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Rapid prototyping model for the manufacturing by thermoforming of occlusal splints

M. Jiménez (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical School of Engineering - ICAI, Comillas University, Madrid, Spain)
L. Romero (Department of Construction and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Industrial Engineering - UNED, Madrid, Spain)
M. Domínguez (Department of Construction and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Industrial Engineering - UNED, Madrid, Spain)
M.M. Espinosa (Department of Construction and Manufacturing Engineering, School of Industrial Engineering - UNED, Madrid, Spain)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present an optimal prototyping technology for the manufacture of occlusal splints.

Design/methodology/approach

To carry out this study, a comparative technique was used to analyze models obtained by different prototyping techniques. Subsequently, further tests were carried out with respect to the manufacturing of splints by means of thermoforming in a vacuum. This involved an analysis of the most important variables such as prototype material, geometric accuracy, surface finish and costs.

Findings

It was found that there is a group of prototyping technologies that are suitable for the manufacture of the models used in the thermoforming of correction splints, the most appropriate technologies being based on ink jet printing (IJP-Objet), ultraviolet photo polymerization and fused deposition modelling due to the fact that they offer an optimal relationship between the cost and the quality of the model required for thermoforming.

Practical implications

The application of rapid prototyping techniques in medicine makes the production of physical models from three-dimensional medical image processing and their subsequent use in different specialties possible. It also makes preoperative planning processes, the production of prostheses and the preparation of surgical templates possible, thereby offering a higher quality of diagnosis, safer surgery and cost and time savings compared to conventional manufacturing technologies.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that there exists a group of prototyping technologies for the manufacture of splints that offer advantages over existing technologies. The results also suggest that, in many cases, the most expensive technology is not the most appropriate: there are other options that provide an optimal model in terms of the cost and the quality needed for thermoforming.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work presented was carried out within the cooperation agreement established between the following entities: National University of Distance Education (UNED), Pontifical University Comillas of Madrid and Aragoneses Dental Center.

Citation

Jiménez, M., Romero, L., Domínguez, M. and Espinosa, M.M. (2015), "Rapid prototyping model for the manufacturing by thermoforming of occlusal splints", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 56-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-11-2012-0101

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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