Additive manufacturing to promote bone reconstruction

Bone regeneration is frequently used in dentistry, particularly when teeth are replaced with implants. A new R&D project looks at developing a complete production line for these implants through additive manufacturing.

In dentistry, the simple extraction of a tooth leads to a significant resorption of alveolar bone on which the tooth has been implanted; consequently bone reconstruction is required before the implant is inserted. The use of biomaterials for the regeneration or preservation of bone is a reliable treatment option, while a bone graft is more risky. But the biomaterials available on the market present certain significant drawbacks: limited capacity to self-support, extended healing/consolidation time and limited performance.

A project known as Bioptos, that commenced at the end of 2016, aims to bring to the market a new generation of "smart" biomaterials that will significantly fix the drawbacks thanks to micro and macro biomimetic designs and new production techniques: additive manufacturing, synthetic bioceramics with superior properties, digitally optimised properties and controlled porosity.

Within this context, Sirris is involved in the development of the formulation for the bioceramic material. It is bringing its knowledge of additive manufacturing to optimise the production parameters in order to make this material suitable for industrial use on stereolithographic type machines. It is also involved in the development of product design to fully exploit the potential of additive manufacturing.

Supported by 2 manufacturers - Wishbone and Cerhum - Bioptos also has, on the Sirris side, 2 research units at the University of Liège: the Biomechanics Research Unit (Biomech) and the dental Biomaterials Research Unit (dBRU). The new solutions developed will be promoted to the benefit of patients by both industrial partners, with contribution from international experts in the field and promise to make an impact on the dental market.

This project is financed by the Walloon Region (Marshall BioWin) over a period of 4 years.

(Photo above: Bioceramic printed part with a specific structure to promote bone recolonisation)