Heather Pear grew up with a lab in her home and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a technician. At age 15 she worked with her mother—Carol Ruset, CDT, MDT—helping with model and die work and learning every aspect of the lab. "I remember watching her build up a crown and longing to do that part of the job!" she says.
After gaining more experience as a technician in an in-office laboratory in Naples, FL, Pear opened her own one-person C&B lab. But when she became the mother of twins five years later, the responsibilities of both became overwhelming. So in 2010, she switched gears by closing her lab and joining AR Dental Lab in Toms River, NJ, as a ceramist or, as she calls it "her dream job."
There, Pear is building a reputation as a custom shade specialist and sees at least one patient a week, a service the lab is now pushing because of her. "If you're just seeing the prescription, you can't see the whole story. I like to see how the teeth look in the patient's mouth, how the person smiles, what it looks like when they talk," she says. "You need to see the whole picture."
Pear is also honing her craft by taking as many courses as she can—and the experience has given her a whole new outlook. "I've always loved what I do, but after spending two days at Peter Pizzi's course on esthetics and learning from him and the other amazing technicians there, I have this overwhelming drive to gather more knowledge," says Pear, who has since attended two more Pizzi courses. "My passion for dental ceramics has been set ablaze."
Her desire to advance her skills inspired her to apply—and win—a 2012 Pillar Scholarship from the NADL that paid for her to take the CDT exam in ceramics which she recently passed. Her next step? To earn her MDT just as she watched her mother do. "I look forward to turning my bench light on in the morning and sitting down to my palette of possibilities for the day," she explains, "I'm so excited to take my career to the next level."