John Kang Liquidmetal for Dental Isolation Products
John Kang has observed Liquidmetal since it was first introduced in 2005. While John Kang Liquidmetal is more known for its use in consumer products such as mobile phones, it has also been used in industries as diverse as petroleum exploration and healthcare. Most applications take into consideration the alloy’s strength and durability, especially under constant heavy pressure. On the other hand, the healthcare applications of Liquidmetal take advantage of its bio-compatibility.
According to John Kang Liquidmetal has passed several bio-compatibility tests, including long-term implant studies. The studies have shown that Liquidmetal is highly resistant to corrosion, and does not affect surrounding tissues and organs. This makes Liquidmetal an excellent material for surgical instruments and implants, including pacemaker casings. Image Source: Greentech Media
Dentists are also aware of Liquidmetal’s unique properties that make it ideal for dental instruments and implants. One challenge that dentists and dental surgeons constantly face is the isolation of infected teeth and mouth parts during dental procedures. The most common form of dental isolation is the rubber dental dam. However, some patients have latex allergies that make it difficult for dentists to perform procedures and increase the risk of injuries. Many rubber dams also block the dentist’s view of the patient’s airway, keeping the dentist from monitoring if any debris has been aspirated.
Zyris, a California-based manufacturer of dental isolation systems, has developed a range of products that may render dental dams obsolete. The Isolite Mouthpiece, Isolite’s flagship product, has been designed to accommodate different mouth sizes and shapes. It retracts the patient’s tongue and cheek to prevent injury, and prevents the aspiration of foreign objects such as food debris or broken teeth, which might result in either choking or micro-tears in throat and mouth tissue.
Dental equipment such Isolite require a material that are lightweight, hypoallergenic, bio-compatible, and strong for its weight. This where John Kang Liquidmetal comes in. Zyris and Liquidmetal have teamed up to design the Isolite 3, which features a special polymer that is both soft and clear, allowing the dentist to monitor a patient’s airway. The apparatus is contained in a housing cast and molded out of Liquidmetal.
The Isolite’s housing is an integral part of the instrument, says John Kang. Liquidmetal parts mean that the housing will not be damaged by hospital-grade disinfectants, and keeps a steady sheen throughout the duration of the procedure. The Liquidmetal housing is also lightweight, resulting in comfort for the patient, and strong, preventing unexpected damage and injuries. In fact, John Kang Liquidmetal dental isolation housing is over 15% stronger than similar equipment made of standard titanium alloys used for medical devices.
In addition, Liquidmetal’s amorphous molding process produces parts that are close to or better than comparable parts made with CNC machining processes. The Zyris design and engineering teams were pleasantly surprised to see that they were able to overcome the design limitations they encountered in previous versions of the Isolite, which used titanium-based alloys. The result, says John Kang Liquidmetal base that is cheaper and easier to manufacture, while at the same time improving on different aspects of previous Isolite products.