Re: Dental uses for RP

Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 15:34:36 EEST

RP has many potential uses in dentistry, neurosurgery, plastics and oral and
maxillofacial surgery. I am now retired from the US Air Force, but during
the time I was the program director for the Graduate Prosthodontics program
in San Antonio TX we developed an integrated imaging and manufacturing
facility at the dental lab/hospital. Image data was from CT, MRI, a small
laser scanner and a laser scanner that could image the head and neck. In
addition we have an SLA 500 to create medical models. Our lab has two
titanium casting machines and a laser welder as well as an EDM machine and
Light Machines desktop mill.

RP can be used in many ways. The most common was to produce models from CT
data. We used Materialise software to translate CT to .stl files and found
the process simple and easy to train technicians to do. Generally, the models
were made on the SLA 500. These models are useful because you can see through
the material and can see internal anatomy such as boney defects. Frequently
this process was used to plan for the placement of dental impants. The SLA
process has important applications in that is can build objects with spaces
between the particles. This can be useful when trying to create replacement
for missing bone or to regenerate bone. In addition, with all the advances in
genetic engineering it will be possible to determine what type of tissue will
develop and where. Finally, we felt the Sanders machine had potential
because of the precision of the system. Many dental restorations must fit at
a 20-50 micron level to be acceptable. This is beyond the capability of any
PR machine on the market but with fitting techiques it is possible to use
Sanders parts for casting restorations.

Stephen M. Schmitt DDS, MS

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