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The dentures are printed using acrylamide. (Credit: Douglas Levere)

Researchers have turned to 3D printers, using the machines to build dentures filled with microscopic capsules that periodically release Amphotericin B, an antifungal medication. A study describing the work found that the drug-filled dentures can reduce fungal growth. Unlike current treatment options, the new development can also help prevent infection while the dentures are in use.

The technology allows clinicians to rapidly create customized dentures chair-side, a vast improvement over conventional manufacturing that can vary from a few days to weeks. Applications from this research could be applied to various other clinical therapies, including splints, stents, casts and prosthesis.

Researchers printed their dentures with acrylamide, the current go-to material for denture fabrication. The study sought to determine whether these dentures maintained the strength of conventional dentures and if the material could effectively release antifungal medication.

To test the strength of the teeth, researchers used a flexural strength testing machine to bend the dentures and discover their breaking points. Although the flexural strength of the 3D printed dentures was 35 percent less than that of the conventional pair, the printed teeth never fractured.

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