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[ EN ]


This invention is directed to a dental prosthesis restoration molding apparatus wherein the gates of the wax master have a web therebetween to retain the gates in place during the forming of the mold.

The lost wax molding process has been used for centuries in the investment casting of jewelry. It comprises the formation of a wax master in the configuration of the desired final metal part, attachment of wax sprue and gates to that wax master, casting investment material around the wax master, melting out the wax master, and finally pouring metal into the space previously formed in the investment material molding compound by the wax master. When the metal of the final object is hardened, the molding compound is broken away, the sprue and gates cut away, and the
object is then finished as desired.

The lost wax investment casting molding process has been employed to mold dental prostheses and restorations, such as metal crowns and portions of bridges. The metals used in dentistry shrink approximately 2 percent upon
solidification. Common alloys used for this purpose include nickel-chromium, palladium-gold and palladium-silver.
Depending upon the alloy, these metallic alloys are poured into the investment at temperatures from 1350 to 1650 degrees Fahrenheit. These alloys generally shrink about 2 percent upon solidification. In order to accommodate this metallic -2-shrinking upon solidification, the investment casting
materials for dentistry are compounded so that they expand the cavity around the wax master by about 2 percent during the setting- of the investment material. In the molding of dental prostheses which span several existing teeth', the size and shape of the finished molding must be accurately maintained.

The investment casting material is a high
temperature ceramic material which is poured in liquid
form around the wax master. The investment casting material goes through a plastic stage' during its curing. During this plastic stage, the investment material is weak and may crack if improper stresses are placed thereon. The geometry of the wax master is important to permit setting of the investment casting material without distortion and cracks.
The geometry of the sprues and gates of the prior art has led to distortion so that it has been difficult to maintain accuracy, using present-day wax molding masters.

The investment casting processes used for molding items with other purposes have employed other techniques for avoiding problems during the setting of the investment casting material. These other techniques are used in such manufacturing as the investment- casting of jewelry. In such cases, an investment casting material having the
property of not expanding . (maintaining- the cavity size) is use This prevents cracking of the investment material during setting. To accommodate for the shrinking of the metal upon hardening, an oversized wax master is used. This cannot be done in dentistry because the wax master is derived from the actual tooth contour, spacing and arch in the patient's dentition and thus the resulting
prosthesis would not properly fit the mouth. Thus, it is necessary to improve the accuracy of present-day wax molding masters to improve the accuracy of the finished dental prostheses molded in conjunction therewith.


Briefly, and in general terms, the invention provides a prosthesis restoration molding apparatus which includes at least two gates connected to each other and spaced from each other and a web connected to the gates to close all openings between the gates .

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with

further objects and advantages thereof, may be best understood by reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.


FIGURE 1 is an isometric view of the prior art wax master sprue and gate structure for use in the lost wax molding process.

FIGURE 2 is an isometric view of the wax master sprue and gate in accordance with this invention, for use in the lost wax molding process, showing a wax master of a dental prosthesis in dotted lines attached thereto.

FIGURE 3 is a section of the wax master sprue and gate of this invention, as seen generally along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 4 is an exploded view of the wax master sprue and gate and dental prosthesis as they are placed in a mold housing for the placement of mold-forming material therearound.

FIGURE 5 is an exploded view showing the mold with the wax still in' place, and parts broken away and parts taken in section to show the manner in which the wax master controls the formation of a- mold cavity within the molding material.

FIGURE 6 is a section taken generally along the line 6-6 of FIGURE 5.

FIGURE 7 is a section through the mold, showing the cavity therein after the wax has been melted out, ready for the pouring in of the metal.

FIGURE 8 is a section taken generally along the line 8-8 of FIGURE 7.


The wax master sprue and gate of the prosthesis restoration molding apparatus of this invention is generally indicated at 10 in FIGURES 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The wax master sprue and gate 10 has a sprue structure 12 which has wings 14 and 16 which fit in slots 18 and 20 within boss 24 in cap 22. The sprue structure 12 fits within boss 24 to form a generally conical exterior structure which will serve as a funnel-like sprue in the molding material.

Attached to. sprue structure 12 are divergent gates 26 and 28. Cross gate 30 is secured to the top of the divergent gates 26 and 28. The divergent gates and cross gate surround a triangular center area. Web 32 extends across this area and joins gates 26, 28 and 30 over their entire length so as to completely close off the area between the gates which would be open in the absence of the web. As is seen in FIGURE 3, web 32 is of lesser thickness than the gates, about one-quarter the thickness thereof. The gates are in the form of circular solid cylinders, and the web is defined by planes which are parallel to each other, spaced from each other, and lie on opposite sides of the center axes of all three gates. In the present instance, three gates are shown, but in the -7-more broad sense if there are more than two divergent
gates, a web is positioned in the opening between adjacent gates. Web 32 prevents continuity of the investment material between the gates through what would otherwise be an opening and serves to strengthen the gates and close off any open communication inbetween the gates.

The prior art wax master 40, shown in FIGURE 1, has a similar sprue and gate structure, but lacks the web 32 in accordance with this invention. Sprue 42 carries gates 44 and 46. At the outer end of each of these gates and secured thereto is transverse gate 48. Opening 50 is provided inbetween the gates. When the prior art wax master 40 is employed, the investment casting material extends through opening 50. This investment casting material grasps around the gates and provides a solid area between the gates. This solid area shrinks .during setting and causes stresses on the gates which causes cracking of the investmen casting material and distortion of the gates.

Upon the wax master sprue and gate structure 10 is mounted a wax master prosthesis 52. The prosthesis carries a plurality of parts, each generally representing -a tooth restoration or tooth prosthesis. Each of the parts of the prosthesis is connected to the -cross gate 30, and the parts of the wax master prosthesis may be connected together, as is well seen in FIGURE 5. All connection and tbuchup for size, shape and positioning are done in wax at this time.

After the wax master prosthesis is put into
satisfactory condition, mold housing 54 is placed into the cap. Mold housing 54 has a liner 56 therein. The mold housing is preferably of metal, and the liner is of softer material such as silicaceous or rock wool fiber paper.
With cap 22 on the bottom, mold housing 54 surrounds and is spaced from the wax master prosthesis as well as the wax master sprue and gate. Thereupon, the investment casting molding compound 58 is placed in the mold. It is runs down around the wax master sprue, gate and prosthesis, and is hardened in that position.

The molding material is a high temperature ceramic, and while the apparatus of this invention is useful with the usual types of lost wax investment material, it is particularly useful with modern high temperature ceramic investment material used in dental investment casting such as crystobelite. The powder is mixed with a liquid and poured into the mold around the wax master structure. It hardens in the mold without heat and during the hardening process, it goes through a plastic stage. In reaching the plastic stage, the investment material shrinks and when it can engage all the way around the gates, the shrinkage applies radial and other forces to- the gates which cause movement in the position and shape of. the prosthesis. The web 32 helps hold the gates and consequently the prosthesis wax master in place during this hardening stage. Hol-ding the gates in place is particularly necessary where the 1 prosthesis includes caps on the ends of a bridge, such
as is shown in the prosthesis 52. The end caps must be accurately placed and the arch must be of the proper shape for the prosthesis to properly fit in the' mouth.
It is to be noted that the dental investment
casting molding compound 58 does not enter through an
opening between the gates. In the prior art, when the
molding compound went through the opening 50 between the

10. gates, the molding compound during its hardening process caused distortion of the gates which caused movement of transverse gate 48 and .the wax master prosthesis mounted thereon. The result was changes in configuration between the original wax master prosthesis and the mold cavity

15 derived therefrom. The forces of the molding compound on the wax master gates cause this repositioning of the parts of the prosthesis. The placement of the web 32 so that it completely prevents the molding compound from closing
around the divergent gates and cross gates prevents this

20 ' source of distortion. In addition, the web 32 provides lateral strength in the direction of the gates toward and away from each other, rather than present a situation of unsupported gates 44, 46 and 48. By the use of the web 32 connecting to the adjacent gates and completely prevently

25 any through engagement of the molding .compound provides the positioning strength.

After the molding compound is set, cap 22 is removed from the full line to the dotted line position of FIGURE 5, and the mold housing 54 with its contents is turned over. Thereupon, the entire structure is heated so that the wax melts out. After the wax is melted out, there is a cavity 60 into which the metal of the prosthesis structure will be poured. The sprue at the top provides a funnel-like structure to receive the hot metal. As seen in FIGURES 7 and 8, the cavity 60 includes a flat cavity section 62 into which a metallic web is cast with the rest of the casting process. The cavity includes the prosthesis-molding section at the lower portion of FIGURE 7 , and this prosthesis section has been held accurately in place during the formation of the mold cavity during the formation of the cavity. Accordingly, the prosthesis is accurately positioned.

After the metal is poured into the mold and is cooled, the molding compound is thrust axially out of the mold housing. The mold liner 56 provides the freedom for ease of removal of the molding compound with the metal therein. When removed, the molding compound is broken away from the metal prosthesis and gates. The prosthesis is further finished by cutting away the gates, final shaping, ceramic coating and sintering, or whatever conventional prosthesis making requires. Thus, an accurate prosthesis is produced.

This invention has been described in its presently contemplated best mode, and it is clear that it is susceptible to numerous modifications, modes and embodiments within the ability of those skilled in the art and without the exercise of the inventive faculty. Accordingly, the scope of this invention is defined by the scope of the following claims.