Panthera’s Lock ‘n’ Release Bar Allows Easy Installation, Removal
Prosthodontist Richard Taché, DDS, MS, had a simple but challenging problem a decade ago: Many of his patients were elderly and had difficulty removing their implant-retained dentures.
The solution that he developed with the help of Dent-Esthérium Inc. is now available to laboratories everywhere via Panthera Dental’s Lock ‘n’ Release Bar™, which is specifically designed for easy installation and removal.
The bar includes a correcting angular custom abutment that can be manufactured with an angle of up to 30° and can fit with the majority of implant systems. Two of the implants are used to install the ball attachments, which lock the mechanism of the bar into position. Because of the unique design of the attachments, a regular hex screwdriver is not required, which prevents food from getting stuck. The cones are positioned on all the other implants, stabilizing the prosthesis and offering extra support.
Through the mechanism, the bar can be released from the ball attachments by pressing two buttons. A housing holds a rubber cylinder that forces each button to come back to its original place and keeps the system locked when in position.
Taché made the first version of the bar at the Université de Montréal. As he did with his other cases, Taché sent the bars to the laboratory Dent-Esthérium Inc. for curing.
The technicians at Dent-Esthérium disassembled the attachment to see how it worked. After learning that Taché had had some failures with the device because of a lack of predictability, Dent-Esthérium owner André Archambault shared some ideas and they developed a new version.
Taché and Archambault then enlisted a third person, Swiss machinist Gilbert Piccard, to identify milling centers to work on their attachment. They used multiple milling centers, with each one working on different parts, so that the device’s secret remained proprietary. They assembled the device by hand in the laboratory, fabricating approximately 50 cases in the first few years, but it was difficult to commercialize because there were so many pieces and thus so many potential errors to be made.
“The idea was good,” says Marc-Antoine Achambault, André’s son, who is now the owner and chairman of Dent-Esthérium. “We just had to partner with the right people.”
The right partner was Panthera Dental. Dent-Esthérium and Panthera began discussions approximately two years ago, and after working out the details of the partnership they began the technical work.
“Panthera is milling this using their criteria for precision, which is significantly higher than most,” Archambault says. “Together with them, we have made the bar even better.”
The bar comes with a 25-year warranty. Archambault says his laboratory has fabricated new dentures for patients using the same Lock ‘n’ Release parts from their previous dentures.
“When we say this product will be good for the life of the denture, we mean it and we know it,” he says.
Panthera promoted the attachment in Chicago during the week of the Chicago Dental Society’s 2016 Midwinter Meeting and got an encouraging response.
“People have been very, very interested. Prosthodontists, general dentists, and dental technicians have all been super-psyched about this bar,” Archambault says. “The ease of removal, parts that do not wear — it is all positive.”