Walk through a dental lab and you smell the scents of craftwork. Wax, ceramics, acrylics, porcelain, plaster, kilns for heating dental products and forges for melting metals combine to create a distinctive odor. Work is taking place! Molds of teeth, of entire jawlines, copies of patients’ problems waiting for solutions occupy available desk space. Right here in Carmichael, the Marconi Dental Group has its own dental lab, staffed by Barry LaFond, a master technician. A future article will focus on our updated lab and Barry, but to help you understand the process of becoming a dental technician and working in a dental lab, we visited the training school for dental technicians at the world-famous Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Trinity College was established by Queen Elizabeth the First. As Ireland’s only school for dental technicians, it works alongside the university’s dental school to build crowns, dentures, bridges and implants for procedures performed by dental students. In this way, student technicians work with student dentists and both get a better grasp on the needs of their respective fields. After three years of training, a technician is ready to start work in a lab.

A technician’s task usually starts with a mold of an upper and lower jaw. From this exact cast, or perhaps a digital image of the jawlines, a technician creates an entirely new set of teeth for dentures or applies perfectly fitted crowns to dental implants. Computer-aided machines can carve out a new tooth from a block of material, based on the technicians input. Most technicians, however, like to create artificial teeth by hand, using very durable ceramics.

Dental technicians have the same interest in beautiful smiles that you find in dentists. “I knew I wanted to work in dentistry,” says Christian Tomita, a Trinity College graduate, “but I didn’t know whether to be a hygienist or a technician. Then I noticed that in order to join the technical school, the description said you had to be interested in ‘artistry.’ Then I knew, that was the program for me.” Tomita believes the technician’s work combines “art with an attention to detail.” His favorite assignment is making crowns with ceramic material added layer by layer, mimicking both the necessary shape of the original tooth and its color. “If I wanted to become a jeweler, I could. The work with metals, with molds, it’s all the same skills used in making jewelry. We just use these skills to make teeth.”

Much of the technician’s work involves waiting – ceramics are heated in kilns, acrylics are melted and cooled, metal is liquefied, poured and formed, porcelain is shaped with heat and presses – so a technician works on many patients’ orders simultaneously. Attention to detail is essential to keep things organized.

Yvette Kavanagh, a Trinity College instructor, is a published researcher in dental appliances and a professional technician for over fifteen years. She believes the variety is what makes the work so fascinating. “Every day I wake up excited to go to work and it has been that way for me since I first started as a dental technician.” Explaining the work on her lab bench, she points to each mold and impression and proceeds to describe each patient’s requirements. It’s obvious that the technician is just as concerned about the patient as the dentist, and realizes that their effort is a step towards enduring health and comfort for the client. As Christian Tomita states, “If I make a patient’s appliance properly, it might last them a lifetime! That is my goal as a dental technician.”

The work of the Marconi Dental Group in creating dental implants, repairing broken teeth, completing full mouth restorations and installing crowns requires the skilled assistance provided by our own dental lab, staffed by Barry LaFond. His craftsmanship and detail means that we can create fabulous smiles and restore dental health. If you require the services of a dental lab, we encourage you to contact our Carmichael dental office to meet with our dentist and technical team.

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Dr. Fischer

Dr. Fischer comes from Sandy City Utah, where he graduated from the University of Utah with a background in Medical Biology. Dr. Fischer then was awarded his DDS degree from Loma Linda University here in California. Prior to that, Dr. Fischer worked alongside his father for several years as a design engineer at his father’s dental company. Dr. Fischer has a strong passion for dentistry, he believes in providing his patients with the most modern and up-to-date procedures, and he truly enjoys the variations of procedures he gets to perform daily.

When not practicing dentistry, he can be found spending time with his family. Dr. Fischer and his wife Brittany have twins Kaitly and Kyle, and son Johnny. Outside of his professional activities, Dr. Fischer is also a true adventurist. He has travelled to many countries and enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, para gliding, camping, and hunting just to name a few.

Headshot of Dr. Y. Vinny Huang at Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Huang

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang received his Degree in Dental Surgery in his hometown of Taipei, Taiwan and then went on to receive his Masters in Science and Postgraduate Certificate in Prosthodontics from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.

He has been practicing dentistry since 1992 and his area of specialty is Prosthodontics, the treatment and handling of dental and facial problems. Prosthodontics involves the restoration of missing teeth and jaw structure. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang is also a Diplomate of the (ABP) American Board of Prosthodontics and an active member of the (CDA) California Dental Association and the (AAFP) American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and a fellow of the (ACP) American College of Prosthodontists. He is also fluent in Mandarin!

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang was fortunate enough to find his calling at a young age. He grew up watching his grandmother struggle with her dentures on many occasions and has been determined to help others just like her ever since. He is truly passionate about his work and finds great joy in creating beautiful smiles for his patients whether it be on their own or with the help of dental implants. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang makes it his personal mission to educate his patients and community on the importance of oral health and does so with honesty, professionalism and care.

When Dr. Y. Vinny Huang isn’t practicing dentistry or assisting the community, you will find him spending time with his wife and two daughters. He also enjoys being outdoors and staying active whether it be swimming, golfing or playing tennis.

Headshot of Dr. Visage of Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Visagé

Dr. Visagé graduated his dental degree from University of Pretoria in South Africa (1999). He practiced general dentistry in South Africa and England until 2002. He went on and completed a residency program in Periodontics and Oral Medicine, in South Africa to attain his Masters degree in 2006. He established a successful private specialist practice in Periodontics and Dental Implants. During that time he also served as secretary of the South African Society of Periodontology and still holds specialist registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

 

In 2014, Dr. Visagé and his family relocated to California, and he was invited to the prestigious Program for International Dentists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 2015, he received the OKU Dental Honour Society Dr Kramer S Award from the UCSF School of Dentistry. In 2016 he received the Dental Honour Society Membership Award and also the Award for Clinical Excellence & Mentoring (UCSF).  He obtained his American Doctorate of Dental Surgery (UCSF) in 2016.

 

The most enjoyable part of his work is getting to know the patients and being able to play a role in improving oral health, which contributes to quality of life. He is truly passionate about dentistry, but strikes a balance between his professional and personal lives.  He maintains his fitness through running, biking and hiking with his family. 

Dr. Visagé and his wife Karlien, have  a  daughter and a son.  When time allows, he and his family enjoys travelling and spending time together. They travel to South Africa as often as time allows, but also enjoy road trips in the USA.