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The Design and Manufacture of DentalVibe Injection Comfort System

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 3:46pm
BING Innovations

No more painful dental injections. That would be music to the ears of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world who fear going to the dentist. According to studies from the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington Dental School in Seattle, upwards of 50 million Americans avoid the dentist due to their fear of pain. Most often, it’s the pain associated with dreaded dental injections. The fact is that dentistry itself doesn’t hurt – injections do.

DentalVibe Comfort Tips

That all changed when Dr. Steven G. Goldberg, DDS invented and patented a revolutionary dental device called the DentalVibe Injection Comfort System , an award-winning clinical instrument that is actually able to eliminate intra-oral injection pain. It is a cordless, rechargeable, handheld device that delivers soothing, pulsing, percussive micro-oscillations to the site where an injection is being administered.

DentalVibe uses proprietary VibraPulse technology, which causes the specially designed comfort tips to gently stimulate the sensory receptors at the injection site with a controlled, synchronized wave pattern that effectively closes the neural pain gate, thus blocking the pain of injections. The result is a total redefinition of injection process.

DentalVibe operates on the merits of The Gate Control Theory of Pain, proposed and documented in the Science journal by Drs. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall in 1965. The Theory holds that there is a neurological “gate” located within the spinal cord that can either block pain signals or permit them to travel to the brain. When a counter-stimulation (in this case, vibration) is applied during a painful occurrence (e.g., a dental injection), the sensation of vibration reaches the sensory area of the brain first, resulting in a closure of the pain gate to the sensation of pain.

Dr. Goldberg’s goal in designing the DentalVibe was to develop a lightweight, handheld instrument that would vibrate at the tip without causing much vibration throughout the handle, as this would be uncomfortable for the dentist while in use. The final product is comfortable and steady.

DentalVibe Injection Comfort System

The DentalVibe hand piece weighs just 3 ounces. It is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the hand of a clinician and is finished off with a series of strategically placed finger grips, which facilitate comfort and control in any area of the mouth.

To prevent cross-contamination, DentalVibe is designed to work with disposable, one-time-use tips, which can be easily attached and detached from the handpiece, known as the “comfort tip." The handpiece features a motor-driven eccentric cam that generates vibration in order to drive a rocker, which is connected to a clear light pipe. This single part, the light pipe, serves a dual function. First, on one end of the light pipe is a cam follower, which rides inside the eccentric cam, delivering vibration to the other end of the pipe. Second, the main shaft of the light pipe is solid and clear, permitting light to shine through the pipe from a bright LED that is situated within the handpiece. The light then projects through a lens built into the tip and shines onto the injection site, facilitating greater visibility upon clinical application.

The comfort tip itself is a three-part assembly consisting of two hard plastic parts with an over-molded, soft, non-latex rubber, which ties the two pieces together. The forked end of the tip is curved with an angulation similar to a standard dental mirror, which aids the dentist in retraction of the lip and cheek. This forked end is able to vibrate relative to the fixed, attached portion, known as the tip sleeve. The tip is easily attached by sliding and snapping it into place on the handpiece. To remove the tip after use, the tip sleeve itself is rotated counterclockwise 180 degrees while the forked end stays securely in place. This causes the rubber over-mold to stretch and tear at the connection point between the two, rendering the tip unusable, thereby preventing cross-contamination.

Although the device was designed in SolidWorks, the development of the light pipe created an engineering challenge. Ray-tracing software designed to model light transmission made it possible to optimize light output in the light pipe’s final design, providing the direction necessary to illuminate the intended injection site.

DentalVibe Base

The DentalVibe can be used throughout the workday in a dental practice. Its cycle time is approximately 90 seconds on, followed by a return to the charging base for approximately one hour before being used again. The battery choice was an important design decision in order to avoid a memory issue creeping up over time. The device is powered by a rechargeable, nickel-metal, hydride battery, safe for the environment and free from memory concerns. Because the device is utilized in a dental operatory setting within a wet environment, the base of the handpiece is sealed to prevent any fluid seepage into the unit. Accordingly, an inductive charging base was developed for recharging the unit with an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from within the charging base station. A second induction coil in the handpiece takes the power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electrical current to charge the battery.

In order to effectively counter-stimulate the sensory receptors within the oral mucosa, the frequency and amplitude of the vibrating tip must be within a scientifically determined range of hertz.

Because frequency and amplitude are the keys to the effectiveness of the DentalVibe, a custom designed laser Interferometer is used during quality control testing to evaluate the appropriate range of vibration and amplitude generated at the comfort tip. 

Both adults and children can enjoy the full benefits of DentalVibe. The device was designed to be patient friendly and look like a vibrating toothbrush. For pediatric patients, soft and pliable finger puppets are available. The puppets slip onto the backend of the handpiece while it is in use, providing additional, delightful distraction to the young patient. Dentists can give the toys to the child after injection as a reward.

DentalVibe Unit Top View

DentalVibe is proudly manufactured in the USA at Contract Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. (CMSI) in Weston, Florida. CMSI is a leading FDA and ISO 13485:2003-certified medical device manufacturer. CMSI provides a complete range of manufacturing capabilities, including product design, product development, printed circuit boards, machine shop, contract manufacturing services, and many other solutions for Clinical Diagnostics, Flow Cytometry, Immunology, Industrial, Pharmaceutical, Chiropractic, Bio-Pharma, and other industries.

The company, BING Innovations, has partnered with inspired individuals in the dental, medical, engineering, and design worlds to bring major innovations like DentalVibe to the market. The proprietary VibraPulse technology behind DentalVibe has infinite applications throughout healthcare, and the company is currently at work developing those other applications.

Dr. Steven Goldberg is the inventor of DentalVibe. He is also the spokesperson for BING Innovations.

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