Australian man gets a 3D printed titanium prosthetic jaw

Medical devices can be difficult to produce, due to the small size and intricacy of the parts. Medical news is some of the most uplifting of all the 3D printing applications, because longstanding problems are being solved with high-quality solutions offered by this expanding technology.

While some methods – such as using a combination of 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies have been used to create a variety of 1:1 replicas for surgeons to study prior to a complex surgical procedure – are becoming increasingly common, other applications for the technology are still in their infancy. More recently, the technology was used to create a 3D printed jaw prosthesis for a 32-year-old Australian man; a first for the country.

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Image source: 3ders

The man, Richard Stratton, was born with a rare deformity that has made chewing food incredibly painful – particularly over the past few years. Born without a joint on the left side of his jaw, the deformity hadn’t caused any function-based problems for the majority of his life. 

“I had always had a tilted jaw and a crooked smile – my family used to joke about it,” he said. “But in the past couple of years I started to get horrible pain on the opposite side of my face – all the muscles started tightening up and I couldn’t open my mouth wide.” After a series of headaches and sharp, stinging pains in his mouth whenever he chewed, he knew it was time to go have it looked at. 

In late 2014, Stratton went to see a dentist who recommended taking an X-ray to take a closer look. It was here that Stratton realized he had been living his life all this time with the deformity and was a candidate for a 3D printed jaw prostesis. 

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