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Exploring Teeth in a 3D Model Reveals More than You Think

Angel Sosa


Exploring Teeth in a 3D Model Reveals More than You Think

As with all medical fields, dentistry requires highly accurate modeling in order to create prosthetics and supporting oral health devices. While dentists have embraced digital 3D X-rays in completing diagnostic work, alginate-based dental molds are still the norm in the profession. The reason for this is simple: 3D-printed molds still weren't as accurate as 3D-printed models, therefore they were not useful in creating prosthetics, dentures, orthodontic devices, and veneers. But, the technology is quickly advancing and is now on-par with tray-and-alginate and plaster-modeling techniques. And, the cost of owning and operating high-resolution 3D printers is also falling each year, making them a practical consideration for most oral health professionals. 


Beyond creating molds, 3D printing is useful in diagnosing a range of oral health disorders that may not be so obvious in an X-ray. From the standpoint of radiologists, 3D printer-capable STL files created from multi=detector and cone-beam CT scans can alter the entire course of patient treatment. As recently reported by the medical journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, the first signs of many medical conditions may initially appear as oral health issues. These can include conditions such as periapical disease, pericoronitis, and hypogammaglobulinemia disorder. These are just a few of the many examples in which examining oral health and teeth in a 3D model is helping to transform the practice of dentistry. 


Mold of Teeth from 3D Model


There are a 3D-printing technologies available to dentists and all have their own advantages and disadvantages. But, in the coming years, it is expected that additive manufacturing techniques in dentistry (like other areas of medical 3D printing) will become the norm, not the exception. 


As a registered member of embodi3D®, you can practice using this emerging technology by downloading the many ready-to-print STL files available on the website. You can even upload and convert your own CT scans into STL files and utilize the latest democratiz3D® algorithms. Become a registered embodi3D® member, today!


#1. A Jaw from dental CT scan

This 3D printable jaw and maxilla was created from a CT scan.



#2 Creating 3D-Printable Teeth from a CT Scan


This excellent 3D model uploaded by Precision shows the normal anatomy of the jaws.



#3. Creating a 3D Model of the Upper Teeth with a CT Scan and democratiz3D®


 Rob LaRosa created this 3D model using the democratiz3D® service showing teeth. 



#4. 3D Printer-Ready STL Files of the Upper Jaw and Teeth

 Rob LaRosa created this 3D model using democratiz3D®.



#5. Anatomy of a Human Molar Tooth

This excellent 3d model shows the normal tooth anatomy. Enamel covers the crown, and a thin layer of cementum covers the roots. Dentin, a calcified matrix, lies between the enamel or cementum and the pulp chamber (P) or root canal. Cementum and dentin cannot be distinguished at imaging because they have similar mineralization. The pulp chamber and root canal contain neurovascular elements. Gingiva covers the maxillary and mandibular alveolar processes. In teeth with multiple roots, the space between the roots is called the furcation. Lamina dura, a thin layer of dense bone, lines the socket. The periodontal ligament (straight arrow) lies between the lamina dura and cementum.


#6. 3D Model of the Bony Maxilla, Mandible, and Teeth


Manufacturers have used 3D printing technology to create novel dental implants with a porous or rough surface. However, as a method for producing batches of complex dental implants, 3D printing has the ability to produce complex geometries, such as a bone-like morphology, which may not be produced by milling alone – although milling/machining may also be used to refine the printed form – for example, the implant platform.




#7. A 3D Model of the Upper Teeth in STL Format


JAWSDOC uploaded this 3d model that shows the permanent teeth.



#8. A CT Scan of the Teeth in STL Format


When interpreting multi-detector computed tomographic (MDCT) images, the radiologist may provide added value by identifying definite or possible dental lesions and referring the patient to a dental specialist for clinical evaluation and dedicated radiography or cone-beam CT, as necessary.


#9. A Craniofacial Model, Female 57 yo

Great model and print turned out great! This dual material craniofacial model was 3D printed for a customer. The print uses detailed white to represent the bones and detailed clear polished to represent the skin surface. 



#10. A great set of 3d printing teeth

This example was created with democratiz3D. Automatically create 3D printable models from CT scans showing the teeth ideal for maxillofacial pre-surgery.



Finally, we recommend some radiology articles about this topic:


1. Scheinfeld MH, Shifteh K, Avery LL, Dym H, Dym RJ. Teeth: what radiologists should know. Radiographics. 2012 Nov 1;32(7):1927-44.


2. Loureiro RM, Naves EA, Zanello RF, Sumi DV, Gomes RL, Daniel MM. Dental Emergencies: A Practical Guide. RadioGraphics. 2019 Oct 7;39(6):1782-95.


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