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Perfectionist MDT Finds Balance Between CAD/CAM, Artistry
Digital technology provides strong foundation for handcrafted esthetics
A passion for superior dentistry led Vincent Devaud, CFC, MDT, to become an in-demand laboratory technician in southern California. Devaud has clients who fly in from other countries, including Hollywood stars, to have him design their smiles—so frequently that he moved his laboratory last month from Pasadena to Beverly Hills, where many of his foreign patients stay while in town.
“Passion for a beautiful smile is what drives me every day,” the Switzerland native says. “I am a firm believer that each patient is unique and should be looked upon differently.”
Devaud earned a 4-year degree in Switzerland and trained for another 2 years to become an MDT. He has trained with renowned technician Willi Geller and worked for Charles Pincus, DDS, founder of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. He now owns Vincent Devaud Smile Design Center; teaches at the University of Southern California and UCLA; and consults for various dental manufacturers and dental laboratories.
Because of his passion for superior quality, Devaud prefers to see patients in person whenever possible, whether visiting the dentist’s office or hosting them at his facility—hence the move to Beverly Hills. Every detail from capturing photos of the client’s existing smile to the patient’s esthetic goals can help produce a better result.
“I do everything in my power to optimize the results,” Devaud says.
Devaud values handcraftsmanship but says CAD/CAM technology has reached a point at which it is the best option for certain parts of the restorative process. He draws a comparison to his native country’s famous watchmakers, who are known for their fine craftsmanship.
“Even the best Swiss watches today use CAD/CAM for certain parts,” Devaud says. “The art that goes on the outside is something that I have to maintain manually. CAD/CAM is a wonderful way to implement successful steps, the foundation of the case. The artistry goes on top of that.”
Always in search of a better way to provide optimal results for his dentists and their patients, Devaud recently undertook a case for Robert A. Lowe, DDS, in which he fabricated two adjacent posterior restorations using Argen SLM Captek for one and ArgenZ Esthetic Zirconia for the other.
“I was very skeptical that I would be able to come close to Captek layered with porcelain and a zirconia material,” Devaud says.
The full-contour zirconia restoration, which was for tooth No. 31, was milled at Argen Digital and the results far exceeded Devaud’s expectations.
“I received the restoration and had literally no touch-up to do, which was extremely impressive,” he says. “I have sent my cases to various milling centers, and a fair amount of touch-up is usually necessary. In this case, the restoration literally had a perfect occlusion, an excellent contour, and an excellent margin. I spent no more than 5 minutes finalizing everything under a 20x microscope.”
The Captek coping impressed him as well. Fabricated by Argen Digital with selective laser melting (SLM) technology, the coping needed only the margin finished, which Devaud says took less than 10 minutes.
“The density of the material was absolutely spot-on,” he says. “There were no gray or questionable areas. The capillary infiltration of the ‘P’ and ‘G’ simply could not be better.”
Devaud then sent the case to Lowe, who placed the restorations and sent him a photo of the case in the patient’s mouth. There were no adjustments necessary.
“The picture spoke for itself,” Devaud says. “As Argen had promised, it was difficult to distinguish between the monolithic zirconia crown and the Captek. The results were quite stunning considering monolithic zirconia crystaline structure is very different optically versus traditional feldspathic porcelain over Captek. Theoretically, the final esthetic of the 2 different materials should not even come close. Considering that zirconia is a much stronger restorative material than any others on the market with similar esthetics, that is very exciting.”
Devaud says he has been working with Argen for approximately 25 years, and he calls it “hassle-free dentistry with the new digital offerings.”
“All you need to do is plan your case and follow through,” he says. “All the steps have been simplified. You get a quality product within a couple days. You can focus your own efforts on applying the artistic element and developing the color, content, and function.”
The result is superior dentistry, which is Devaud’s goal.
“We can help change lives,” he says, “one smile at a time.”