From left: Dr Zhang Guangyu, Peter Peng (industry partner from Prexton Pte Ltd), Dr Sun Ling Ling, Lau Joo Kiang, Liu Zhonghong and Ng Jie Lin.
Now, Here’s More Reason to Smile…
by Vimala Christie
Soon, thanks to a team of research scientists from the Temasek Microelectronics Centre (TMC) in TP, dental crowns and bridges will be produced within a shorter time, at a lower cost and with higher accuracy.
The team, led by Dr Zhang Guangyu, consists of Dr Sun Ling Ling, Chong Ngai Yeen and Lau Joo Kiang from TMC, together with Dr. Liu Zhonghong, and Ng Jie Lin from the poly’s Digital Fabrication and Additive Manufacturing Centre (DFAMC), they worked with industry partner, Prextron Pte Ltd, to develop a method of using 3D printing to fabricate dental crowns and bridges.
Funded by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and Tote Board, work on this project began in January 2017. The project is phenomenal as it is the first time that research on manufacturing dental crowns or bridges using the latest 3D printing technology is being done in Singapore.
With this new method, 3D printed crowns are expected to cost 20 per cent less and can be ready in just four hours, compared to traditional methods which would take three to seven days!
This much faster turnaround time is possible because of the use of a 3D scanner, which is employed to scan the teeth and create design data which will be used to produce a mould to shape the exterior porcelain form and an internal metal form which will be attached to the damaged tooth. The technology employed will narrow the margin for human error, resulting in a more accurate fit.
Presently, the team is in the process of informing hospitals and dental clinics about their work, and hope to see their product being used commercially by the end of next year.
From left: Neo Chun Hui, Zainularifin Mas'ad, Chan Jun Leong and Sheikh Abdullah Helmi Banafe
Sharing in the excitement of being part of this ground-breaking project are four final-year Diploma in Mechatronics students.
Neo Chun Hui, Zainularifin Mas'ad, Chan Jun Leong and Sheikh Abdullah Helmi Banafe, did their internship at TMC, and spent six months working with the research scientists, fabricating dental crowns using 3D printers. The group cherished the experience as they have learnt much more than they could ever imagine!