Today’s society is focused on looks and appearance, it is unfortunately but it is a fact that millions of kids aren’t happy with the way they look. One particular aspect that is often worked on is teeth, thanks to dental braces it is possible to make anyone’s teeth nearly perfect. Of course that improvement comes at a fairly significant cost that many parents can’t afford for their children. Fortunately a clever college student may have made an incredible breakthrough that could bring the price of braces down significantly.
Amos Dudley, a 24 year old student at New Jersey Institute of Technology, decided he wanted to do something about his crooked teeth. Thanks to a little bit of ingenuity and access to a 3D printer at school, Dudley was able to print a very accurate mold of his teeth. It didn’t take much work or time according to Dudley, and from there all he had to do was make a variety of insert-able braces out of plastic. He started out just trying some dental grade plastics, and after a few attempts he had something he was willing to try out on his own teeth.
Every month or two Dudley adjusted the mold, created a new set of braces, and wore them to continue improving his teeth. He started to see results very quickly and that is when he realized he was definitely onto something. Further research showed that many of the popular “invisible” braces companies were basically doing exactly what he did. Many dentists will take a 3D scan of the patient’s mouth, send it off to be printed, and then a company will create the braces just as he did.
After 16 weeks and many iterations of clear braces Dudley had a significantly straighter smile. He was happy with the look, happy to report that he had done it all himself, and was just happy to share it with the world. Perhaps his number one reason for smiling was the total cost. Dudley spent approximately $60 total for the entire process, which is significantly cheaper than the $5000 he had been quoted from a orthodontist. Dudley hopes that his efforts will be able to continue so he can help bring 3D printed models to local orthodontist and dentists in order to help drive costs down. Obviously it isn’t realistic for everyone to self administer braces themselves, but this could be a big step towards lower pricing.