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New drug-filled 3D printed dentures can prevent fungal infections which causes inflammation, redness, and swelling in the mouth. In the U.S. nearly two-thirds of the denture-wearing population suffers frequent fungal infections.

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But now researchers from University at Buffalo have used 3D printing to develop dentures filled with microscopic capsules to treat these infections called denture-related stomatitis.  Thus novel dentures periodically release Amphotericin B, an antifungal medication.

Instead of polymers – currently used for denture fabrication – the new dentures are printed with acrylamide. The study found that these dentures have a great effect on preventing infection compared to traditional treatments such as antiseptic mouthwashes, baking soda, and microwave disinfection. The study was published in Materials Communications on Thursday.

Applications from this finding could also be applied to other clinical therapies including stents, prosthesis, splints, and casts.

“The antifungal application could prove invaluable among those highly susceptible to infection, such as the elderly, hospitalized or disabled patients,” said the study’s senior author Praveen Arany, DDS, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine.

For the study, the team of researchers filled the antifungal agent into biodegradable, permeable microspheres. The microspheres provide protection to the drug during the process of heat printing and enable medication’s release.

The research results unveiled that release was not hindered in the more porous single layer and reduction in fungal growth.

The major impact of this innovative 3D printing system is its potential impact on saving cost and time,” Arany said.