Professor, Department of Dentistry, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; Attending Doctor, Department of Stomatology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; Researcher, Department of Dentistry, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Three-dimensional printing has the potential for clinical applications, and additive manufacturing materials for dental use merit further investigation. OBJECTIVE : The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the properties of materials formulated with ethoxylated bisphenol A-dimethacrylate (Bis-EMA), urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA), and triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA) as 3D printing resins for ultraviolet digital light processing (UV-DLP) 3D printers and to characterize the mechanical and biological properties and accuracy of the printed objects. METHODS : Ten different light-polymerized resins were formulated using Bis-EMA, UDMA, and TEGDMA. Their viscosities were measured, and only 7 resins with viscosities lower than 1500 centipoise (cP) were selected for 3D printing and further material characterization. The light-polymerized resins were printed into representative shapes using a custom-made 3D printer equipped with a 405-nm UV-DLP projector as the light source. The printed specimens were subjected to biologic, mechanical, and accuracy tests, and the data were submitted to 1-way ANOVA and Tukey post hoc comparisons (α=.05). RESULTS : Photopolymerizable resins made of Bis-EMA, UDMA, and TEGDMA were successfully formulated for 3D printing to fabricate objects of various shapes and sizes. TEGDMA served as the diluent to reduce the viscosity and increase the degree of conversion, while UDMA and Bis-EMA provided strength as demonstrated by the mechanical testing. All the printed objects passed cytotoxicity testing. The flexural strengths of the printed specimens ranged between 60 MPa and 90 MPa; flexural modulus ranged between 1.7 GPa and 2.1 GPa; and surface hardness ranged between 14.5 HV and 24.6 HV. These represent similar mechanical properties to those of currently used clinical resin materials. In the accuracy test, the resin mixture composed of 80% Bis-EMA, 10% UDMA, and 10% TEGDMA had the highest accuracy, with a 0.051-mm deviation from the original design. CONCLUSIONS : Bis-EMA, UDMA, and TEGDMA are good candidates for the formulation of 3D printing resins for dental use. The printed objects demonstrated favorable biological and mechanical properties. Further, the accuracy of the printed specimens showed potential for clinical application.