Researchers at the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) and Nanyang Technological University have developed a 3D printed scaffold to grow bone for placing dental implants following a tooth extraction.
The research has been conducted by dental surgeons and bioengineers over the past five years and could potentially eliminate the need for bone grafting. Following the initial research, the new material is expected to be rolled out in around three years, after the second trial with 132 patients is completed. Currently it has been successfully tested on seven patients.
The scaffold is 3D printed from porous synthetic material so new bone cells will attach to it in order to form enough bone structure for the implant to be placed. This method is supposed to be more effective than bone substitutes from animals and humans that are traditionally used.
Dr. Goh Bee Tin, Deputy Director of Research and Education at NDCS explains: “Bone substitutes take a long time to be absorbed by the body. In comparison, the scaffold is absorbed fully and much faster by the body, and is cheaper to make.”
The 3D printed scaffold has been patented. The NDCS has teamed up with Signapore-based company Osteopore, that is focused on artificial bone replacements, for the fabrication of these scaffolds.