An Aberdeen dentist is spending his spare time and equipment to create a face mask prototype to help with the ongoing shortage.
Vikram Kavi is the principal dentist at five practices throughout the north-east of Scotland, including Thistle Dental and Crown Dental, but due to the pandemic has shut them for everything except emergency procedures.
Instead, he and his team of clinicians have developed a face mask that can be constructed with items found in the dental surgery and created an initial prototype to be tested.
The personal protective equipment is made out of an acrylic framework, valves from a FFP1 mask and then dental putty to make it airtight – and is made by a 3D printer.
Once officially tested, it is hoped the mask design can be handed out across the city for other companies to replicate.
Lorna Sutherland, business administrator for the practices, said they had helped create the product to help out amid the PPE shortage across the region.
She said: “We designed a mask that can be made on a 3D printer and can become a custom-fit ventilator-style one and this is a working prototype we have.
“Using items found in the dental lab, it can be used multiple times, and after it is tested, we hope to give them out to NHS workers who need them most.
“As soon as Vikram and his fellow technicians realised there were key workers going without proper protective equipment, they wanted to help out.
“They had idle hands anyway and asked how they could contribute and so created this unique prototype that can be built in a clinical setting.”
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So far, they have built one prototype and hope to get it tested before offering the recipe to local businesses who have the capacity to manufacture them locally.
The unique concept was created by Vikram and his colleagues and will be marketed for free to anyone with a 3D printer.
Lorna was hoping to find a professional equipment tester to come and help them confirm that the masks can be used in a clinical setting.
She said: “We are looking for someone far more experienced than us with this equipment to come and test it for us and confirm it is airtight and can be used in a professional capacity.
“Then we can give out the basic design so that anyone with a 3D printer can make it themselves.
“It took us about half an hour to print off the initial framework, so if the design works out, we can have the dental lab dedicated to making them.”
If you can help, get in touch with Lorna at email@example.com