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Technician's Journey Leads to Successful Small Laboratory
High-end materials help produce quality restorations
Lucas Lammott learned to set high standards for restorative dentistry even before he knew he would pursue a long-term dental laboratory career. Lammott started working at a New Hampshire laboratory at age 17 because his mother, Diane, was a dental hygienist and believed his interest in model work, drawing, and photography would translate well. Lammott ended up working for 7 years for Charles Upham, a New Hampshire laboratory owner who taught him the value of marginal integrity and that saying something was "good enough" often meant it was anything but.
Lammott eventually left the laboratory and moved to Los Angeles, playing guitar in a band and then working in security on the Sunset Strip. However, after meeting his now-wife, Vignette-Noelle, Lammott decided he needed a more career-oriented path, so he returned to the dental laboratory profession. He worked at a few laboratories around Los Angeles before moving to Chicago. There, his passion for the profession emerged when a patient sent a bouquet of flowers to thank him for a 10-unit veneer case, and the dentist sent a Polaroid photo of the case in the mouth. Lammott still has that photo.
"While the patient was happy, finding flaws in that photo made me hungry to learn," he says. "I decided that if I was going to continue in this profession, then I needed to push myself harder to become better."
Lammott attended courses and read books, including one by Pascal Magne, DMD, MSc, PhD.
"Looking through those restorations in the mouth and how they mimic natural dentition," he says, "that was my ‘aha' moment."
Lammott eventually moved back to the New England area, settling in the seaside town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He worked there with Edward Rosenthal, who introduced him to the work of revered technicians such as Makoto Yamamoto and Walter Gebhardt.
Lammott opened his own laboratory in 2014. He worked for Custom Automated Prosthetics (CAP) for a little more than a year but kept his laboratory open during that time, and he now runs a healthy business, M31 Dental Studio, doing mostly the type of work he prefers.
"In the past, I sometimes found myself with 10 cases on my bench, and eight of them had subpar work from the dentist," Lammott says. "It was conflicting because I wanted to put the same effort into every case, but that is hard when the dentist is not providing what I consider to be appropriate dentistry."
In his own laboratory now, Lammott strives to provide restorations that he would put in his own mouth or his family members' mouths.
"I want to work with dentists who have the same ideas about what an appropriate dental restoration is," he says.
In keeping with that philosophy, Lammott was hesitant to embrace zirconia for some time. Even once milling technology was able to provide sufficient marginal integrity, the esthetics did not meet his standards-until he was introduced to Amann Girrbach's Ceramill Zolid line.
Lammott's first experience with the line was working on sample cases using Ceramill Zolid FX Multilayer Preshaded, which features varying levels of translucency and strength within each disc.
"I was really blown away by it," he says. "I thought it was absolutely gorgeous. I liked the fact that the strength decreased toward the incisal edge.
"Then, I had a chance to do a full mandibular restoration, opposing an old PFM metal-ceramic bridge that had just destroyed the patient's lower dentition. That was my first intraoral case with this material, and it just looked incredible. That was when I made the decision that if I was going to do full-contour zirconia, this was what I would use."
Lammott utilizes Ceramill Zolid Multilayer FX sometimes for anterior or full-arch restorations but primarily for monolithic posterior work.
"That is just a very beautiful posterior restoration," he says.
He also frequently uses Ceramill Zolid FX HT.
"That is perfect for getting a higher translucency, but it really pops when you add a microlayer of ceramic onto it," he says. "It is strong enough to do long-span bridges or frameworks. I have used it for frameworks and layered it completely, which helps get the color of the natural dentition to come through a little bit. You can use it for monolithic single crowns as well, but I use it for cases that need some internal staining and layering."
Lammott particularly appreciates the confidence he is able to have in the quality of Amann Girrbach's zirconia.
"It is made in Austria, utilizing a very careful process with the best materials," he says. "I really like to know the background of the company and materials I'm using."
With confidence in his materials, Lammott has found happiness and success with his laboratory.
"I want my work to be valued," he says. "I don't like the term boutique; I just want to do high-quality dentistry that meets a certain standard."
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