Discus Dental leveraged its expertise in handheld dental devices to reimagine the prophy device, which is used for dental cleaning and polishing by many of the 181,800 hygienists in the USA.* The prophy device is an essential apparatus for dental hygienists, but it’s often the culprit in strain, fatigue, and work-related injuries due to cord-drag and repetitive use.
Discus turned to Eric as Executive Director of Device Development when it wanted to develop a new product that was as kind to hygienists as they were to their patients. He oversaw the Zen Cordless Prophy’s (Zen) product development during the early stages and was a key contributor to the patented design of the gear system in the prophy angle. Eric sourced the design and development contractors, including Karten Design, which later received the 2011 GOOD Design Award for its work on the Zen.
Discus collaborated with Karten Design, Ximedica, and Nordic Semiconductor to challenge the traditional design of air-driven prophy systems. A wireless foot pedal control system and adjustable performance speeds give dental hygienists precise control during their procedures. The Zen features improved portability, reduced noise, and a convenient control system that gives dental hygienists the freedom and flexibility to focus on the patient, not the tool.
The new, ergonomic design eliminates the cumbersome cords and thus significantly reduces the major causes of trauma in dental hygienists’ hands and wrists. The device utilizes a lightweight, balanced design optimized to decrease fatigue and injury. Dental hygienists have said that the Zen is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use.
Launching the Zen is an example of Eric’s project leadership services. The product is a success due to its ease of use and performance; the Zen continues to receive positive reviews. Betsy Reynolds, RDH, MS, states, “I love the idea of a cordless handpiece! Primarily because it will decrease cord drag for increased ergonomics – practitioners already hampered by carpal tunnel or other compromising conditions will be over the moon to learn of this option.” Additional reviews are available in the Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) magazine by Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, president of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.
The Zen line is now owned and manufactured by Zila, an oral hygiene company which offers a comprehensive line of oral care and cancer screening products sold exclusively and directly to dental professionals.
* As documented in the 2010 Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the United States Department of Labor.