Texas prisoners to get 3D-printed teeth

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedBad teeth? Can’t even afford eighty percent savings by going down to see my friend Dr. Sylvia Zuñiga at DentoCare in Costa Rica? Well then, get locked up in Texas!

“Starting in the spring, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will no longer have traditionally molded dentures made for its inmates. Instead, they’ll become what’s believed to be the first corrections agency in the country to 3D-print them on site,” reported the Houston Chronicle.

“A speedier alternative to traditional denture-making, technicians at prisons across the state will use wands to scan the mouths of toothless inmates, then send off the image to a central location for 3D-printing, cutting down the process from months to weeks. The system will avoid the need to transport prisoners across the state and, though the initial purchase of the equipment is pricey, officials said the individual sets of dentures could be as little as $50 apiece,” according to the Chronicle story.

For many years dentures were provided by inmates through an in-house vocational program for those locked-up but that program ended back in 2003 for “unknown reasons” according to the Chronicle story’s author. Since then the state has been facing pressure over its policy that dentures are only given if such are a “medical necessity” and TDCJ held that chewing didn’t count!

The 3D-printed dentures for inmates will not be of the highest quality but I do applaud the prison bureaucracy for doing something innovate, employing new technology that will solve a problem and save significant money.

What’s next, robot guards? Don’t laugh, I bet such will be in-place for selected situations soon.



  1. Most 3D printed parts do not have the strength of traditional manufacturing methods. I wonder if the inmates with 3D printed teeth, are going to need replacements more frequently.

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