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The current method of molding teeth, especially primary teeth, cannot accurately reproduce internal tooth structures. Therefore, there is a need for primary teeth to be made anatomically accurate on-demand with the ability to customize a model for specific patients. This project aims that any tooth extracted digitally from a Dental Cone Beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan of a child's mouth can be 3D printed into an accurate replicate with which dental students can practice. Constraints include viable materials that can be printed by a 3D printer, represent tooth anatomy and provide desirable mechanical properties compatible with the dental drilling operation. A free software (ITK-SNAP) was utilized to translate the CBCT scanned DICOM file into a format usable by a 3D modeling program. The target tooth was separated from its surrounding gingival and bone tissues, and a smoothing algorithm was applied to the tooth profile. The 3D model was then printed on a high resolution inkjet 3D printer (Objet Eden260VS) with UV curable materials. The 3D printed primary teeth successfully reflected the internal tooth structures, e.g. pulp chamber and root canal, which enable dental students to perform tooth preparation similar to that on a real tooth. In addition, the team also designed a mounting thread on the 3D tooth model to assemble on a typodont. This process will have significant impacts on the dental eduaiton. Dental schools can now provide their own tooth models on-demand, much quicker, and anatomically more accurate than current standards for just a fraction of its cost.

Publication Date



Mechanical and nuclear engineering, 3D printing, CBCT scan, model, primary tooth


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Hong Zhao

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

William O. Dahlke

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

3D Printed Teeth: Anatomically Correct Primary Replicas