Here in God’s own country (Rule Britannia, God saved the Queen etc…), you may be able to have braces fitted to your sub-par teeth free of charge on the ol’ NHS. In the Land of hope and glory (‘Murica!) it’s a different story…
You have to shed out thousands of dollaridoos for a clear clear, orthodontic retainer. That’s why twenty-three-year-old Amos Dudley had gone viral.
The college student grew up with braces but still failed to maintain his teeth. With that, he was left with a crooked smile that he definitely wasn’t happy with. But Amos isn’t made of money, he can’t just get a retainer – so what was he going to do?
Make one with the help of a 3D-printer! Duh.
“What is to stop someone, who has access to a 3D printer, from making their own orthodontic aligners?” writes Dudley on his blog. “Turns out, not much!”
Naturally he had to do a lot of tooth-related research. Dudders started by taking a mould of his mouth to create a cast. He then scanned the mould and went on to use software to digitally model the progression of his teeth towards his planned goal.
He then used the 3D-printer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology to print off the 12 models he created. Then, using a vacuum former, he created the retainers for each model stage using special dentist plastic he bought from eBay. The reason he couldn’t just print off the retainers instead was that they wouldn’t sit right and the plastic would not be sufficient, allowing bacteria to grow.
“These have to sit in the mouth without breaking down or releasing toxic chemicals, so the quality of the plastic is important,” Dudley explains.
He’s been wearing the retainers day and night 24/7, only taking them off to eat. So far it’s a huge success.
(He also had a shave)
“As far as I know, I’m the first person to have tried DIY-ing plastic aligners. They’re much more comfortable than braces, and fit my teeth quite well. I was pleased to find, when I put the first one on, that it only seemed to put any noticeable pressure on the teeth that I planned to move – a success!” he writes. “Most importantly, I feel like I can freely smile again.”
But before you get carried away, Amos isn’t reccomending that you do it yourself and he definitely won’t be creating any more for other people any time soon. There’s a reason it take 10 years to become an orthodontist, after all…
But yeah, to us novices it looks like he’s done a good job but, SERIOUSLY, don’t take my word for it. I’m just someone who writes sarcastic articles on the internet…
What do you think? Would you try it (Don’t)? Let us know in the comments!