Bone like material and structure can be created for orthopedic and dental work using a 3-D printer, according to Washington State University researchers.

A study on the finding was published in the journal Dental Materials.

"It's possible that doctors will be able to custom order replacement bone tissue in a few years, said Sumita Bose, Professor at WSU mechanical and materials engineering and co-author of the study.

WSU researchers had successful results with in vivo tests animals models.

Researchers spent years optimizing materials such as silicon and zinc to strengthen calcium phosphate, a mineral found in human bone.

Using a commercially available ProMetal 3D printer which spray materials in layers of 20 microns; half the size of human hair, researchers can developed a method to integrate the new medium with immature human bone cells. The new method can create a scaffold with network of new bone cells.

"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," said Bose.