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Dental Manufacturer Now Using Thermoplastic Instead of Metal Rods in X-ray System

February 23, 2012

Light, autoclavable thermoplastic rods are an industry first, company says.

ClikTech Inc.—a manufacturer of dental sensor and X-ray film holders—is bucking convention.  The Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based firm has implemented what it claims is the industry’s first use of thermoplastics in multiple-rod dental X-ray holder systems.

The company’s new line of “Litening Rods,” is made of the Radel brand of polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) resin from Solvay Specialty Polymers USA LLC. The plastic rods replace their metal counterparts, which can be labor-intensive to manufacture and more costly. The new product made of Radel PPSU is light, autoclavable, reusable, and less expensive, according to ClikTech officials.

Metal rods have been used for decades in dental offices. Although effective, they are costly and prone to breakage, according to Thomas Gillen, president of ClikTech Inc. To manufacture, metal rods require steel forming, bending and pin insertion.

“We have reached a time when we can combine both new and old technologies to produce the best available products at the most reasonable cost to the dental profession,” said Gillen. “These innovative rods serve as the bridge to make the transition from older to the newest technologies significantly easier for the dental office; they provide enhanced performance at a lower cost.”
ClikTech developed Litening Rods in a close collaboration with XDR Radiology, of Los Angeles, Calif., and its co-owner Dr. Adam Chen, DDS.

Thermoplastic rods made of PPSU are stiff like metal but are 75 percent lighter, according to Gillen. The rods also offer easier handling due to an integrated handle grip design. They have the added benefit of incorporating a wire clip to accommodate the latest in digital sensors and work with any standard anterior, posterior, or bitewing ring. The rod attaches to a bite block receptacle, which in turn holds the digital sensor.

Radel PPSU is a super-tough thermoplastic with high heat resistance, hydrolytic stability and chemical resistance. It can withstand more 1,000 cycles of steam sterilization without significant loss of properties, according to its manufacturer. It is inherently flame retardant and is resistant to bases and other chemicals. Radel PPSU is also compliant with ISO 10993-1 for limited exposure, non-implantable applications.

Litening Rods are 1/8-in square and five inches long and meet ISO 10993 and FDA requirements for intraoral use. They are commercially available through national dental distribution dealers.
Solvay Specialty Polymers is based in Alpharetta, Ga.

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