Onsite Laboratory Technology
Quality Laboratory Work is an Essential Ingredient of Quality Dentistry
World-class dental esthetics and reconstruction is a matter of teamwork. The dentist prepares your teeth for veneers or crowns and then will later bond or cement your restorations into place on your prepared teeth. However, it is the technician who actually makes your ceramic veneers or crowns in the laboratory. This is why it is so critical that the dentist and technician work together as a true team. As an architect, engineer, and master builder work together to fabricate a beautiful building, the dentist and technician collaborate to produce outstanding dentistry.
Dr. Arthur Chal and Certified Dental Technician Rick Durkee, CDT, AAACD have studied together and worked together for 36 years, which makes them one of the world’s leading doctor-technician teams. They have studied with the foremost dental ceramists in Europe and the U.S.A.
The photograph shows Rick Durkee, CDT, AAACD, seated at his workbench and operating a microscope. Very few dental laboratory technicians take the trouble to create their ceramic work with the use of a microscope.
Rick Durkee is a truly accomplished artist, an award-winning amateur photographer and a master ceramist. First of all, he is a certified dental technician (CDT). Only 5% of technicians in the U.S.A. are certified. In addition, he is only one of 32 master ceramists in the world who have passed the stringent accreditation examination of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Dr. Chal and Mr. Durkee studied with a German master technician, Klaus Muterthies in Gutersloh, Germany.
A very, very difficult technique utilized by Dr. Chal and Mr. Durkee to fabricate extremely natural and beautiful ceramic porcelain veneers and dental crowns is called “refractory ceramics”. Less than 1% of the restorations done worldwide utilize this demanding technique. The totally ageless natural beauty of the final restoration, veneer or crown, is achieved by building color from within. A porcelain powder and liquid are mixed together and then hand built, as by a sculptor, to create the ceramic restoration. Typically, fifteen different porcelain color pigments will be incorporated by Mr. Durkee to produce the finished ceramic. Dr. Chal will make final color adjustments when he bonds these restorations into your mouth.
Dr. Chal refers to this very, very high level of dentist-technician collaboration as his “full-custom” level of esthetic dentistry that he delivers to every patient. A detailed presentation on refractory ceramics is included in one of Dr. Chal’s lectures.
You may be also interested in reading about the new zirconium ceramic technology. Dr. Chal and Mr. Durkee are working with the new Zeno zirconium ceramics, a material that is referred to as “ceramic steel,” because of its high tensile strength. But more than strength, it is exquisitely beautiful, and the technology makes it extremely accurate. In order to have complete control over the process, Dr. Chal and Mr. Durkee have invested in the CAD/CAM machinery to be able to have total quality control. Because of the cost of this equipment, most dentists will send out work like this to a distant laboratory where the person creating the restoration doesn’t even know the patient. Experience has shown that this arrangement promotes a shallow interest in quality control.
You may also be interested in reading about the long-standing relationship between Willi Geller, the father of modern dental ceramics, Dr. Chal and Mr. Durkee.