We sat down with Daniel Alter MSc, MDT, CDT, owner and operator of a lab for 17 years and now full time professor of Restorative Dentistry, to discuss his favorite tools that he uses daily as a dental technician and the essentials he keeps on his bench to be successful in today’s industry.
Daniel keeps a color wheel at his bench that he picked up from an art store. It serves as a great and inexpensive reference of what to do to increase or tone down chroma and verify if you’re going in the right direction. On the front are the primary and secondary colors for chroma and on the back are some of the values. It’s common to get stumped when you want to achieve a certain shade so the color wheel will help you figure out what stains to choose to get the best possible outcome.
Another great tool is a Fibonacci gauge for working on diagnostic waxups or mockups in the virtual world because it gives the most ideal results and abides by the golden rule of proportion. Daniel also uses a boley gauge to measure the width and length of teeth as well as a gauge for figuring out how much to grind and eliminate because often times technicians are limited with space. With new materials such as zirconia and lithium disilicate, the amount of reduction or layering is significantly less than previously because we no longer have to mask out metal and opaque making these tools important to keep on one’s bench.
Contouring in the pre-sintered or green state determines the way the end result will be. If you’re doing slight layering, Daniel recommends layering 0.3mm to obtain translucency. When staining and glazing, Daniel plans with contrasting colors to create a monolithic crown using Renfert’s lay:art style set brushes and color stain tray. The GC America Luster Paste and Zirlux brand are great to use.
Some of the other tools Daniel keeps at his desk are:
- Meisinger Luster Finishing Tools
- Harvest Dental Super Peg II – Easy to syringe and holds through the bake. It’s easy to remove which is key.
- Vita Shade Guide – You want to be able to match the proper shade. Some zirconias are skewed one way or another whether it’s through value or chroma.
- MPF EVOLUTION: Master Ceramic Palette
- Wagner Contouring tools
The biggest point to drive home is that often times there are multiple ways to achieve the same results. The best tool is dental intelligence – without education, reading, collaboration and participation with other dental technicians, these tools are only tools. It’s not the how but the why that allows you to grow your skills. Continue to strengthen communication between the lab and the dentist even if that’s by keeping images of the case you’re working on if you cannot see the patient in person like Daniel does. Continue to learn as much as you can and combine CAD/CAM and artistry and you will achieve the best possible outcome for the patient.
For more of what’s on Daniel’s bench, check out the full video here.
Check out www.cap-us.com/mybench for other videos as well.