Cl A/Prof Goh Bee Tin and Dr Matthew Lau were awarded the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and Duke-NUS Oral Health Academic Clinical Programme (ORHACP) Clinical Innovation Support Programme Grant respectively.
National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster Grant (NAMIC)
Prof Goh and her team are developing a 3D-printed, biodegradable scaffold for patients needing dental implants. The scaffold will be infused with the patient's fat stem cells to increase bone regeneration, decreasing the time needed for implant placement.
Patients who have had their tooth extracted will usually experience shrinkage in their jaw bone. To preserve its shape before inserting a dental implant, patients typically undergo bone graft surgery - where a bone from the patient's own chin, jaw, skull or hip is removed to replace the gap in the tooth socket. Depending on where the bone was harvested from, post-surgery recovery takes between five and 14 days. Post-surgical complications include pain, swelling, infection and rejection of the donor's bone.
Bone substitutes from cows and pigs and freeze-dried bone grafts have been used as replacements but it is ineffective. It also subjects them to small risks of disease transmission and developing a negative immune reaction; and may be unacceptable for certain religions and cultures. Replacing these materials with a 3D printed, biodegradable scaffold will remove the need for patients to go through the invasive bone graft surgery and shorten the overall treatment time from extraction to dental implant insertion.
Clinicians will be able to customise the shape of the 3D printed biodegradable polycaprolactone-tricalcium phosphate (PCL-TCP) scaffold to fit their patients. The fat stem cells, which are harvested from the patient's mouth using the Adiprep® system, will then be infused into the scaffold to enhance bone regeneration.
Once commercialised, the team hopes to make this technology available to both local and international public and private dental institutions.
Project Team Members:
Duke-NUS Oral Health Academic Clinical Programme (ORHACP) Clinical Innovation Support Programme Grant
Dr Lau and his team are developing a chamber for the safe disinfection of dental impressions. The team was awarded $50,000 to develop a chamber that disinfects contaminated dental impressions using a type of ultraviolet disinfection technology - short-wavelength ultraviolet light-emitting diode (UV-C-LED). The proposed disinfection chamber will provide healthcare workers who handle the impressions, an efficient and safe disinfection process; as the current chemical agent used - 1% sodium dichlorolsocyanurate (NaDCC) solution is associated with chronic toxicity. The team hopes this new technology will upgrade the infection control strategies in clinical dentistry and benefit the Singapore healthcare sector and beyond.
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