What is your time worth to you? In microeconomics, even a mere six seconds represents an “opportunity cost,” considering aggregate time spent on activity that might otherwise be invested elsewhere. Now, an American manufacturer has gained regulatory approval for a medical device promising to cut minutes from the user’s daily regimen of oral hygiene: the "Blizzident," a customized toothbrush formatted by a 3-dimensional printer.
The piece fits within the mouth like a pair of dentures. For $299, the manufacturer prints a personalized device using a digital scan taken at a local dental office. Technicians then use a computer-aided design model of the brush, which they convert into a 3-dimensional object using stereolithography, a method of shaping liquid plastic with an ultraviolet laser. They then place 600 soft and tapered bristles on the device.
By simply biting down and grinding his or her teeth, the user may accomplish the chore in approximately six seconds. The biting motion achieves the same effect as the two common teeth cleaning motions — the Modified Bass technique, in which the brush is positioned at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and moved back and forth, and the Fones technique, in which the brush is held at right angles to the teeth and moved circularly.