This College Student 3-D Printed Orthodontics to Fix His Crooked Teeth

This College Student 3-D Printed Orthodontics to Fix His Crooked Teeth
Source: AP
Source: AP

If you didn't know by now, 3-D printing is the answer to absolutely everything ever. So given the paralyzing prices of orthodontia, it makes sense that Amos Dudley, a 24-year-old digital design student at New Jersey Institute of Technology, 3-D printed his own Invisalign-type devices to straighten his teeth. 

"I had an amazing realization last year — I wasn't smiling, and it was because I was unhappy with my teeth," Dudley wrote on his blog in March. "By avoiding smiling, I was dampening my own potential for spontaneous happiness!"

Read more: Goldfish Gets Tiny Goldfish Braces on Its Tiny Goldfish Face

He took matters into his own hands. "It probably only worked in large part because of luck and good initial conditions," Dudley told NPR. "But if there's an idea you have, you just have to try it out." Even if that idea is DIY dentistry.

Source: Giphy

He started with a bag of internet-ordered putty and "pretty much just read the instructions on the back of the bag" to make a mold of his teeth, he told NPR. Dudley translated the physical impression to the computer using a laser scanner, and then used calculations to project how his teeth would need to move. Finally, he 3-D printed those models and, by "melting thin sheets of plastic" over them, made roughly 12 aligners, according to NPR.

"I basically would wear them between one and three weeks each," Dudley said. "I sort of knew to stop wearing a retainer when they no longer felt like they were exerting pressure on my teeth."

NPR spoke with an orthodontics professor, who cautioned against homemade orthodontics for the non-technically gifted among us, saying "decay or bone disease" in Dudley's teeth could have derailed the endeavor.

As it stands, though, the college student seems to have saved big bucks on a better smile, and now he has a job at a 3-D printing company. He wins.

Source: Giphy

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.

Senate bill would make it a federal crime to boycott Israeli settlements

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) would make it a felony to support international efforts to boycott Israeli occupation.

3 takeaways from Jon Huntsman’s nomination as ambassador to Russia

Huntsman may be a steady hand on the wheel — but with little direction and Russia expertise, Trump's nominee has a challenging road ahead.

Hundreds expect to be arrested during D.C. health care protests

One organizer said "600 people or so" had signed up to be arrested.

The truth about what cycling in the Tour de France does to your body

Is that normal? Let some experts explain.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Here’s what to know about Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia.

The former Utah governor comes to the position with ambassadorial experience — and a fraught history with Trump.