Artificial teeth have several advantages in preclinical training. The aim of this study is to three-dimensionally (3D) print accurate artificial teeth using scans from X-ray microtomography (XMT). Extracted and artificial teeth were imaged at 90 kV and 40 kV, respectively, to create detailed high contrast scans. The dataset was visualised to produce internal and external meshes subsequently exported to 3D modelling software for modification before finally sending to a slicing program for printing. After appropriate parameter setting, the printer deposited material in specific locations layer by layer, to create a 3D physical model. Scans were manipulated to ensure a clean model was imported into the slicing software, where layer height replicated the high spatial resolution that was observed in the XMT scans. The model was then printed in two different materials (polylactic acid and thermoplastic elastomer). A multimaterial print was created to show the different physical characteristics between enamel and dentine.
Lay Description: Objectives Trainee dentists practice procedures using artificial teeth that are far from real teeth. Using x-rays and 3D printing technology the project will recreate a real tooth, artificially. Methods X-rays produce a 3D image that can be printed out as a physical replica, after several conversions of files. Different settings can be used to allow the printed model, to be as accurate as possible. Data were collected on the forces from a dental drill on a tooth’s surface, to measure hardness and resistance. Results Multiple teeth replicas were printed with a high accuracy. The materials printed did not mimic actual tooth properties, but using the data from real teeth, materials can be tested in future.