The techno-artistry of the dental lab technician

July 26, 2016




In any industry you’ll see changes and advancements in technology over time. You will also see how some industry “purists” refuse to adapt to the changes. I can think of several #neverdigital type photographers who swore they would only use film for their careers as digital cameras made the rise.  I’m sure back before slicing bread was the coolest thing around, some baker was angered by the lack of appreciation for his unsliced, meticulously hand-crafted loaf.


In the dental laboratory world, CAD/CAM technology, 3D printing and the like have replaced older, traditional methods. But, remember… there was a time when the tried and true method of replacing teeth was using teeth from a corpse or extracting the ivory from walrus and elephant tusks.


Things change. By embracing new technologies and transferring the skills of your craft to the newer methods, you are in fact keeping the artistry alive. Learning how to produce the same (or better) results with new technology is an art in and of itself. Just because methods may change, proper anatomical and occlusal features shouldn’t be neglected. Finding the perfect realistic shade and stain or making a crown appear as if it has aged along with the surrounding teeth are part of the craft that should never be discarded. Instead, by embracing new technologies, technicians should learn how to replicate these fine details using the new methods and pass them on to the next generation of technicians.


There may always be patients who would rather replace their teeth with glowing-white Chiclets than pay for realistic, natural looking, aesthetically pleasing implants but we owe it to the patient that is concerned more about their appearance than their pocketbook to continue refining our craft and working with new technologies making our work increasingly better.

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