Digital technology is transforming the way in which craniofacial prostheses are created. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software has progressed along with high resolution scanning technology to design securely fitting, mechanical retained and functional prostheses in all manner of situations. Further to this, modern additive manufacturing techniques such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM) allow complex 3D geometries to be created which were, until now, impossible to be machined by destructive techniques.
Additive manufacturing is just one of the many techniques which is transforming the way in which restorative dentistry is carried out. The hybridisation of new, stronger resin based materials with aligned, fibrous scaffolding is resulting in prostheses which last longer, are more comfortable and more affordable than current dentures. The close nature with which the group works with both industrial partners and the NHS trust allows these new prostheses to be tested in-vivo.
The human face provides a significant part of our identity as individuals, and events that alter our appearance can therefore have a dramatic impact on our confidence and self-esteem. The Bioengineering & Health Technologies Group is pioneering exciting new research directed toward the development of implantable scaffolds that will enable surgeons to recontour the bones and tissues of the face during reconstructive surgery. This is an area of significant strategic interest to our research group as well as others in the School and our clinical partners in the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.