A New Device for In Situ Dental Biofilm Collection Additively Manufactured by Direct Metal Laser Sintering and Vat Photopolymerization

Pernille Thestrup Rikvold, Karina Kambourakis Johnsen, Dirk Leonhardt, Andreas Mollebjerg, Signe Maria Nielsen, Lea Benedicte Skov Hansen, Rikke Louise Meyer, Sebastian Schlafer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Dental biofilms are complex medical biofilms that cause caries, the most prevalent disease of humankind. They are typically collected using handcrafted intraoral devices with mounted carriers for biofilm growth. As the geometry of handcrafted devices is not standardized, the shear forces acting on the biofilms and the access to salivary nutrients differ between carriers. The resulting variability in biofilm growth renders the comparison of different treatment modalities difficult. The aim of the present work was to design and validate an additively manufactured intraoral device with a dental bar produced by direct metal laser sintering and vat photopolymerized inserts with standardized geometry for the mounting of biofilm carriers. Additive manufacturing reduced the production time and cost, guaranteed an accurate fit of the devices and facilitated the handling of carriers without disturbing the biofilm. Biofilm growth was robust, with increasing thickness over time and moderate inter- and intraindividual variation (coefficients of variance 0.48-0.87). The biofilms showed the typical architecture and composition of dental biofilms, as evidenced by confocal microscopy and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Deeper inserts offering increased protection from shear tended to increase the biofilm thickness, whereas prolonged exposure to sucrose during growth increased the biofilm volume but not the thickness. Ratiometric pH imaging revealed considerable pH variation between participants and also inside single biofilms. Intraoral devices for biofilm collection constitute a new application for medical additive manufacturing and offer the best possible basis for studying the influence of different treatment modalities on biofilm growth, composition, and virulence. The Clinical Trial Registration number is: 1-10-72-193-20.

Original languageEnglish
Journal3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Pages (from-to)1036-1045
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • additive manufacturing
  • confocal microscopy
  • dental biofilm
  • in situ model
  • pH ratiometry
  • vat photopolymerization
  • VIVO


Dive into the research topics of 'A New Device for In Situ Dental Biofilm Collection Additively Manufactured by Direct Metal Laser Sintering and Vat Photopolymerization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this