Dr Mohammed Al Redha displays the ultra-lightweight 3D printed prosthetic leg. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Visitors to several clinics in Dubai will soon no longer have to gag and choke when having gummy impressions made for extensive dental work.

Thanks to new 3D scanning and printing technology, patients who need dentures, crowns, or braces can have an impression of their teeth made by a non-invasive scanner.

The scanning wand, which is operated by the dentist, is waved around in the mouth for one or two minutes — a painless process that maps out a 3D impression onto a computer programme.

The impression is then sent to a 3D printer, which can make up to 18 resin moulds in six hours. In contrast, a single traditional plaster mould would take up to two hours for a professional to make.

“Patients will greatly benefit from the use of this technology,” said Hamda Mesmar, Director of Dental Services Department at the DHA. “It helps in better patient outcomes as well as it substantially reduces waiting time and cost of care.”

The technology will be rolled out within weeks at around 11 health centres operated by the DHA, which was showcasing the technology at the Arab Health forum in Dubai.

Light leg

The emirate’s main health care body also showed off a new technology it will soon offer in Dubai — an ultra-lightweight 3D printed prosthetic leg.

The leg, which is made in Germany, costs far less than a traditional sculpted prosthetic, and can be printed in just one day.

“The other benefit of this is that if you don’t like it, you didn’t spend a lot of money,” said Mohammad Al Redha, the DHA’s director of organisational transformation.

Printed prosthetics also allow for elaborate, colourful designs, he added.

The DHA hopes to start printing advanced prosthetic body parts in Dubai within the next decade.

“Using 3D technology for surgeries and other medical purposes is the future,” said Humaid Al Qatami, the director general of the DHA.

“We are currently working on developing regulations for 3D printing for patients and the medical sector in Dubai,” he added. “We are also looking at training doctors and health care professionals on the use of this technology.”