Ultaire™ AKP “The Missing Link”

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Craig Parker and Jonathan Hughes discuss: Ultaire™ AKP: RPD design concepts and applications

The educational programme during Dental Technology Showcase 2018 saw dental surgeon Craig Parker and clinical dental technician Jonathan Hughes present their session: “Ultaire™ AKP: RPD design concepts and applications, one year on…” Their presentation outlined the insights they have gained using this latest generation polymer over the last twelve months.

Craig and Jonathan have worked in close collaboration for 10 years and have a very successful and respectful clinician/technician relationship. They described how they had ideas for producing a fully digital removable partial denture, but that for some years a suitable material had remained the missing link.

Consequently, when Solvay Dental 360™ launched Ultaire AKP into the UK market last year, they immediately saw the advantages of using the new polymer to offer a viable alternative to metal RPD frames.

Ultaire AKP was specifically developed for the fabrication of RPDs. It is a high performance, millable polymer, which is very compliant, easy to trim, articulate and adjust, and is metal-free, taste-free and biocompatible. This 21st century material provides rigidity and toughness combined with excellent fatigue and creep resistance and offers superb machinability as part of the digital workflow.

Jonathan explained: “For many years chrome has been considered the most predictable material for RPDs, yet the benchmark is not that high.” He considered Ultaire AKP to be an excellent viable alternative to chrome.

The digital potential

Jonathan and Craig highlighted the advantages of digital technology: improved communication between surgery and lab, greater accuracy and precision, consistent outcomes, and increased productivity. The digital workflow has the potential to cut down appointment times in the dental surgery and improve the patient experience.

Jonathan listed other noteworthy aspects: “As well as providing a cleaner working environment, a full digital workflow using new generation materials to create RPDs is something that appeals to a younger generation of dental technicians. This could help laboratories recruit and retain team members – and also make it easier to train staff with skills that are transferable from one department to another.

The presentation was not entirely pro-digital however; Craig described some of the snags he has experienced with intraoral scanning when faced with large saddle areas, as well as some depth of field issues he has encountered. He noted that if he has scanning difficulties, he simply reverts to analogue. Jonathan agreed saying: “It is all about knowing when to dip in and out of analogue and digital technologies – and combining the results.”

They pointed out that Ultaire AKP is a viable material both for labs that have invested in CAD/CAM and those who have not yet made the digital leap. Solvay Dental 360 can offer cost-effective outsourcing solutions for design and milling as well as plenty of advice and technical support.

At the end of the presentation, Jonathan spoke of the future and how it will soon be possible to enhance engagement and communication by taking patients on a digital journey. Facial recognition software and augmented reality engines will soon be available to create virtual mock-ups of the proposed dentition and engage the patient fully in their own treatment.

Passion about mutual respect

Brian Hay a dental technician from Cardiff University Dental Hospital commented: “I thought that it was a good concept to present a year on, showing the experiences that both professionals have gained from using the new polymer. It was a great team effort that clearly illustrated how the relationship between a dental surgeon and a dental technician should be.

“It highlighted the importance of teamwork and working together, and it was nice to see Craig speak with real passion about mutual respect. It was also refreshing to hear Craig speak honestly about the limitations of digital scanning and I agree with Jonathan’s point about making use of both analogue and digital technologies to achieve the best possible results.

“They made an interesting point about recruitment issues and I agree that young people are used to digital concepts, I also thought they were spot on about where dental technology is heading. Just like last year, Jonathan and Craig offered some excellent advice and provided a lot of useful information, probably enough for two presentations.”

To discover more about Solvay Dental 360, Ultaire AKP and Dentivera milling discs, visit www.solvaydental360.com