3D printers have come a long way now, and in 2012, they're ready to do something quite miraculous. An 83-year-old woman is set to be the first to receive a titanium jaw crafted by one of these 3D printers.
The method was developed by the BIOMED Research Institute at Hasselt University in Belgium and what the printer does is create the low jaw replacement from layer-upon-layer of titanium dust. This is made possible by using a computer-controller laser that ensures the correct molecules are fused together.
The result, is a perfect titanium jaw which takes just hours to built, versus previous options where it would take days. Of course this new nail-biter weighs a bit more than its natural bone-based predecessor, but that doesn't stop the patient from returning close to "normal speaking and swallowing" the day after the operation.