This research work aims to help other researchers in the field to set up an experimental bench to assess the performance of different tools for the retrieval of cement crowns, in terms of reliability, learnability and efficiency. Specifically, a sliding hammer and an automatic tool, powered by compressed air, have been considered by the authors of the article. Both skilled and unexperienced operators have been involved in the experimental campaign where an appositely designed set up allowed measuring the pattern of force versus time. The peak applied force has been taken as an output variable for the evaluation of tool performance.
Experimental results have given evidence that the automatic tool improves both the inter-operator and the intra-operator reliability, respectively from 79% to 95%, and from 69% to 92%. Additionally, the force pattern is significantly different between these two tools: the instrument powered by compressed air produces a sharper peak force, as required to break fragile materials such as dental crown cement, and its efficiency can be estimated to be 75% higher. Both tools have a high learnability since the performances of experienced and unexperienced operators have not proved to be significantly different.
The experimental set up as well as the respective testing protocol introduced here can be used to characterize any other instrument for cement crown retrieval, with the advantage of producing objective, numerical data.
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