Legacy Laboratories: ArTech Dental Ceramics

September 19, 2012

ArTech Dental Ceramics' name says it all. It reflects the mission of this small, family-owned, Fort Collins, Colo. based dental lab, which is to combine art and technology to produce esthetically pleasing and functional restorations.

ArTech Dental Ceramics' name says it all. It reflects the mission of this small, family-owned, Fort Collins, Colo. based dental lab, which is to combine art and technology to produce esthetically pleasing and functional restorations.

The company was founded by Steve Hornback, CDT, who got into the dental industry when he served in the U.S. Army. He was looking at what options he had for the training he would do while in the service when he bumped into a friend of his father’s. The man, who was an army officer, encouraged him to consider being a dental technician and showed him the dental lab.

“We walked into the dental lab and I said, 'This is what I want to do,'" Hornback recalled. “Making things really appealed to me.”

The army provided solid training that launched him onto his career path.

“I thought it was excellent training,” Hornback said.

Following his army service, Hornback settled in Tuscon, Ariz., where he worked managing a large lab for about 12 years. When he decided to open his own business, he needed to set it up somewhere beyond the 250-mile radius that came as a stipulation in the non-compete clause in his contract.

Hornback and his family decided they liked the Fort Collins area, and in 1988, Hornback started his lab there. Today, the lab primarily serves dentists in northern Colorado, and ships restorations to other states including Wyoming, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arizona and Arkansas.

Keeping the lab small allows Hornback to keep a close eye on quality which is a priority for him. 

“I have control over the quality and the day-to-day running of the business,” he said. 

The company has incorporated new technologies including a CAD/CAM milling system and a scanner.

“I do the scanning and design myself,” he said. “We try to stay on top of things.”

Implants are an increasing part of the business. 

“It’s growing all the time,” Hornback said. “And a lot of the implant systems have gotten easier to work with.”

Hornback has been joined in the business by his son, Ray, a technician, who handles model work, ceramics and glazing and finishing.

Continuing to advance their training is another way the lab displays its commitment to quality. The Hornbacks have done continuing education-both lectures and hands-on training--with such industry leaders as Claude Sieber and Lee Culp. 

Being available to his clients when they have a question about a difficult case is a priority for Hornback, who always answers his own phone, and has no plans to change that. 

“It’s definitely a personal touch,” he said. “I’m easily accessible.”