Jun 15, 2017 | By Tess

A team of researchers led by Professor Luiz Bertassoni has demonstrated a novel method of improving root canal therapy using 3D printed artificial blood vessels. The innovative process could reduce the risk of fragile and brittle teeth after root canal surgery and help patients to keep their teeth fully functioning.

Root canal treatments, for those who have been lucky enough never to need one, are a laborious dental procedure in which an infected pulp and surrounding nerves are removed and the tooth is subsequently cleaned, filled, and sealed with a rubber-like material.

Traditionally, however, the synthetic biomaterial that replaces the pulp, as well as the protective crown placed over it, can lead to more decay over time. Patients who have experienced brittle or even fractured teeth after a root canal procedure will be all too familiar with that reality.

Thanks to research coming from Bertassoni’s team, dentists could soon have a more effective method of treating root canals which would encourage root growth rather than incite decay. Luiz Bertassoni heads the Bertassoni Lab at Oregon Health and Science University as well as the Bioengineering Laboratory in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Recently published in Scientific Reports, the research paper details how artificial 3D printed blood vessels were used improve the results of root canal surgery. The process is based on previous research done by Bertassoni and partners which found a way to bioprint artificial vascular networks that closely mimicked the body’s circulatory system.

According to the research, Bertassoni’s team placed a fiber mold made of sugar molecules on the root canal, after teeth were extracted. They then injected a biomaterial consisting of protein-like materials and dental pulp cells. From there, the researchers removed the fiber to “make a long microchannel in the root canal,” in which they inserted endothelial cells, which work to filter out gases, fluids, and molecules.

The microchannels themselves were made using a special 3D printing technique. As the research abstract explains: “To fabricate the microchannels, 500 µm diameter 6% (w/v) sacrificial agarose fibers were prepared using a glass capillary fitted with a metallic piston inside, using a 3D printing-inspired method we have developed recently.”

Impressively, after just seven days, the research team found that dentin-producing cells were appearing in proximity to the tooth walls and that artificial blood vessels were forming inside the tooth. In other words, the tooth was regenerating.

“This result proves that fabrication of artificial blood vessels can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of the teeth," said Bertassoni. "We believe that this finding may change the way that root canal treatments are done in the future.

“This process eliminates the tooth’s blood and nerve supply, rendering it lifeless and void of any biological response or defence mechanism. Without this functionality, adult teeth may be lost much sooner, which can result in much greater concerns, such as the need for dentures or dental implants.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive