July 1, 2014
by Ira Hoffman, DDS, FADI, FIADFE
The rapid development of dental technology and equipment has moved the profession rapidly forward over the past 60 years. These changes have made the practice of dentistry far more efficient and physically easier for the dentist, and far more comfortable and less threatening for the patient. When utilized as indicated, technology can be highly effective. From a clinical perspective, more services can be offered, more quickly, and more comfortably. From a diagnostic perspective, problems can be pinpointed earlier, visualized more readily, and treated more conservatively. All of these factors contribute to a significant increase in case acceptances (Soh and Keng, 1990).
Over the last several decades, the innovations in digital radiography, CAD/CAM dentistry, lasers, and CT Imaging have revolutionized the way dentistry is performed. One area that has developed with, and contributed greatly to, the rapid advance of equipment technology has been the increasing digitization of diagnostic and treatment devices. The ubiquitous integration of the many dental office technologies allows the practitioner to maximize the benefits of these new technologies.
In today’s dental practice, computer technology is an essential part of the office environment, and is an important part of the infrastructure that supports the flow and efficiency of the office (Yip and Barnes, 1999). From practice management to patient education software, the entire administrative and clinical processes are effectively streamlined through computer integration of patient data from various sources. All the more important, then, that research and support of these technologies must not be neglected.
Much of the manufacturing of finished goods has seen a decline as a result of poor productivity and a shift of manufacturing jobs to low wage countries (Rothamerel, F, 2008). This problem is very common in high wage developed countries such as Canada. Inexpensive manufacturing, unfortunately, often translates to shoddy workmanship and poor product quality.
In addition, with focus on manufacturing and keeping costs down the designing process is often neglected. The Flight Dental Systems TL-1006 dual track light system is designed with the patient and operator in mind. Traditional dual track light systems were clunky and most importantly had two trolleys that were mounted on the same track system. This resulted in the monitor and the light constantly interfering with one another as they are being positioned.
The TL-1006 Dual Track and Monitor system is one of the unique products that is designed and manufactured in Canada (Flight Dental Systems, Brampton, Ontario, Canada), which proves to solve this functional and ergonomic problem with traditional dual track lights.
The Flight dual-track light and monitor system that has been researched and developed in Canada to support the digitalization of the dental office and the dentist’s need for information ergonomically. The TL-1006 Dual Track and Monitor system was designed to combine the highest quality visual diagnostic and monitor components with an ergonomic, efficient, and functional track system.
The outcome of years of research and development is a dual track light system that has the latest in technology, sophisticated LED lights, a medical grade low voltage monitor, an HDMI connection that can operate at 30 meters between source and output, and a wire harness that prevents, and protects against, failures.
The design of the overhead track system is the most innovative aspect of the TL-1006 Dual Track and Monitor system. The light and the monitor are mounted on separate but parallel tracks of a dual carriage “By-Pass” system. This allows the monitor and light to be positioned independently of each other at any location along the entire track. This offers the practitioner maximum versatility and maximum comfort. The design of this product is different from earlier dual track systems, which mount the trolleys one behind the other, an alignment that causes interference between the two units. The new design provides a full range of motion and flexibility that allows the operator to conveniently position the light without obstructing visual access or interfering with the monitor at any time.
In the design and development phase, it was necessary to maintain the same track width and length without compromising the smoothness and strength of the track. The innovative concept of the TL-1006 dual track light system involved the intelligent design of the trolleys to maintain the four sets of wheels in specific horizontal-vertical positions that would provide the balance and smoothness required. The result of the extensive research and development was an excellent track light that exceeded all the required parameters and provided the practitioner with a well-designed and functionally intelligent illumination/information system that made work easier and more efficient. In addition, the material used on the track and trolley system is extruded from a single aluminum piece, which reduces variances caused by welding and maintains a strong and sturdy structure for support.
Ergonomically, track light systems are regarded as one of the best methods for mounting lights and monitors; these systems allow the user to position the light and monitor with less physical stretching while providing a much larger range of action.
In addition to innovative mechanical design of the TL-1006 dual track system, the wiring and harness used in the track required a complete redesign.
The track system utilizes integrated low voltage wiring for the light, monitor, and the HDMI connection. The addition of a digital signal repeater installed at both ends of the cable extends the range of the unit significantly. As a result, the image produced is a high definition 1080p with no loss of quality over long distances.
As dental offices continually become digitally integrated, the monitor system grows into the central focus of the dentist’s clinical and education armamentari
um. It is also a crucial component of the patient experience. The ability to offer flexible high definition imaging provides the dentist with the ability to show an intraoral image or x-ray, or to draw upon extensive educational, marketing, and entertainment resources.
For a manufacturer, technological advancements and a focus on building a better product have always been predictable strategies whereby the company can maintain a competitive advantage in a highly crowded marketplace. The simplified strategy is to create more economic value for end-users than the company’s rivals, and to provide its customers with a better product at a better price that allows them to do their precision work more efficiently. The TL-1006 dual track light system is a testament to Canadian design, development, and manufacturing. OH
Dr. Ira Hoffman maintains a private practice in Montreal, Quebec. A graduate of McGill University, he is a Faculty Lecturer, Clinical Supervisor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at McGill University. Dr. Hoffman is a member of the University Advisory Council of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and acting chair of the University Coordination Committee of Esthetic Dentistry. Dr. Hoffman is a Fellow of the Academy of Dentistry International and the International Academy for Dental Facial Esthetics.
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