This is a super cool story … but definitely falls into the category of don’t try this at home!
Twenty-four year old college student, Amos Dudley, realized one day that he wasn’t smiling much. He was happy enough, but it turns out he was self-conscious about his crooked teeth — enough to smile less.
As with most college students, money is an issue so getting thousands of dollars of braces wasn’t an option. Plus, his family had already spent thousands of dollars on braces for him that he admits he didn’t maintain properly. (We’re sure there’s a lesson in there! 🙂 )
So while he was searching online for an alternative solution, he came across photos that he realized looked a lot like what he could 3D print at his school’s hi-tech 3D printer — something he knows a lot about and has access to.
Dentistry on the other hand … not so much!
He consulted a few orthodontics text books, ordered some dental putty online to make a model of his teeth, and started printing.
And it worked!
National Public Radio (NPR) did a story on Dudley and his invention and asked orthodontics professor Dr. Richard Bloomstein his thoughts on all this. Dr. Bloomstein was both shocked and impressed.
He told NPR, “Did it work as well as an orthodontist might have done it? Maybe.”
But he added, “Certain things are not a bargain, even if they’re cheaper.” For example, “I would not look for bargains in parachutes. Likewise, bargains in health care.”
And while Amos Dudley admits that luck was also on his side, he has since received a lot of offers of money and business opportunities to help straighten others’ teeth this way. He’s declined and is sticking to his field — digital design.
Thanks to his ingenuity, creative problem solving and his story going around, he got a job offer with a 3-D printer manufacturer after they heard about what he did!
A better smile … and a job when he finishes college. Win/win!
You can see how he did it at his blog here .