Understanding Our World
Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT
We live in a time when technology and products are consistently evolving, and unique innovations further push the status quo in both our personal and professional lives. Understanding the workings and interdependence of technologies, materials science, and the oral mechanism has never been more critical. Gaining a good grasp of these modes of fabrication is important; however, there isn't one magical material, technology, or product that can satisfy all dental restorative needs.
Manufacturers are constantly striving to offer best-in-class products to meet all of these needs. An astute laboratory professional needs to stay abreast of all these offerings as well as engage in qualified continuing education and community learning—whether in study clubs or social media—to appropriately offer their consultative assessment to their dental clients and provide optimal results for the patient. Dentists are oftentimes inundated with the onslaught of information on "bigger, better, and greater" technologies via conferences, educational venues, and advertisements, and therefore they rely heavily on their trusted dental laboratory to ascertain the best treatment processes and material for their patients' case.
As dental laboratory professionals, we all need to look at these options from both micro and macro perspectives to advise appropriately. From a micro perspective, we need to be increasingly knowledgeable on the individual aspects of fabrication and understand their indications, limitations, and counter-indications when working up a case. From a macro perspective, we need to visualize how all the individual components will come together to achieve successful esthetic results with longevity. The two perspectives will offer great value to the dentists and ultimately contribute to successful outcomes and relationships.
Unfortunately, the oral system is often not thoroughly considered. The occlusion schemes and any abnormal functions, once recognized, will redirect the restorative team to adjust or alter their material selection in order to meet the intended forces a prosthesis will need to endure. Similarly, when working up a shade match, the underlying tooth preparation shade may affect the final outcome, depending on materials chosen. If the material exhibits robust translucency—which is sometimes desired in order to achieve a natural look—this too must be considered in the final shade outcome, particularly if the underlying preparation is dark or exhibits significantly different colors. Correspondingly, cementing and bonding, while typically clinical considerations, should be well understood by dental laboratory professionals since these processes too may affect the final shade outcome, which is dependent on the shade or color the dentist selects in their bonding protocol (white, clear, or shaded).
Understanding the individual fabrication model is critically important. Equally important is understanding how all the individual parts make up the whole. This is what leads to successful outcomes and great confidence in our dental laboratories and valuable expertise, for our dental clientele. It is my honor and pleasure to elevate and inspire with knowledge.