The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: 3D printing small implants

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Additive manufacturing or 3D printing techniques offer many advantages in the development of small medical devices, including dental implants and small joint replacements. This project investigates computational and experimental tools for the development and pre-clinical analysis of small 3D printed implants.

Project Overview

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing techniques offer many advantages in the development of small medical devices, including the ability to create irregular geometries and complex surfaces, and to tailor structural properties. These techniques are of interest particularly for small medical devices, including dental implants and small joint replacements.

Tooth cross section

Dental implants represent an established treatment for patients with partial or complete tooth loss. Current treatments dictate that a root form implant is placed in the jaw with an adjoining abutment and prosthetic crown. Modern dental implantology is driven by increasing patient expectations regarding aesthetic outcome and treatment time. Innovation in the areas of material technology, implant design, surgical planning and healing protocols are all driven by the developing patient expectations. With a rapidly evolving and growing implant market it is important that the correct tools are available to develop and analyse the next generation of dental implants.

Canine visualisation

The project intends to develop and extensive toolset for dental implant design and analysis. The toolset will be based upon existing analytical methodologies developed within the Bioengineering Science Research Group for large orthopaedic joints. The methodologies include statistical analysis of dental anatomy, structural finite element analysis (FEA) of implant-bone constructs incorporating adaptive bone remodelling simulation and mechanical testing incorporating full field strain measurement techniques.

Funding has been secured from the technology strategy board (TSB) and industrial partner Aurora Medical Ltd. through a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) to launch this project.

Associated research themes

Biomedical Engineering

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science

Staff

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