Histo-anatomic 3D printing of dental structures

Br Dent J. 2016 Nov 4;221(9):555-560. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.815.


The creation of dental restorations with natural appearance and biomechanics represents a major challenge for the restorative team. The manufacturing-process of high-aesthetic restorations from tooth-coloured restorative materials is currently dominated by manual manufacturing procedures and the outcome is highly dependent on the knowledge and skills of the performing dental technician. On the other hand, due to the simplicity of the manufacturing process, CAD/CAM restorations from different material classes gain more and more acceptance in the daily routine. Multi-layered restorations show significant aesthetic advantages versus monolithic ones, but are difficult to fabricate using digital technologies. The key element for the successful automated digital fabrication of aesthetic anterior restorations seems to be the form of the individual dentine core as defined by dentine enamel junction (DEJ) covered by a more transparent layer of material imitating the enamel layer to create the outer enamel surface (OES). This article describes the possibilities and technologies available for so-called '4D-printing'. It introduces the digital manufacturing process of multilayered anterior teeth using 3D multipart printing, taking the example of manufacturing replicas of extracted intact natural teeth.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Dental Enamel
  • Dental Materials*
  • Dental Prosthesis Design
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent
  • Dentin
  • Humans
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*


  • Dental Materials