THREE DIMENSIONAL PRINTING IN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

Female nurse looking at patient while adjusting IV machine for chemotherapy in hospital room

I do not have a 3D printer in my office yet. Many of my dental colleagues are using CAD-CAM milling of crowns which is the opposite, but similar technology. We have used off-site manufacturers of 3D molds for various applications. Our guided surgery templates up to this point are largely made of acrylic, but not printed. The place where this technology seems to have significant application will be printing prosthetic replacements for body parts in trauma and cancer reconstruction cases. (2016 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 0278-2391/15/0141 6-0).

Many times we do not know what the contours will be until we are in surgery and have removed diseased, injured, or pathologic tissues. The ability to print a replacement out of a bone replacement material such as a biological ceramic is very exciting. Another great clinical application that we could use today would be the printing a semi rigid absorbable mesh material to hold a bone graft for dentofacial reconstruction. This could replace titanium mesh which, in our present procedures, has to be removed after a period of bone healing.

The challenge is to grow these technologies in a way that delivers the best care and without it costing too much. I applaud the continued work that is being done in these areas.

If you have questions, call Wagner Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Specialists at (262) 634-4646 to learn more.