• Biocompatibility and mechanical/physical properties of 3D printed, milled, and conventionally processed denture base materials

      Ulmer, Mallory; Biomedical Sciences (Augusta University, 2019-12)
      According to the American College of Prosthodontists, over 36 million people in the USA are edentulous with a 2:1 predilection for geriatric patients1. Each year, an estimated 15% of edentulous Americans will seek denture treatment1. Conventional dentures require multiple visits and lab processing time. 3D printing technology offers the potential to reduce the number of appointments and speed up the time until patient rehabilitation. However, the newly FDA-certified 3D printer denture resins, featuring secretive and proprietary formulae, lack studies concerning their biocompatibility/safety and mechanical strength. This study aims to investigate the biocompatibility and physical properties of one such 3D printer resin, NextDent® Base (Vertex, Soesterberg, The Netherlands), and compare it to pre-existing conventional polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) denture base (Lucitone 199, Dentsply Sirona, York, Pennsylvania) and milled PMMA denture base (IvoBase CAD®, Ivoclar Vivadent AG, Schaan, Liechtenstein). The cytotoxicity was examined using of 12 discs: conventional PMMA, milled PMMA, as-printed 3D printer resin, post-cured 3D printer resin, and Teflon controls. An MTT assay using human periodontal ligament (900L) cells was employed, and specimens were aged for 1, 3, 7, 10, and 14 days. After day 7, there were no statistically significant differences among the groups, excluding the Teflon control, which showed significantly less cell viability on day 14. Bars of conventional PMMA, milled PMMA, as-printed 3D printer resin, and post-cured 3D printer resin were subjected to a 3-point bend test to examine flexural strength and moduli differences. The mean flexural strength was 63.8 ± 3.06, 82.6 ± 1.9, 5.1 ± 0.4, and 22.1 ± 6.4 MPa, respectively, while the flexural moduli were 1757.3 ± 109.5, 2226.7 ± 76.3, 110.3 ± 20.3, and 537.0 ± 210.6 MPa, respectively. The flexural strength and modulus were significantly different among all groups. Weibull analyses for conventional PMMA, milled PMMA, as-printed 3D printer resin, and post-cured 3D printer resin revealed a Weibull modulus of 23.5, 42.8, 16.6, and 3.7, respectively, and a characteristic strength of 65.2, 83.5, 5.3, and 24.5 MPa, respectively. The characteristic strength was significantly different among all groups as well. The Weibull modulus was significantly different between all groups, except for conventional vs. as-printed, which were not significantly different. In summary, milled PMMA featured significantly greater mechanical properties. Both 3D printed groups proved to be very weak, with the as-printed group being the weakest of all. The differences between the as-printed and post-cured groups highlight the importance of properly post-curing the resin. While the biocompatibility results showed promise, the mechanical testing results were disappointing. Unfortunately, the findings suggest that 3D-printed denture base resin is not yet ready for clinical use.