What role will additive manufacturing with metal have on the dental implant industry? Dr. Les Kalman at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is investigating that question.
Kalman has developed and patented a dental implant abutment system (Patent No. US 9,408,677 B2), but the research was stalled due to the inconsistencies and poor quality of the medical device fabrication. That problem looks to be resolved through additive manufacturing. Kalman’s team has collaborated with ADEISS, who utilize Renishaw 3D printers, for the design and production of the device in dental-grade Titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) for testing.
The research, in vitro testing and validation of a 3D printed titanium Tempcap for dental abutment systems, will assess the torque and strength of the device for a future clinical assessment (partners are welcomed). Complimentary to the 3D printing process, all devices will have post-processing, including: 1-final thread tapping for pronounced thread geometries, 2-heat treatment for relieving thermal stresses and strengthening, and 3-bead blasting for a smoother finishing. The current investigation is being conducted with the support of a Schulich IRG, ICOI Implant Dentistry Research & Education Foundation Grant and the Schulich Summer Student Research Program. The intellectual property remains with Research Driven, a corporation that Kalman co-owns.
The device, termed Tempcap, resolves many issues with current abutment systems and provides an affordable and accessible platform for individuals with financial constraints. Previous research has compared the device to standard abutments and explored both a chairside and digital workflow.
The research will be featured at the ICOI World Congress in Las Vegas, at the GNYDM in NYC and at the 3D Medical Conference in the Netherlands.
Kalman commented: ‘The Tempcap abutment provides implant dentistry with another accessible option to clinicians and patients, while 3D printing may provide the implant industry with an alternative leaner approach for manufacturing’.