Dental Treatment Evolving with Digital Technology (Part 2)
The first part: Can Digital Help Handwork? -The Near Future of 3D Dental Printers
A Time Will Come When Dental 3D Printers Will Assist Denture Production, which is the Work of a Master Denturist
Do you think dentures are a wonder? When removed from the mouth with fingers, what is merely a hard artifact serves as lost teeth and gums in the soft mouth. Why do good dentures work without coming off and damaging the inside of the mouth during complex movements such as chewing food or speaking?
The mouth contains jawbone and muscles under the mucous membrane. Dentures are made to conform to the shape of the muscles open and close the mouth and the form of uneven bone. Dentures for people who do not have teeth for clasps to stabilize the denture require the design that the part of the denture to rest against the mucosa absorbs the occlusion when they bite.
It is also necessary to create an occlusion that will not overturn but rather exert a force that will settle the denture when the patient bites down. Dentures are given a form for function, more than simply following the shape of missing teeth and gums.
Thus, when losing teeth due to periodontal disease or other reasons, the function of a missing tooth or gum is restored with a “denture.” An artificial tooth can include many different types, but we will explain how to make so-called “dentures” in this article.
Dentures are classified into two main categories based on whether any teeth remain. Full dentures (complete denture, full denture) for those missing all of their teeth are made of resin (plastic) or, in some cases, metal. They are held in the mouth mainly by suction cup-like forces, movement of the buccal mucosa and tongue, and the balance of the occlusion.
On the other hand, a partial denture (removable partial denture) for those with remaining teeth has an element of a full denture plus a complex combination of parts such as clasps that hang over the teeth and bars connecting the pieces.
Creating a partial denture requires academic knowledge, skill, and experience. It is also necessary for the cooperation of the dentist providing direct treatment, the national certified dental technician to spend a long time in the lab making the denture, and the patient who accepts the denture into their own mouth. Today, a decreasing number of dental technicians possess the masterful skills that support denture production. It has been pointed out that while slightly less than 50% of employed dental technicians are over 50 years old, the number of students enrolled in training schools is less than 1,000, about 1/3 of what it was 30 years ago¹）. What is in focus to compensate for this is 3D printer technology. Dentistry is often a field where methods originally used in industry, medicine, and other areas are converted. In particular, this technology has been developing rapidly in recent years, and development is ongoing.
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