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Fiber Polishing Equipment Plays a Role in FDA-Approved Dental Laser


The anticipation of an approaching dental appointment brings feelings of anxiety to most of us. There is little doubt that the butterflies in our stomachs are caused by fear of the drill and of the needle that delivers the anesthesia. The integration of an erbium laser and a fiber optic delivery system may enable the patient to relax in the dental chair.

Premier Laser Systems Inc.'s Er: YAG dental laser system, dubbed Centauri, made news when the US Food and Drug Administration approved the Irvine, Calif.-based company's system for caries removal, cavity preparation and other related procedures.


Fiber delivers

Fabrication of the dental laser system requires production equipment that will ensure the system's reliability. The optical fiber that delivers the laser beam to its dental target has a polished SMA connector at the system source and a polished bare fiber at the delivery end, which interfaces with the special workpiece held by the dentist.

To polish the fibers, Premier uses the ULTRAPOL End & Edge Polisher from ULTRA TEC Mfg. Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif. ULTRA TEC's equipment has provided accurate micropositioning of the fiber workpiece during the process, as well as flawlessly polished fibers. Premier used ULTRA TEC's polishing equipment during the research and development phase and then selected it for the production phase.

A unique feature of the ULTRA TEC design is its 'quick release" workholder. This feature allows movement of the multiple-component workholder through a series of processing steps without removing the fibers until final polishing and inspecting are complete. Using a set of such workholders allows for virtually continuous production because a workholder can be removed for inspection and preparation for the next cycle while the machine is processing another.

The main feature that sold Premier on this polishing equipment is its adaptability to a variety of workholding devices and ULTRA TEC's readiness to provide the special designs. This advantage is important to the medical-device field where special designs are more commonly needed than are off-the-shelf devices.


This article is reproduced from PHOTONICS SPECTRA Magazine

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