Root canal instrument
revolutionizes world of dentistry
Little did Steve Senia, DDS, know, when he joined the endodontics faculty in 1981, that within ten years he would revolutionize the world of dentistry and earn a patent shared with the university that was to become the Health Science Centerís first steady producer of royalties.
Today, dental students are learning to use his invention in their practice and Dr. Senia, now a clinical professor, travels the world introducing dentists to his new technology for performing root canal surgery.
His company, Lightspeed Technology Inc., based in San Antonio, makes flexible, nickel-titanium Lightspeed dental instruments used on rotating handpieces to perform delicate root canal procedures.
The new instruments are an outgrowth of Dr. Seniaís 1989 patent with colleague William Wildey, DDS, of the Canal Master, still manufactured by Brasseler. Recalled Dr. Senia, "We got tired of poorly designed instruments that couldnít clean patientsí narrow, curved root canals." Using a grinding wheel and a dissecting microscope, the pair made their own crude prototype of a new design. "With a lot of help from the university, we guided our design through the maze of patenting and licensing to market in 1989." The first check arrived in October 1989, and the royalties have long since paid all costs initially absorbed by the university.
If you go for a root canal procedure today in Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, Lebanon, Switzerland or many other countries, chances are good that your dentist will use a Lightspeed instrument. And you and the Health Science Center will both benefit.
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