Get a 3D-Printed Jaw So You Can Eat Again

Remember children, if you do not take care of those ol’ chompers, you’ll have to live with badly conditioned teeth, gums, numerous surgical procedures and battling the evil disease of GIN-GA-VITIS!!!  Or…..you could always get yourself  a new pair of  the old incisors, canines, premolars, and molars from a freaking printer!! Last year, an 83-year-old woman in Belgium had her entire lower jaw replaced with a 3D printed replica.

The surgery was performed by doctors from the University of Hasselt, Belgium, as they replaced the woman’s original and terribly infected jaw with a 3D-printed titanium/bioceramic version. The 3D printer utilized to produce the jaw uses laser sintering, in which layers of titanium are stacked and built up, while a laser fuses the correct particles together. In the end, the whole print-out is then coated in ceramic in order to make it compatible with body tissue, and weighs only 3.7 ounces — just 1.0 ounces heavier than an actual lower human jaw.

It should be noted that receiving a jaw replacement is nowhere close to a pleasant experience.  Also, when you consider the age of the patient (83-years-old; now you don’t have to look/scroll up the page), this conventional surgery was very  risky, plus it involved a trial and experimentation to create and surgically install a 3D-printed jaw. Despite this, the operation was a success; the following day after the surgery, the lady was able to talk, eat, and swallow food.

Also…. ….because I can’t help myself.

[Thanks 3ders, BoingBoing, and De Pers & Sodahead for the pic and gif!]

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