Advances in the Automated Electropolishing of Dental Parts
Teeth are amazing. Incredibly strong, durable, and unique to each individual. Aging, accidents or oral health problems mean we turn to the skills of the dentist and dental laboratory to repair wear or damage.
Transforming the process of correcting dental issues over the last decade is the ability to 3D print patterns for casting metals such as Cobalt Chromium (CoCr), used in dental frameworks for partial dentures and other dental prothesis and parts made to exact dimensions by dental labs.
Achieving an accurate and precise denture or dental implant fitting for the patient is the primary goal. The ability of computer aided design and additive manufacturing enables exacting standards of customisation to each patient's unique needs.
Clasps, frameworks and dental implants are not good enough to use without further finishing, requiring more time and therefore increasing overall cost of the finished part for the customer.
In a dental lab's workflow, no less than seven stages can be applied in the finishing of dental parts. The first two are usually blasting and applying some form of abrasive to remove the 3D printing residues. The next three, buffing, pre-polish and electropolishing, all gradually bring the part to the right level of smoothness. Finally, following post-polishing and cleaning the parts are ready for the dentist to fit.
Eliminating finishing steps by combining and automating stages saves the dental lab time and cost, as well as reducing potential damage risks to parts while handling them.
This was the aim of OTEC Präzisionsfinish GmbH, who, with the expert input of dental laboratory, Flussfisch, have developed the table-top EPAG-Smart T Dental electro-polishing machine. This effectively replaces the three stages of buffing, pre-polish and electropolishing with just one automated 'set and forget' stage.
The EPAG-Smart T Dental solves problems associated with traditional electropolishing – those of shielding effects and ions taking the path of least resistance, leading to uneven polishing, especially in geometrically complex areas. This ensures a homogeneous finish over every surface however difficult to access.
Compact, requiring only standard plug socket, low noise and easy to use, the EPAG Smart Dental automation reduces processing work by around 50% and pays for itself in under a year (assuming 5 parts per day are processed).