An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved heated knife which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such a heated knife economically available to the buying public.
There are also heated dental knives that are utilized to trim thermoplastic dental trays. These heated knives have electrically powered heating elements that heat the blade tip. An adjustable heat setting is provided. The adjustable heat setting is usually provided by adjustment of a potentiometer which varies the voltage across a transformer and resulting power to the heating element. However, a problem with such heated dental knives is that there is no real time monitoring of the blade tip temperature, thus no feedback is provided for dynamic temperature control. There is only discrete voltage level adjustment capability. This type of heated knife will allow the actual blade cutting tip to over-shoot or under-shoot the optimal temperature if the potentiometer is set to the incorrect level. Adjusting the potentiometer to an optimal setting for trimming thermoplastic dental trays is accomplished by trial and error. Over-shooting the desired temperature will result in melting the thermoplastic. If melting occurs the thermoplastic will be deformed and possibly the severed thermoplastic will immediately meld back together after cutting. If under-shooting occurs the thermoplastic will possibly tear or cut unevenly instead of providing a cleanly seared cut. Temperature control at the blade tip is important because the heating element of dental knives such as the one described above are not designed to maintain a stable temperature range. For a given potentiometer setting, the temperature at the blade tip may vary widely. The ability to adjust the power level input to the heating element of the dental knife over a large temperature range is not needed or desired for the subject application because it allows more room for error. User error occurs when the level control is set to the wrong level. Also, there is a risk for error due to component anomalies such as failure of the potentiometer and failure the transformer assembly. In addition it is more difficult to design a dental knife that can maintain a stable temperature range at a given level setting when the power input to the heating element can be varied over a large range. There is not the ability to thermally design a dental knife that is optimized to maintain a temperature range for the fixed heating element power input and output needed for a dental tray knife.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved heated knife which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.
These above objects are achieved by utilizing a heated dental knife that has a tapered double knife edge blade that transitions to a sharp point; a cutting tip portion of a blade, wherein the last 1/4 distance of the blade, that tapers in thickness from about 3 mm to about 0.25 mm; a heating element and thermocouple device; a tight temperature control system adapted to maintain the temperature at the cutting blade from about 350 degrees Fahrenheit to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit without the need for a power level adjustment; and a blade that is a short distance from the handle for better ergonomics.
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