3D Printed Dental Dentures to Fight Fungal Infections

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Scientist developed novel 3D printed dentures that release medication at regular interval of time to prevent fungal infection leading to inflammation, redness and swelling in the mouth

Researchers used 3D printed dentures for treatment of denture-related stomatitis using the machines to build dentures filled with microscopic capsules that release Amphotericin B, which is an antifungal medication. The technology helps to customized dentures chair-side that can vary from a few days to weeks. The research could be applied to various other clinical therapies, including splints, stents, casts, and prosthesis.

Researchers printed their dentures with acrylamide, the current go-to material for denture fabrication. The study sought to determine if these dentures maintained the strength of conventional dentures and if the material could effectively release antifungal medication. To test the strength of the teeth, researchers used a flexural strength testing machine to bend the dentures and discover their breaking points.

Although the flexural strength of the 3D printed dentures was 35% less than that of the conventional pair, the printed teeth never fractured. To examine the release of medication in the printed dentures, the team filled the antifungal agent into biodegradable, permeable microspheres. The microspheres protect the drug during the heat printing process, and allow the release of medication as they gradually degrade.

To examine the efficiency, dentures were tested with one, five and 10 layers of material to learn if additional layers would allow the dentures to hold more medication. The researchers found the sets with five and 10 layers were impermeable and were not effective at dispensing the medication. Release was not hindered in the more porous single layer, and fungal growth was successfully reduced. Furthermore, the team is working on improving the mechanical strength of 3D printed dentures with glass fibers and carbon nanotubes.

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