UTHSC College of Dentistry using 3D printers to make masks

Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 11:05 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The UTHSC College of Dentistry is using 3D printers to create filtration masks to battle the spread of COVID-19 in the Mid-South.

Hospitals and other healthcare providers, like dentists, have been facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE since the number of COVID-19 patients has started to rise.

“We were having difficulty obtaining the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) N95 mask,” said Jeffrey Brooks, DMD, executive associate dean and associate dean of clinical affairs for the UTHSC College of Dentistry. “The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery decided to get creative and to fabricate a mask that would allow us to use N95 or similar material to manufacture our own PPE, specifically masks.”

The college has been working to design maks that will allow the most production of masks in the shortest amount of time. Over 10 custom masks have been printed so far. With this design, the mask can be disinfected and the filter component can be replaced, according to the UTHSC.

UTHSC Dentistry says the masks have an airtight fit and are custom made for each provider. The masks will be used by the College of Dentistry faculty and residents who operate an emergency dental clinic at UT and serve children’s dental needs at LeBonheur.

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