A Halifax dentist is hoping his new invention will improve dental care for patients across the world.
Richard Price, professor of prosthodontics and biomedical engineering at Dalhousie University, says many years of research lead him to create the Measurement of Accuracy when Resin Curing, or MARC.
He has long studied the white resin dentists often use to fill in cavities or to hold orthodontics in place.
The fillings are applied in a soft state and the dentist shines a blue light to harden it. Too much light and it will overcook the filling and the surrounding nerves.
Too little and the filling won’t last as long as it should and will stain more easily.
Until now, there was no good way to know how much energy a dentist was applying and clinical studies showed it could vary by as much as ten times, depending on the dentist.
“I realized there was a problem with the amount of light and energy that dentists are delivering to filings,” Price says. “We’re not talking about little differences here.”
So he created MARC with his assistant, Christopher Felix. Using custom-designed computer software, the invention—a simulated patient head complete with realistic teeth, tongue, cheeks and lips—accurately measures the amount of total energy being delivered to a filling in the mouth.
He’s licensed MARC to BlueLight Analytics and MARC is being used to teach dental students and practicing dental professionals at Dalhousie’s faculty of dentistry.
“MARC can tell you how long you need to cure the filling so it will get sufficiently hard,” explains Price.
“It all depends on such things as where the cavity is in the mouth, the design of the curing light and the type of resin being used—all these factor into how long you need to shine the light.”
Colin Deacon, president of BlueLight Analytics, was excited to partner with Price. “It’s a scientific discovery that relates to a really widely used product. It brings an awful lot more clarity and information to the process of curing resin filings,” he says. “That linking of clinical relevance and scientific accuracy is really important in an area as important as curing filings.”
MARC will initially be targeted at dental researchers and manufacturers but Price and BlueLight see a global market in training dentists and dental assistants.