After apprenticing with Olivier Tric, Joshua Polansky spent time in Europe studying under master technicians including Klaus Mutertheis. He then earned his Masters degree in dental ceramics at the UCLA Center for Esthetic Dentistry under Dr. Edward McLaren, and continued his training under Jungo Endo and Hiroaki Okabe at UCLA’s advanced prosthodontics and maxillofacial program. Polansky then moved back to Cherry Hill, N.J. and founded Niche Dental Studio, a specialized lab serving local, national and international clients with a dedication to improved dentist-technician communication and creating dental restorations that mimic nature in every way.
Designed to provide labs with an effortless casting process that requires no special training, the Neo Super Cascom automatic countertop vacuum and pressure casting machine features computer controlled timing and temperatures for consistent casting results.
A compact, air-cooled machine that requires no specialized electrical connection, the Neo Super Cascom features a specialized ceramic resistance heater that does not overheat and maintains a consistent temperature with a maximum fluctuation of 1-2 degrees C.
This allows casting to be done at the lowest possible temperature, which translates to porosity-free dense castings with ideal alloy characteristics. Under a microscope it is easy to see the smooth surfaces and sharp margins that can contribute to longer life for the completed restorations.
With a large capacity of 150 grams, it can work with larger amounts of alloy and is suitable for casting gold, silver, precious, semi-precious, nickel-chrome and chrome cobalt materials. It features programmable casting cycles for the different materials and is capable of melting in an air or argon gas atmosphere as well as capable of casting with pressurized air or pressurized argon gas, which works to prevent oxidization of the alloy and results in cleaner castings. Additionally, a pocket beeper can be removed from the machine so a technician can set the alloy to melt while working away from the machine, and will then be alerted when the alloy is ready to cast.
After being introduced to the Neo Super Cascom while in school at UCLA, Polansky decided it would be a good investment for his lab because of the system’s simplicity, ease of use, and most importantly, the accuracy of its castings.
“When you work under a microscope you can see just how much more dense it is with this thing. There’s less porosity,” he said. “Also there’s way fewer miscasts.”
In the three years he’s had the Neo Super Cascom, Polansky said he can recall maybe just one miscast. He believes his investment in casting machine has saved him on time, materials and the frustration of dealing with unexpected setbacks.
“I’ve definitely made my money back in time, in no miscasts and also in saving alloy,” he said. “Nothing is worse than miscasting and doing things over.”
The simplicity of the system is another advantage that helps Polansky and Niche work efficiently. While traditional casting techniques require a lot of attention both before, during and after the process, the Neo Super Cascom can be operated by just pushing a few buttons. Polansky said the system is incredibly easy to explain and he’d be confident in quickly teaching someone off the streets to cast for him.
“I don’t have to worry about them overheating it, I don’t have to worry about it burning down my building, it’s basically like pressing a button,” he said. “I can kind of just throw the stuff in there and hit a button and everything comes out really super clean.”
While he appreciates the ease of use and the savings in time and materials, Polansky is most impressed by the high quality castings he is able to produce with his Neo Super Cascom. He does much of his work under a microscope, so the quality of the copings, frameworks and bars he casts are easy for him to see. The density of the casts and the sharp margins stand out, and this gives him confidence that he won’t be using excess alloy or spending too much time finishing parts that have been cast.
And for a lab like his, casting and working with metals is an everyday thing. While he does some all-ceramic cases, porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations make up more than two thirds of the work done at Niche. This means he has the system casting something at least once or twice a day. Knowing the parts he casts will be accurate helps him deliver PFM restorations on a timetable that works well for his clients, and his trust in the machine helps him maximize his time. If he sets something to cast at the end of the day on a Friday, Polansky said he returns to Niche on Monday with the confidence that it will be ready for him to build up and finish first thing.
The remote beeper system is another feature he enjoys because he can set up his alloy to melt and then move on to another task, knowing he can jump back to the Neo Super Cascom to start the casting once it beeps to alert him to the end of the melt cycle.
This is especially handy at Niche because the lab is connected to a dental office, and Polansky said he often is called next door to answer a question or consult on a shade. The size of the system is another advantage for a smaller lab like Niche, Polansky said, while adding that the ease of use, simple training process and dense, accurate casts make the Neo Super Cascom just as good a fit for a larger, production-focused lab.
“If you’re in my setting it’s amazing. It’s quiet, there’s no torch, there’s no fumes. It’s just very simple and it’s pretty compact,” he said. “I think it can go in any lab. To be honest, I think it will be better in a production lab.”
Polansky admits the system wasn’t the most economical casting option for his lab, but the investment has paid off for Niche. The time savings from ease of use and especially the rarity of miscasts have allowed him and his lab to be more productive, while the accuracy and quality of the cast parts he produces means a higher quality end result. Polansky said the ease of use and quality give him confidence when approaching complex metal-based restorations and he can begin every case knowing the quality of his cast parts will match the quality he demands from himself when layering ceramics atop the cast frameworks.
“When you talk about metal work this is definitely the cream of the crop,” he said. “I can tell you for sure, that I have confidence when I cast it. Now I don’t think twice.”