Explaining the advantages offered by the new Denar Mark 300 Articulators series, available exclusively from Prestige Dental
Royce Thompson, a design engineer who has worked in the dental industry for 22 years, was awarded the Harry Hagman Inventor’s Award at the NADL’s Vision 21 annual meeting earlier this year. Having developed some of the most popular articulators and occlusion products being used by dental laboratories, here he explains a little more about the product that earned him his award; WhipMix’s popular Mark 300 Articulator System.
Why was the 300 series developed?
Customers were asking us for an articulator with closer interchangeability, fewer wrenches to make adjustments to the articulator, and that was more user-friendly. They wanted to eliminate having to ship their articulators back and forth between dentists and labs, and only ship models. This would make it simpler to move cases around the lab, as well. They also wanted a more modern-looking instrument. They asked, we listened and we created the 300 series.
This series saw a change to the mounting plate. Why was that?
In order to increase interchangeability, the mounting plate needed to change. The plate needed to sit more in a more consistent and repeatable manner on the articulator. Popular, disposable mounting plates are made of plastic, and these can warp and have cooling irregularities. This can create a problem with them sitting consistently on the upper and lower members of the articulator when they are flat or 4-legged, as they can rock or click back and forth. However, if you create a plate with three legs, it will always set the same. Remember what we learned in geometry; three points create a plane.
Can you understand why some technicians feel frustrated that they too must switch articulators to the 300 series, when their dentists upgrade?
Absolutely, and believe me I’ve apologised to many of them personally. However, with the previous Denar mounting plate systems there was no way to improve on the interchangeability and create a more repeatable system, and this was the number one reason for the new articulator. With flat plates that locate on two holes you can get a clicking and movement of the plate, since the holes in the plates need to be a little larger than the pins on the upper and lower members of the articulator for removal purposes. They can also rest inconsistently on the articulator due to warp. The 4-legged plates will rock just as a 4-legged table would. Keep in mind that these issues don’t always come to pass, but the possibility always exists. If I was going to have 20-micron repeatability consistently, this had to change.
What has the feedback from the profession been so far?
Very positive. Technicians like being able to move the cases throughout the lab without needing to send the articulator with the case. Sometimes the articulators used are so heavy that the powder coating starts to wear or crack. So, again, WhipMix has listened to its customers and created an anodised version of the Mark 320 and 310 with the same interchangeability within the entire system. The LabRelator was also created for mounting only.
The biggest learning curve has been to keep the dimples in the upper and lower members of the articulator clean, as well as the mounting surface. No different than any other articulator out there, this is the best way to get the most repeatable results. We have had quite a few dentists say that they believe the interchangeability and repeatability of the 300 series is better than the 20-micron to which we gauge.
What’s the future for the Denar articulator?
There are several theories out there on the future of the articulator. I agree with those who say digital is the future. That being said, I still believe that there will always be a need for a physical, hand-held articulator to work alongside the digital world, especially for those of us who have a need to get our hands on it.