The overall objective of the proposed SBIR program is to design, manufacture, and evaluate a high-speed, low-damage, machining center for fabrication of dental restorations in the dental office or laboratory. This new method for fabrication of dental restorations based on computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has revolutionized dentistry during the past decade. These systems are currently used to fabricate ceramic crowns and other dental structures. While the CAD/CAM restorations have proven to be more reliable than those fabricated by traditional methods, the 10-year survival rate is still less than 90%. Furthermore, these systems cannot be used for machining of restorations made from harder ceramics such as zirconia. The proposed machining center will be designed with an innovative integrated air-driven, high-speed, precision spindle/motor assembly to allow high machining rates while ensuring low potential for machining damage: thus, enabling rapid fabrication of low-damage dental restorations by machining. Phase II plan includes design, fabrication, and testing of a prototype machining center with an integrated air-driven, high- speed, motor-spindle assembly operating at ultra-high speeds. The performance of the prototype components will be validated in every step of the design process. The final validation and performance evaluation includes machining of several dental restorations from different machinable dental ceramics and partially stabilized zirconia. At the end of Phase II the prototype machining center will be available for additional verification testing and commercialization. While high-speed machining has been implemented for grinding of industrial ceramics, including zirconia, such an approach has not been considered in the past for dental CAD/CAM systems.
The proposed a high-speed machining center will be used by dentists and/or dental laboratory technicians for fabrication of ceramic dental restorations. The proposed machining center will be designed with an innovative integrated air-driven, high-speed, precision, spindle/motor assembly to allow high machining rates while ensuring low potential for machining damage: thus, enabling rapid fabrication of low-damage dental restorations by machining.