MHRA no: CA007329

Prosthetic African Hornbill Beak

African Hornbill, diseased beak prior to excision
The patient before removal of damaged tissue
Completed prosthetic beak prior to heat treatment
Cast sections welded together, prior to heat treatment
Prosthetic African Hornbill beak sections before welding
The castings before trimming
African Hornbill after fitting of prosthetic beak
The completed prosthetic after fitting

In the summer of 2004, we were asked to produce a prosthetic beak for one of London Zoo's African Hornbills. The bird's upper bill had been fractured in an accident, and the zoo required a durable and realistic replacement.

The beak was cast in cobalt chromium alloy, which was heat treated so as to blend in more closely with the bird's natural colouring. This presented us with the greatest problem due to its size (50cm) and weight (46g), but by casting in two sections and welding them together we produced the result illustrated in these photos.

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Double Arm Swing-lock

Figure 1: class 3 jaw relationship, left-hand side

This case was first presented to Steve in 1993. The patient has a class 3 bite, as seen in figs 1,2 and 3, and wanted a denture made to present a class 1 appearance. Previous attempts had failed because the anterior teeth needed to be set so far forward of the ridge that they destabilised the whole appliance even with clasps. The challenge was to manufacture an upper denture that would be at once cosmetically pleasing, retentive and stable.

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