Dentaltown August 2021 - 50

To reduce the contours, the impression
was scanned in a laboratory in a box
scanner (Fig. 18) and the entire base of the
prosthesis was created in a single piece of
printed resin with a virtual location for
the pupil. The iris was then hand-painted
and attached with cyanoacrylate (Fig. 19),
Fig. 16
and a soft-tissue overlay was then waxed
and processed conventionally. The added
space from the printed base and the use of
shadowing techniques in the borders of the
extrinsic coloration give the illusion of a
prosthesis that seats further into the eye
socket (Fig. 20).
Fig. 17
The future of digital prosthetics
I think we aren't far off from a touchfree
facial prosthetic where scanned facial
structures can be used to create digital
prosthetics that can be virtually tried onto a
patient. The approved patterns can then be
converted into a printed prothesis, colored
and delivered with minimal chair time.
Because the lifetime of silicone prostheses
is short-many last only a year before
requiring replacement-and because many
patients travel from hours away for treatment,
the ability to fabricate multiple duplicate
prostheses from digital images or scans is
a huge advantage.
But why stop there? The most important
Fig. 18
Fig. 19
application of digital technology in maxillofacial
prosthetics will be the printing of
resorbable 3D scaffolds for human stem cells.
Currently confi ned to lab experiments, the
use of digital scans and 3D printing will
allow us to replicate the form and contour of
a patient's missing oral and facial structures
in a bioresorbable structure that can be
used as a scaffold to grow a patient's own
skin, cartilage and bone. These lab-grown
replacements can eventually be grafted onto
a patient to reconstruct a defect or to replace
his or her prosthesis. It sounds like science
fi ction, but we are currently able to grow all
the individual cellular materials required,
and it will only be a matter of time before
we are able to re-create entire structures in
replicant anatomy.
I've heard some dentists joke that by
Fig. 20
inventing and using digital technologies,
we will soon put ourselves out of business,
but I think it actually goes the opposite way.
Clinging to old-fashioned treatments and
methods ensures our demise as a profession;
the adaptation and use of new technology
not only improves outcomes for our patients
but also ensures that dentistry stays relevant
as a medical specialty in the future. ■
Acknowledgment
The author thanks Andy Jakson, Colin
Chairmonte and the team at Evolution Dental
for their expertise in the scanning and printing
of the prosthetic frameworks.
50 AUGUST 2021 // dentaltown.com
http://www.dentaltown.com

Dentaltown August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown August 2021

Dentaltown August 2021 - Intro
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