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Off the Bench: Dental Lab Inspiration and Expression

Dental Lab ProductsDental Lab Products April 2022
Volume 44
Issue 2

Artistic inspiration and expression aren’t just limited to what goes on at the workbench—they can affect all sorts of aspects in the lab.



  • Dane Barlow, owner of Smiles by Dane in Boise, Idaho: “It definitely helps with communication. It’s like with a magazine. There are going to be people that are going to be creative with your graphics, infographics, or even advertisements. And then you have other people who are great writers, and they paint with their words, but they may not always be able to do with pictures what their words do. They might get stuck with the fact that, to them, words have such a deeper meaning and paint a much better picture in their own head. When they try to do something with imagery, it never meets up to what they had envisioned in their head. With dentistry, I think we do run into an issue when, especially amongst artists, where they don’t always communicate the same.”
  • Lee Culp, CEO of Sculpture Studios in Apex, North Carolina: “Artistry touches everything from how I design all my labs, all the internal looks of the lab, the paint, the paintings [to] our marketing. We do all of that internally—we don’t rely on anybody. We’ve got artistic touches at every point of our lab to kind of keep a common message and look and feel.
  • Our laboratory is actually in a converted tobacco warehouse, so it’s very cool looking, very artistic. And then when I go home, I make custom knives and custom writing instruments.”
  • Richard Jentsch, head of research and development for Opulent Digital Specialists and president of DENTwire, LLC: “I have met people in real life after following them on social media and felt like I already knew them. Without social media, things would certainly be different. Inspiration, or rather confirmation and information wherever it might come from, can indeed help with negotiations.”
  • Daniel Swamy, director of technology USA at Aidite (Qinhuangdao) Technology Co, Ltd: “The only way to serve the dental community is actually to form a very symbiotic relationship. So if the dentist doesn’t do his thing well, the technician will never be able to produce a restoration that is, or should be, optimum quality. And it goes the other way too. If the dentist does his work beautifully [but] you don’t have a capable artist or a technician that can produce that work, then it’s not a good relationship. You’re always going to need artists. We are always going to use our hands to create the best product—whether it’s guiding your hands on the computer, or doing it the conventional way, or [doing] something in between to achieve the best results.”
  • Tom Zaleske, owner of Matrix Dental Laboratory and Consulting in Crown Point, Indiana: “I use my artistry to promote my work. When I solicit for accounts, they get a portfolio of the cases that I’ve done. I try to show them stuff that’s out of the mouth, and I try to show them things that are in the mouth. I use my abilities to bring in clients, but then I prove to the clients that it’s more than just something that looks nice—that we do our best to make it function and fit nicely and to fit the patient’s personality.”
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