Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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The Whole Tooth

3D prints from CT scans of teeth provide lifelike models for trainee dentists

23 August 2018

The Whole Tooth

Trainee dentists need plenty of practice but getting hold of real teeth for training purposes can be difficult. What’s more, using extracted natural teeth poses a risk of infection, and there can be wide variations in shapes and sizes. Although artificial teeth are available, made from various coloured resins that represent different components such as pulp or root, they don’t behave in the same way as genuine gnashers and aren’t well liked by students. Researchers are now developing ways of turning real-life imaging data from CT scans into lifelike 3D printed models like the one here, which are designed to more accurately reflect the structure, composition and properties of natural teeth. There’s more work to be done to develop the technique but given that nearly two thirds of dental procedures done by undergraduate trainees fail because they’ve had to learn with artificial teeth, let’s hope that they make it snappy.

Written by Kat Arney

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