest techniques and 3D printing machines. The technology is making waves globally with rapidly increasing applications from industrial to medical and a wide range of products.

Published on September 08, 2017

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