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When Lee Culp, CDT—one of the most respected technicians in the world—wants to recognize you for excellence, it would be easy to let it go to your head. But Jack Marrano, CDT, is as modest as he is accomplished.
For instance, ask Marrano about his success—at age 34 he runs the multi-million-dollar Fixed Prosthodontics/Implants division of Microdental, one of the largest laboratories in the country—and he's quick to credit his six team leaders. "I couldn't do it without their wonderful hard work," says Marrano, a former Marine who joined the company two years ago with 12 years' experience, including three as a lab owner.
The division—which is almost completely digital—relies on 16 mills and three printing machines. Much of that equipment has been purchased during Marrano's tenure and part of his job is to create and implement new digital workflows for all of the department's products. In fact, Culp, Microdental's CTO, credits him with being "instrumental...
As a kid, James Grady never envisioned working at his father's laboratory; he wanted to "do his own thing." But then he grew up.
"It was when I was in college that I realized the opportunity I'd be passing up. How many people can graduate and get involved in an established business at the level I would be able to?" says James. So, after earning a BS in public relations from East Carolina University, he went back to school to earn another degree in dental technology so he could have the complete picture of the business.
In 2001, he joined the laboratory his father, Arey, had founded 25 years earlier. During the two to three years it took to learn the ropes, he gained perspective on some challenges he wanted to address. The biggest one: 99% of the laboratory's workload consisted of PFM restorations at a time when most of the industry had already started shifting to metal-free. Because he also wanted to streamline workflow, he knew CAD/CAM was the answer.
Initially, the lab outsourced...
Jensen Dental announced the rebranding of its Jensen Digital Solution as the Preciso Digital Dentistry Solution, a complete system of materials, CAD/CAM equipment, software, education and support that allows laboratories of all sizes to produce consistent results and transition to digital processes.
All Preciso equipment—including the Preciso S200 Scanner, the Preciso M200 Mill and Preciso M500 Mill—is 3M™ ESPE™ Lava™ materials-approved and validated to work with the latest materials from 3M ESPE, including Lava Plus High Translucency Zirconia and Lava Ultimate Restorative as well as Jensen's own line of lab-branded consumables. Jensen also released the Preciso CAD and Preciso CAM software, offering design and milling functionality with streamlined workflows.
In addition, the company launched the InSync FC system specifically designed for staining and glazing Lava Plus and Jensen HT Zirconia full contour restorations. It offers high light transmittance;...
When Jerry Giuliano Jr. opened his CAD/CAM-based laboratories on New Year's Day 2011, he had no employees, one scanner, one milling machine and an 800-sq-ft office space. Today, he has 14 employees, three scanners, four mills and a new 5,000-sq-ft space, and Giuliano says his business is on track to hit over a million dollars in sales by the end of the year.
Giuliano, a fourth-generation technician with multiple labs in his extended family, first saw the potential of CAD/CAM while working in his father's lab, Bio-Tech Prosthetics in Arlington Heights, IL. Although his father had his eye on retirement and didn't want to invest in pricey new equipment, the demand for CAD/CAM-based products ignited Jerry's entrepreneurial spirit and, since he already had a degree in Graphic Design, he wasn't intimidated by the technology. "Because of my strong computer background, I knew I could transfer my hands-on skills to the digital workflow," says Giuliano, who spent the next three years creating a...
Confident and passionate, Jessica Birrell believes there's no limit to what she can accomplish in the dental technology field. Since starting her laboratory three years ago, she's developed a successful niche for high-end smile design cases and now she's eager to branch out as an educator and share her knowledge.
Her educational philosophy is that it's critical to understand the foundations of a material in order to successfully use that material. She's just started lecturing for Ivoclar Vivadent and, for her presentations, has created an e.max "Playbook" that explains the material makeup, uses and layering techniques for the different e.max ingots.
"I'm teaching my courses like an art class. Technicians learn about the different mediums and build on that foundation by working with them to get a hands-on feel for the different techniques and uses. Once you understand the foundation, then you are free to play," says Birrell, who is publishing her first technical article this month in Dental...
Jerry Kaizer, Owner of Murray Kaizer, Inc., once had to kick John Finn out of the lab. "It was late and he said 'I'm not leaving until you leave,' but I wouldn't because I wanted to finish what I was working on," recalls Finn with a laugh. "He finally made me leave with him, but I had a key, so I went back. Now he knows he can't stop me."
Probably no one could. Since joining the lab 18 years ago, Finn fell in love with the removable field and hasn't looked back. "I sat down next to Jerry and I haven't moved since," he says. "It's like being in art class all day; who can complain about playing with wax and teeth and plaster? The more I learn, the more I want to know and not a day goes by that I don't want to come to work."
Today he manages the full denture department, plans to earn his certification in implants—his passion is high-end hybrid cases—and credits Kaizer with teaching him everything he knows. Finn is striving to mentor other technicians just as Kaizer mentored...
At first, you wouldn't know John Hodgkins considers himself an introvert. He's friendly and outgoing during a conversation, but admits he changes when there's a crown in front of him. "I love immersing myself. I'll have my headphones on and get totally lost in the work, only to look up and see that hours have gone by," he says.
Since 1993, Hodgkins has been working at six-person Bolton Dental Laboratory, where he's valued for his well-honed waxing and metal finishing skills as well as his work ethic. "Ever since I was a little girl coming in to my father's lab to play with the wax pots, John has always been such a hard worker," says McKenzie Holly Bolton, daughter of Owner Jeffrey Bolton. "Now that I've joined the lab, John has taught me so much. He really cares about the work that we do; his motivation is contagious."
Having had previous experience in a larger lab environment, Hodgkins says six-person Bolton Dental Laboratory is just the right fit. "In a smaller laboratory, you know...
Josef Kolbeck has accomplished a lot in his 12 years in the industry. He received his dental technology degree from the Universidad Latina of Costa Rica, served as Academic Coordinator in dental technology at that same university, owned his own lab and is currently the managing director of a five-person removable department at Town and Country Dental Studios in Freeport, NY.
Kolbeck is part technician, part innovator: he continually tests new materials and techniques to improve the lab's fabrication processes and has created many original techniques, including the Kolbeck Technique featured in the March 2012 issue of LMT. It uses a unique method of processing a fixed removable denture with the pouring technique which saves time and materials and increases accuracy. He has also developed a flexible hybrid technique that combines flexible structures with acrylics, and is in the process of developing the Kolbeck Flask, a method for simplifying acrylic denture processing.
In fact, more...
You might say his brother's loss was his gain. When someone at church offered Jose Martinez's brother a job at a local laboratory, his brother wasn't interested. But Martinez was.
"It was supposed to be in the model room, but when I got to the lab, I was told I'd be in the finishing department. I was a little intimidated; I saw those cutting discs and thought, 'Whoa, I'm going to lose a finger'," he laughs.
But he needn't have worried; he was a natural and was quickly up to speed in finishing techniques. During the next few years, he worked tirelessly—often putting in 14-hour days— learning all aspects of partial denture fabrication from the owner of the lab, the late Jim Higgins. When Mike Janes became president in 2006, Martinez gained even more knowledge. "I learned all of the fabrication techniques and mechanics from Jim, but Mike taught me how to assess a case and consider how the framework design would work for the patient," he says. "Neither of them ever gave up on...
Joshua Polansky hasn't had just any mentors. Although initially intending to become a dentist like his father, he worked in several laboratories during college and 'fell in love' with dental technology. However, it was in 2003 when he had a one-on-one apprenticeship with Master Technician Olivier Tric that Polansky knew he had found his calling.
"Studying with Olivier opened up a world of possibilities to me; it was the direct opposite of the kind of laboratories I had been exposed to," says Polansky. "He showed me it was possible to create an environment where you craft your own cases from start to finish, work closely with patients as well as doctors, and earn respect for yourself as a technician."
Polansky continued to immerse himself in the work, attending industry meetings and earning his Master's Degree in Dental Ceramics from UCLA. He also seized the opportunity to spend time studying with Klaus Müterthies in Germany and Walter Gebhard in Switzerland, shadowing them in their laboratories...
From a family of educators, Julian Infante, CDT, has both a love of learning and a gift for teaching.
He earned his Associate's degree from Bates Technical College and eventually joined Modern Dental Lab—then called Northwest Labs—in Bellevue, WA in 2006. Since then, he has earned his CDT in crown and bridge, helped develop the lab's implant and CAD/CAM departments and moved into a consulting role, advising clients on everything from materials to digital impression systems to implants—which is his true passion.
"I'm fascinated by the high level of precision that's engineered into the implant systems and the amount of accuracy that's required from the technician to complete an implant case successfully," says Infante, Technical Manager.
To learn as much as he could about the specialty, Infante has taken hours of clinical training at various conferences, is now a member of the AAID, ACP and ICOI, and plans to earn the new CDT in implants next year.
Infante also helps...
PEEK—poly-ether-ether-ke-tone—was the talk of the IDS in Cologne last year; now, it’s come to the U.S. in the form of the JUVORA Dental Disc made from PEEK sourced directly and exclusively from Invibio® Biomaterial Solutions, a global leader of PEEK biomaterials. Available from JUVORA Inc., the disc received FDA clearance for milling frameworks for complete and partial removable dentures and implant overdentures earlier this year.
“PEEK has had some use historically in dental applications such as abutments and healing caps. However, now with the JUVORA Dental Disc, dental professionals in the U.S. have the ability to use CAD/CAM technology for precision designing PEEK frameworks for removable prostheses,” explained Nicole Czechowski, Business Development Manager, JUVORA Dental Innovations.
The JUVORA Dental Disc is lightweight, biocompatible, radiolucent, highly wear and abrasion resistant, and has elastic properties similar to that of human bone. JUVORA’s...