Orbital Tech in the Oral Environment
Advanced Space and Technology Research (ASTER) is a small company that sells nanosatellite components to government agencies like NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. These components go in satellites the size of a shoebox, which can make them an ideal tool for use in dentures. The tiny components can be fit into dentures without affecting the fit or function of the dentures.
ASTER’s original focus was related to GPS technology, and that makes it an ideal jumping-off point for denture-locating technologies.
The plan is to put a tiny transponder in the denture. If the denture was lost, a detector wand could be hooked up to a smartphone and an app downloaded to guide a nurse or even the denture owner to the lost prosthetic.
A Dentist’s Insight
Another member of the project team is Dr. Stephen Shuman, a professor at the University of Minnesota who worked at a nursing home as a young dentist. He understands that lost dentures can be a major problem. Early in his stint, the director of nursing brought out a bucket of dentures that had been misplaced and mixed up.
Although dentists and nursing homes will now mark dentures to identify them, dentures still get lost and may not be found. This is an especially big problem in the nursing home environment where many people may have dementia. They may not know where they are, let alone where they left their dentures. And sometimes people may even accuse others of stealing their dentures, when they’re just misplaced.
And once dentures are lost, the expense of replacing dentures can be a burden on people with limited income. Plus adapting to dentures can be challenging for older individuals with dementia.
Production Is Years Away
The denture locating technology is being developed using a $200,000 grant from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). If it is successful, clinical trials would start, but production of the locatable dentures won’t begin for two or three years. The locator in the denture would add a negligible amount to the cost of dentures (“a few dollars”.) The wand would cost a few hundred dollars, and the app would be free.
In the meantime, may we recommend FOY® Dentures that are more comfortable to wear so you’ll be less likely to lose them? Or, even better, implant dentures that are fully fixed in your mouth and not removable so they won’t get lost.
To learn about quality dentures that you’ll be less likely to lose, please contact a local FOY® Dentures Dentist.