One college student decided to skip the orthodontist this year, heading straight for the 3D printer instead. After feeling insecure about his smile, 24-year-old Amos Dudley decided to swap expensive, professional dental treatments for a little at-home dentistry-something professionals advise against. Still, Dudley’s risk paid off, and he ended up with the DIY smile of his dreams.
Dudley realized he felt self-conscious about his teeth last year. His insecurity was so severe, in fact, that he’d begun to stop himself from smiling. “I had an amazing realization: I wasn’t smiling, and it was because I was unhappy with my teeth,” Dudley wrote in a blog post. “They weren’t awful, but they were crooked enough to make me self-conscious. It’s very hard to smile when doing so makes you self-conscious-every single time.” Instead of accepting his teeth as they were, he decided to put his technological prowess-he studies digital design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology-to good use and solve his problem with a little innovation.
Dudley (casually) made a mold of his teeth using products he ordered online to see what was going on with his smile. He then took advantage of the free technology surrounding him at college and printed a series of retainers that would shift his teeth over time. The result? A straighter smile. Dudley’s efforts worked, though he cautioned others not to be too quick to follow in his footsteps. He reminded readers that professionals don’t recommended DIY dentistry (and according to Dudley, Google Images has plenty of images that prove why).
“It probably only worked in large part because of luck and good initial conditions,” the student told NPR. “But if there’s an idea you have, you just have to try it out.” Oh, and his creative endeavor landed him a job at a 3D printing company. Talk about killing the game.
Interested in learning more about how Dudley pulled off this technological feat? Read about the step-by-step process in his blog post about the experience.
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