South West residents in trial to make dentures more accessible and affordable

Jacinta CantatoreBunbury Herald
SWAMS Client Christine Little being fitted for her Smile Koomba pilot program dentures.
Camera IconSWAMS Client Christine Little being fitted for her Smile Koomba pilot program dentures. Credit: SWAMS/SWAMS

Innovative 3D printing technology has been used the world over to make everyday items or artworks, but a new medical application of the technology is making people in the South West smile.

South West Aboriginal Medical Service has launched the pilot program Smile Koomba, which is aimed at creating 3D printed dentures for eligible clients and could help decrease the waiting time.

The free dental service will cut in half the number of appointments required to get a set of dentures and could be a solution to the low availability of denture services in some areas of WA.

Edentulism, when someone is missing the majority of their teeth, can impact physical and mental health.

Smile Koomba director Shaun Norman said the program had the potential to reduce pressure on the public health system.

“In some regional and remote parts of Australia, people don’t have any access to denture treatment due to cost and time of the traditional way of making dentures,” he said.

“We believe this limited and lack of access could impact a person in many ways such as barriers to gaining employment, detriment of mental health and limiting community and social engagement.”

He said 3D printing technology was becoming so portable it could make denture services more accessible.

“The pilot project is well under way at SWAMS, with three of four fitting and moulding steps already completed with the first group of pilot clients,” he said.

SWAMS chief executive officer Lesley Nelson hoped the program could help people living throughout regional WA.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails