by Dr Peter Norton, Dental On Clarke, Crows Nest, NSW
The Erkopress is a laboratory machine that creates pressure-formed orthodontic retainers and multi-layered mouthguards. It can also be used to create Essix retainers and various other thermoformed appliances.
What’s good about it
The big advantage of owning this in-practice manufacturing machine is the ability to make appliances quickly while having complete control. Even though technician labs can be very fast, it’s nice to be able to do it myself.
I have an excellent technician and I’m happy with the appliances he makes, but I enjoy having a bit more control over the process. If a patient is in the mixed dentition stage then I can block out a certain amount of space for an unerupted tooth or for a deciduous tooth that’s about to change over. That control from the outset minimises the need to make adjustments to the mouthguard months down the track.
It’s a pretty simple machine to operate. A few years ago, I completed a training course with ADA NSW. That was all the training I needed and since then, I’ve been able to train staff members in how to use the machine.
What’s not so good
The embedding granules that sit around the stone cast give excellent control but they can make a mess until you’ve learned how to recapture them.
Also, you need to ensure that staff don’t switch off the practice air compressor before they leave to go home. If they do, the unit will not operate.