Safer reaming tools for hard biological tissues
Yerrabolu, Santosh Rohit
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Reaming of bones and filing of teeth root canals represent widely used procedures that risk both frictional heating-induced damage and unnecessary healthy mineralized-tissue removal, with expensive re-usable metallic tools that occasionally break in the reamed cavities. This investigation addressed two paths to resolving these difficulties, the first by reducing friction associated with existing tooling and the second by replacing that tooling with self-sacrificial disposable reamers constructed from FDA-approved dental composites. Using a newly developed Orthopedic Reaming Control and Analysis System (ORCAS), loads and torques were measured for steel reamers, variously modified and sterilized, cutting through bone-simulant materials. It was discovered that low-surface-energy coatings of both octadecyl- and heptafluorosilane on steel persisted through repeated reaming trials, while results with clean or sterilization-compromised steel were complicated by bone-simulant transfer films of organic matter. Alternatively, reamers and files were replicated in dental composites of determined varying hardness, which showed good sharpness and cutting ability for all softer substances, especially including bone marrow. It was demonstrated that 3D printing of such disposable tools was also possible, while concerns remain about failed-edge fragments remaining in the opened channels of these yet-to-be-approved materials. An interesting alternative use of such disposable tools is in removal of dental cements from enamel surfaces, without risking scratching and blemishes.