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Octopus-Biology Dentures

Gradations of 3-Printed plastic, plus suction power
  [vote for,

One of the mysteries of nature, solved just a few years ago, involved the mouthpart or beak of the ordinary octopus. This is the hardest substance in the animal's body, and it is the ONLY hard substance in the animal's body. Any hole that the beak can fit through, the entire octopus can fit through. But how is that beak attached to the octopus, such that it doesn't rip directly free from otherwise-soft tissues? See the squid-beak link for details; the answer applies to the octopus, too.

The Idea here is that we apply that answer to the realm of denture-manufacturing, and do it inexpensively by using 3D printing technology, in the following generic way.

First we laser-scan the patient's mouth, to determine the precise shape the dentures need to be, to fit perfectly. Dentures are traditionally expensive because each has to be unique; every mouth is different in its fine details.

Next, we feed that data to a 3D printer, with a very soft plastic as its "stock" for making stuff. For the purposes of this presentation, I'm going to talk about tenth-millimeter increments, in terms of layers of plastic --3D printers can actually make things using finer layers than that, and in practice we might really need to do denture-manufacturing with finer layers.

The first layer, with that very-soft plastic, is the layer that will directly contact the gums in the mouth of the patient, and which must fit perfectly on one side. (This layer might need to be thicker than 1/10 mm; more on this later.) On the other side, we can start to balance-out the bumps and depressions.

The next layer uses a slightly harder plastic, and of course must fit the first layer precisely, but doesn't need to fit the gums of the patient. We can even-out the bumps and depressions some more.

Repeat for a few more layers, of increasingly-hard plastic. We should now have a pretty-even layer, upon which to build the teeth of the dentures.

Using the hardest plastic of the sequence, all the layers needed to construct the teeth are built up. When done, the overall denture construction can be removed from the printer, cleaned, and the patient might be able to start wearing it immediately.

Note that one of the other features of octopus biology is the "sucker", of which there are very-many on its tentacles. This very-soft biological substance can firmly grip things, and the design of the sucker was the inspiration for human devices that, for example, are attached to toy darts and shot from toy guns (link).

If that first perfectly-fitting layer of softest plastic, in the construction of these dentures, is pliable enough, it should be able to vacuum-stick to the gum-regions of the mouth without need of any ordinary denture adhesive.

Vernon, Jun 20 2015

Squid and octopus beaks http://scienceblogs...ogical-engineering/
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Jun 20 2015]

Toy dart gun https://slm-assets0..._004.jpg?1379178483
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Jun 20 2015]

Liquid 3d printing http://www.ted.com/...ting_was_25x_faster
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 21 2015]


       Learn something new everyday. Bun.
RayfordSteele, Jun 20 2015

       This could, possibly, work. What you've got going for you is the fact that the teeth are constantly getting pressed against the gums when biting. So, even though the suction effect will leak, it'll be pressed back into place with each bite.   

       I think the only problem would be if you kept your mouth open for a while - the suction would leak, and your teeth might fall out.   

       The other problem would be wear and tear on the soft layer. Conventional denture glue (I think) effectively plays the part of this flexible layer, but is replaced daily.   

       Better yet - dental implants.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 20 2015

       Incidentally, the squid's beak is actually formed from what were once ear-bones (evolutionarily speaking). This is a curious evolutionary turn, since the mammalian ear-bones evolved from what were once jaw-bones in our reptilian ancestors.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 20 2015

       It made me laugh, the thought of an intermediate creature rushing around snapping at prey with it's ear hole. This of course is very human centric thinking.
wjt, Jun 20 2015

       Wearers are not going to be expected to fit through any space their teeth can, will they?   

       I've begun spending money on implants. Good thing I didn't buy a house.
normzone, Jun 20 2015

       With the newest 3d printing [link] you wouldn't need layering. The mesh from rubbery to solid would feel much more natural.   

       \\the squid's beak is actually formed from what were once ear-bones (evolutionarily speaking). This is a curious evolutionary turn, since the mammalian ear-bones evolved from what were once jaw-bones in our reptilian ancestors.\\   

       Hard to tell if you're pulling-a-leg or not, but I find it fascinating that our enlarged braincase supposedly came about because of an early hominid born, (nurtured until sexually able, and then reproduced) with a malformed jaw which became a dominant trait.
With modern humans there is a direct correlation between people experiencing temperomandibular joint syndrome and tinnitus resulting in an intermittent or constant ringing in the ears.

       ...just things that make you go hm   

       //Hard to tell if you're pulling-a-leg or not// How d'you think I feel? Half the stuff I say to myself is bollocks, and it takes for ever to figure out which is which.   

       //things that make you go hm// I always thought tinnitus was more high pitched than that.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 21 2015

       Naw, you're thinking of Cricket.   

       //First we laser scan the patient's mouth// Second, we do an ultrasound scan to determine where the bones are.   

       What differentiates this idea from how dentures are manufactured now ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 22 2015


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