The picture above looks like a genuine set of teeth and gums right?  Wrong, the incredibly realistic model was created by a 3D printer.

The device that created the printer, the Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer was on display at the International Dental Show in Cologne.

Using triple jet technology, it can print the jaw and teeth in the same print job using different material. The precise shade and colour can be selected to ensure it looks lifelike.

The stone models it prints are designed for use by dentists and dental technicians. The material replicates the different texture of teeth, gums and nerves, and can be used for testing implants like crowns and fillings before they are fitted,  using information from a digital scan of the patients teeth. This ensures an accurate fit for the patient and saves time.

3D printed teeth

[Related story: 3D printing explained]

Stefan Remplbauer, general manager of 3DMedicalPrint, an Austrian company that creates plastic models of body parts for medical use, is pleased with results from the printer.

“We are using the Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer to produce realistic 3D printed gingiva (gum) masks and models we couldn’t do before. We have not had 3D printed dental models that so closely resemble the actual teeth and gums,” he said.

Objet260 Dental Selection 3D Printer

The advantage 3D printers’ offer is that they can produce one-off products to exacting specifications – such as the part of a woman’s skull. Although the teeth and gums above are to help dentists practice, we wonder in the future if 3D printers will be able to produce false teeth?