Title: 3307 - 3D Printing Artficial Teeth Using X-Ray Microtomography Techniques


Alexander Cresswell-Boyes (Presenter)
Queen Mary University of London

Asa Barber, London South Bank University
Amo Tatla, GlaxoSmithKline
David Mills, Queen Mary University of London
Graham Davis, Queen Mary University of London


Objectives: To 3D print accurate artificial teeth using data collected from X-ray microtomography (XMT), that mimic the properties of extracted teeth.

Methods: Extracted and artificial teeth were imaged by the in-house XMT system at Queen Mary (MuCAT-2) at 90kV and 40kV respectively, to create detailed high contrast scans. The reconstructed datasets are viewed in Drishti, where both internal and external meshes can be exported to 3D modelling software (Meshlab) for modification before exportation into a slicing program (Cura). After appropriate parameter setting, the printer deposits material in specific locations layer by layer, creating a 3D model. Microhardness indentation was carried out (Vickers) to map the hardness of both extracted and artificial teeth.

Results: High-resolution scans of teeth were produced, which is easily converted into a modifiable 3D model. Scans were trimmed to remove excess material, to ensure a clean model was produced, material layer height can be altered to reproduce the high resolution. A multi-material print was produced to show the difference between the physical characteristics of enamel and dentine (polylactic acid and thermoplastic elastomer). The hardness data showed a significant difference (P= >0.05) between extracted and artificial teeth (Table 1).

Conclusions: The study has demonstrated a way to use XMT to create high-resolution scans and print a replica, using an open-source method. The 3D modelling process allows for modification giving the desired product. The models proved that it was possible to use a cost-effective 3D printer and produce from XMT data, physical 3D models. MuCAT-2 system has a resolution of 13μm, however, the printer used has a maximum resolution of 50μm, so the high definition was not captured within the models. Hardness testing provides a comprehensive data, which will be vital in future material testing.


Type of Tooth Enamel Hardness (Hv) SD Dentine Hardness (Hv) SD
Extracted 326.2 ± 9.67 92.6 ± 2.84
Artficial 50.9 ± 0.56 49.8 ± 0.23
Artificial (3D Printed) 45.7 ± 0.13 40.7 ± 0.57

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source:

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE