UM academics from the Faculty of Dental Surgery have pitched in to develop a 3D digital methodology that designs 3D printed masks based on the face scans of healthcare professionals.
The project is aiming to help health professionals who are on the frontline during this pandemic with distribution of customised masks.
The Faculty currently also has a number of academics, clinical tutors and clinical-year students volunteering in the swabbing of potential COVID-19 patients. This initiative has in turn led to the current research endeavour that is helping protect both the Faculty’s members and other healthcare workers alike.
The research team behind this initiative involves Prof. Arthur Cortes, Associate Professor, Dr Emad Deen , Dr Edward Sammut, Dr Juliana No Cortes and Prof. Nikolai Attard, Dean and Professor of the same Faculty. Also participating in this project is Mr Kurt Galea Director of ClearSmile Malta, a local designer, printer and manufacturer of dental devices.
The masks are printed with a filament 3D printer and are developed using a free computer-aided 3D design software. These individualised masks have a better fit than the normal masks, thus showing better qualitative fit test results.
“Protective equipment is in great demand right now, and is needed by the frontliners who are doing so much invaluable work. We have friends and colleagues on the frontline swabbing patients and we want them to be safe. This initiative will help them be in a better position to care for themselves, and thus have an enhanced protection, while at the same time, caring for their patients”, said members of the research team.
They also indicated that once “normality” is restored, Dentistry will be undergoing a major shift in its operations and research activities, in order to reduce risks associated with aerosol-borne particles and microbes.
From left to Right: Prof. Cortes and Mr Kurt Galea delivering customised masks to UM tutors involved in swabbing activities for diagnosis of COVID-19: Dr Josef Awad, Dr Ann-Marie Agius, and Dr Andrea Agius.