This study examines the feasibility of modifying current dental material, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), for 3D printing of dental prostheses.
Major changes in manufacturing and health care are happening as a result of the technological advancements in 3D printing.1The availability of more sophisticated and cost-effective instruments and better materials has helped reduce manufacturing time, turnaround times, and costs, making this a viable alternative to conventional dental labs.2,3
3D printing is already revolutionizing clinical care in the dental field. Examples of this include fabrication of custom surgical guides, orthodontic appliances, investment parts and temporary crowns among others. These devices are fabricated with readily available industrial polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA).
By determining the feasibility of utilizing a current dental material, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), after modification for 3D printing of dental prostheses, cost reduction and turnaround time for patients compared to conventionally made or milled dentures may be possible. Although commercial PMMA filaments are available, they are currently not optimal (color, durability) for routine dental materials. Furthermore creation of these devices may be suitable for advancements in smart materials applications. 4,5
Under the Limitations of this study:
These results indicate the feasibility of combining digital imaging (CAD/CAM) and 3D printing as an economical technique with and rapid turn-around to generate routine dental prostheses.