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The evolution of rapid prototyping in dentistry: a review

Abbas Azari (Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Removable Prosthodontics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Sakineh Nikzad (Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Removable Prosthodontics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 29 May 2009




The goal of rapid mechanical prototyping is to be able to quickly fabricate complex‐shaped, 3D parts directly from computer‐aided design models. The key idea of this novel technology is based upon decomposition of 3D computer models data into thin cross‐sectional layers, followed by physically forming the layers and stacking them up; “layer by layer technique.” This new method of modeling has raised many attentions in dentistry especially in the field of surgery and implantology. The purpose of this review study is to represent the historical development and various methods currently used for building dental appliances. It is also aimed to show the many benefits which can be achieved by using this new technology in various branches of dentistry.


The major existing resources, including unpublished data on the internet, were considered.


Although, creating 3D objects in a layered fashion is an idea almost as old as human civilization but, this technology has only recently been employed to build 3D complex models in dentistry. It seems that in near future many other methods will develop which could change traditional dental practices. It is advisable to include more unit hours in dental curriculums to acquaint dental students with the many benefits of this novel technology.


It is hard to believe that the routine dental techniques were affected by revolutionary concepts originally theorized by engineering methods. It is a reality that in future, most of the restorative disciplines will be fully revised and the computer methods be evolved to an extent where dentistry can be performed by computer‐assisted methods with optimum safety, simplicity, and reliability.



Azari, A. and Nikzad, S. (2009), "The evolution of rapid prototyping in dentistry: a review", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 216-225.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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