3D Printing Has Come of Age But How Safe Are the Devices Going Into Our Mouth?

I commenced experimental research into the safety of 3D-printed devices at the time 3D Printing (3DP) was largely considered to be at a “proof of concept stage” in dentistry. I vividly remember how the technology was relatively unknown in my discipline when I arrived on the splendorous Gold Coast, 7 years ago to take up a lecturing position at Griffith University. It is against these backdrops that I would describe the recent hype and the desperate attempt by companies to diversify and innovate competitively as another milestone or perhaps a watershed in the dental specialism concerned with the design and manufacture of devices such as orthodontic splints (Fig.1), surgical guides, and dentures. While it is seemingly laudable that polymers and metals, which form the bulk of dental devices, can now be processed by 3DP, limited scientific evidence exists on their biological safety. It is, therefore, my intention to highlight some pertinent findings from my doctoral study that examined medically-approved photopolymers using the innovative zebrafish embryo model and analytical spectrometry.

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