3D Printed Jaw Bone – Truly Jawsome Technology

When home all-in-one printers first arrived on the scene, we were dazzled by the ease at which we could print out photos of our family, or the latest funny email we received from our crazy aunt. It’s 2012 now, and we’re quickly reaching that level of simplicity with a similar printing technology, but with one major difference. Instead of spitting ink onto paper, we can now “print” items such as artificial legs, clothing, and even human bones. It’s all thanks to 3d printing, a technology that’s rapidly dropping in cost, and that’s advancing with such rapidity as to actually be useful.

In the case of an elderly Belgian woman with a serious infection, this artificial 3d printed jaw was a life-saver. Created using a 3d printer and thousands of layers of powdered titanium, this lower jaw is perfectly matched to the patient. The doctors simply created a model in a computer, and printed it out. Not only was this technique significantly faster than classical methods, but it was also safer. Unlike traditional replacements, the 3D printed jaw was treated with a bioceramic coating compatible with the patient’s own tissue. This lowers the risk of rejection significantly, and more important, “bioceramic” just sounds cool.

3D Printed Total Lower Jaw Replacement

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What did you think of the video? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? The jaw does look a bit like something pulled from the scraps of a Terminator, but is that really such a bad thing? Given the severity of the woman’s ailments, I’m sure she’s thrilled to be part machine. If 3D printing technology is advanced enough to create a working human jaw, I’m excited about the prospects for the future. Imagine a world in which – at the very least – we can print common household items at will. The face of manufacturing would be forever altered.

If you’re looking for more information, the company that developed this technology is called LayerWise. You can read more about the procedure and their various technologies on their official website.

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Chad

I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

3 comments on “3D Printed Jaw Bone – Truly Jawsome Technology”

  1. I remember when years ago they only could do this using soft plastic to print 3d models of things. Really has come a long way and u got wonder when will get to the point of being able print actual body parts like in the movie 5th element or print things just by reading a dna strand. On a side not there’s a episode of the tv show Bones where they use this tech to print a whole life size skeleton that’s amazing to watch even if is just special effects.

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  2. It’s like the replicator in Star Trek, when Dr. Crusher made I new spinal column for Worf! Now all we need is a 3D printer that can make Earl Grey! 😉

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