Brace Yourselves

A crafty college student prints his own clear braces, saving thousands in orthodontist bills.

Looking to reduce the cost of orthodontia for yourself or your family? You may be able to 3D-print your way to a better smile.*

That’s what one college student did when he realized his teeth had shifted from their once-corrected position. Amos Dudley, a digital design major at New Jersey Institute of Technology, hadn’t kept up with his retainers and noticed he wasn’t smiling as straight as he used to. He decided to use his skills and access to a high-end 3D printer at school to print his own clear aligners. After creating a mold of his teeth, the clever student figured out where he wanted his teeth to be and the design for each tray based on the recommended distance a tooth can travel per aligner.

Now I don’t advise people without the proper training go out and DIY something as important as teeth, but it’s a really cool story about what can happen with creativity, education and a 3D printer. Dudley is very clear that he will not create clear braces for others and also does not recommend that people do what he did. "I'm not interested in orthodontics,” said Dudley. “It was more of a hacker project than making a business out of this."

*Just kidding, do not try this at home.

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