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01. You opened your dental technology lab when you were 21. What do you find fascinating in your profession? In my opinion, dental technology is a wonderful profession. I love my job because it is a combination of artisanship and genuine traditions that requires a large margin of artistic creativity. Those who are serious about this profession are faced every day with ambitious challenges and have many occasions for professional growth.
01. You opened your dental technology lab when you were 21. What do you find fascinating in your profession?
In my opinion, dental technology is a wonderful profession. I love my job because it is a combination of artisanship and genuine traditions that requires a large margin of artistic creativity. Those who are serious about this profession are faced every day with ambitious challenges and have many occasions for professional growth.
02. When you were still a young technician, you wrote your first book, “Anatomy of the occlusal surface.” Did you know this book is still used as a textbook in dental technology training courses?
Yes, I learned about this and I am very pleased. Although the book is “old,” its contents are still up-to-date.
03. Your laboratory has been and still is very successful, so why did you decide to operate at an industrial level and establish the Zirkonzahn company in 2003?
I tried to create the perfect job but to reach these objectives you need top quality equipment and materials, and often enough, the commercial stuff was highly unsatisfactory. By working with renowned companies, I dedicated myself to developing new products and improving the characteristics of the ones currently available. I had to learn a lot of new things, but in the end, in 2003, Zirkonzahn was born together with the Zirkograph, the first manual milling machine for zirconia that sold successfully throughout the world.
04. Are there different quality levels of zirconia?
Excellent quality zirconia is the cornerstone in making excellent restorations. High quality for us is a primary need. This is the reason we have developed our own production process and why we purchase the raw materials for making our blocks only from the best producers worldwide. This procedure allows us to control the quality of our blocks throughout their entire production chain. To verify whether it is top quality zirconia, one must consider stiffness and compressive strength, hardness, the Weibull module, the size and color of the material.
05. Could you briefly explain the features of Prettau® zirconia?
One of the main problems in ceramic restorations is the chipping of the ceramic. The Prettau technology that I have developed is a method that uses 100% zirconia to make bridges that do not require use of ceramics except in the buccal area. It’s obvious that with no ceramic there will be no chipping. This is very important, especially in the case of patients affected by bruxism. To achieve this we developed a special kind of zirconia and a special coloring technique.
06. How was this new idea received?
This technology was received very well all over the world. The applications to attend our refresher courses are growing constantly. To date, technicians are working with the Prettau methodology in more than 80 countries. Technicians and dentists alike, not to mention patients, are all fully satisfied with the results. Even Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Julian Lennon and Mahmud Abbas wear Prettau crowns.
07. In what way does the 5-axis CAD/CAM 5-TEC system differ with respect to other equipment available on the market today?
This system has been developed by a team of dental technicians and we have developed each single technical detail to adapt it to workshop needs. We had to acquire a vast knowledge of the topic and we analyzed the problems with great amounts of introspection with our programmer until we reached the result we technicians had set out to achieve. It can be equipped and changed easily and is ready for the implementation of any future technologies.
08. What new technologies and products does Zirkonzahn have in store for us?
We are currently working on several projects regarding the CAD/CAM system, including new modules and a modular laser system, an airbrush painting technique, and a milling head for metal milling. We recently launched the next generation of sintering ovens and a product I am especially fond of is our new CAD/CAM M3 equipment.
09. Why another CAD/CAM system?
The M3 is a CAD/CAM system especially designed to penetrate the world of computer-assisted milling. The key feature is the upgradability of the milling unit that can go from 3 to 5 axes + 1, thus adapting to the growing application requirements of the dental technology labs.
10. Finally, will the modern CAD/CAM milling systems make the work of qualified dental technicians obsolete?
No, the future of our profession is safe. Obviously, the progressive development in technology will change the everyday work in the lab. But in the end, I am certain that behind the machine there is always man, and no machine will ever take away from man his ability to think, his creativity and his esthetic sense. Man will instead increase his will to create something special and to be the master of his creations. Only those who create something special shall rise above the masses and be crowned with success.