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Features / October 29, 2014

Cancer patient receives new teeth using 3D printing

by Guy Hiscott

Pictured above: three-dimensionally printed jaw model

A 41-year-old Indian cancer patient has been given a new set of teeth using a three-dimensionally printed jaw model.

After undergoing infrastructure maxillectomy surgery (removal of the upper jaw and palate), the patient’s nose and maxillary sinus to the oral cavity was exposed.

Following radiotherapy for six weeks he developed trismus (reduced mouth opening) due to radiation induced fibrosis.

Eating became a struggle as food went into his nose and maxillary defect. Speech and facial appearance was also severely affected.

The patient’s damaged teeth

Since the patient could not open his mouth, creating an accurate impression or preparing a mould or cast would have been ‘extremely difficult’, according to Deepak Raj, co-founder of df3d, a design factory for three-dimensional printing, and Osteo3d, a Bangalore-based company that specialises in three-dimensional printing for healthcare.

And so, a three-dimensional reconstruction of the patient’s face was made using a CT scan. Osteo3d printed the mandible and the maxilla with the defect and the teeth. The three-dimensionally printed jaw model was then used to make an impression to create an obturator.

After a trial run, necessary adjustments were made and an acrylic impression was taken.

A three-dimensional wax-up of the patient’s new teeth

Speaking to, Deepak said: ‘This was our first application for a maxillofacial application – a live case with a tangible benefit to the patient.

‘Incredibly, the device was as close to a perfect fit as they could have gotten, even with traditional techniques, improving the patient’s speech, swallowing, eating, smiling, and bone structure.

‘The patient is in good health and is able to lead his day-to-day life with no hassles now, thanks to three-dimensional printing.’

The patient after the procedure

Photos obtained with kind permission from df3d and Osteo3d.

Last updated: 29 October 2014, 14:04