NJIT Student 3D Prints Own Orthodontic Aligners
By Prasanna Tati, copy editor
Amos Dudley, an NJIT student in the College of Architecture and Design, designed and printed twelve sets of orthodontic aligners to straighten his teeth. He mentions on his blog that he was not smiling much, because he was unhappy with his smile. As a college student he mentions that he did not have enough money to be able to easily pay for professionally made braces at an orthodontist. So like any college student looking to save money, Amos wanted to try to straighten his teeth with the resources he had.
He decided to see if he could hack the process and create his own set of aligners. The idea came to him when he was looking up images of aligners and saw one that had striations similar to those found on 3D printed objects.
He first took a mold of his teeth to see where he could change up the alignment and used a process similar to the one used by orthodontists to set up a plan consisting of twelve progressive aligners. Dudley used the various resources available to him as a student at NJIT, including exclusive computer programs and the 3D printers themselves, which design students frequently use.
Initially, Amos mentions that he was unsure of how the process would go as he was no professional and this was his first time trying out the project. The most exciting part of his project, Amos says, was when he wore his first aligner for the first time. “It was very obvious which tooth [the tray] was putting pressure on,” he said. “I was sort of worried about accumulated error, but that wasn’t the case so that was a pretty glorious moment.” Dudley is currently on his last aligner and exclaims that he likes the improvement.
When asked if he would ever commercially produce these aligners after receiving multiple requests on his blog, Dudley says, “No, there’s too much of a liability.” He even warns his readers, “Do not attempt anything written here; I assume no liability for any actions you take to modify your body.”
CNN Money and various other news outlets have reached out to Amos and written articles about him; these articles are circulating all throughout social media as students proudly exclaim that innovating ideas from fresh young minds are being developed by students at NJIT.