3D bioprinting is showing great promise for the future of dental surgery.
With the recent partnership between two Singaporean institutes, the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the focus has been on research for dental surgeons. The key areas of research have been bone bioengineering and 3D bio-printing. With deep expertise in both areas, the NTU has plans to open a 3D printing research center next month.
One of the key studies has been the 3D bioresorbable scaffolds, used to assist and promote bone growth around dental implants after jaw repair from cancer or other trauma. Once a tooth is extracted, there is bone loss, making dental implants an often difficult task to complete. The 3D printed “scaffolds” are used to promote bone growth in the area, instead of having to graft bone from other parts of the patient’s body.
Once the bone grows, the 3D printed scaffolding will be absorbed by the body and implants will be more successful. The process will also reduce the amount of pain patients endure, as well as the length of recovery and the amount of surgeries needed.
The second research project will be the study relating to 3D bioprinting of human tissues, used in cases such as jaw replacements or reconstructive surgery. This project will identify and develop ways to print oral tissues.
The research partnership will have $1 million in funding for the collaborative research projects over the next three years. A $500,000 contribution by NDCS is supported by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), while the other $500,000 is from NTU.