A student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and 3D artist, Amos Dudley had braces in elementary school, abandoned his retainers, and watched his teeth drift back into the position they were in prior to braces. Dudley found a way to create his own version of Invisalign braces by using additive manufacturing and a 3D scanner. Dudley explained that as a college student with no money, he was the prime candidate for this type of DIY orthodontics experiment.
Following a visit with a dentist who informed him that he would be a great candidate for Invisalign, he saw a photo that showed an aligner with something that appeared to resemble layer striations from a 3D printer. Dudley was intrigued by this photo and decided to do some research.
He stated that the thought of paying thousands of dollars again for braces that he previously had and ruined seemed absolutely crazy. Dudley was motivated by the fact that he could straighten his teeth at virtually no cost. After a challenging research stage, Dudley designed a mold of his teeth with the use of alginate powder that could be purchased at an art supply or online on Amazon. Next, he placed the mold into an upside-down yogurt container and filled it with PermaStone in order to create a casting.
By scanning the casting, Dudley produced a digital model for several aligners that were each meant for teeth that were positioned in different ways. He then printed the models with a 3D printer and produced plastic aligners to fit these models with some help from a vacuum form machine. According to Dudley, the same plastic material that is seen at orthodontists’ offices was used.
Dudley has worn the aligners for 16 weeks and believes that they appear to be working. Although he is starting to notice some success and a few orthodontists let him know that he was very close to replicating the commercial Invisalign process, he recommends that others shy away from DIY aligners.
When looking to straighten teeth or fix any type of oral issue, it’s best to visit an orthodontist as DIY projects involving teeth are incredibly dangerous. While DIY projects are tempting because of the money savings they offer, trying to correct your own teeth problems can lead to gum recession, tooth root, and even the loss of teeth.
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