Who Needs Technicians… Hire a Gamer

Who Needs Technicians… Hire a Gamer

By now we have all figured out you can not simply hire a gamer to design your CAD/CAM restorations. It sounded great 5 years ago and some even tried it, but soon figured out that even though the software is pretty amazing, it takes more than computer skills to design a crown.

Conventional wisdom says, just recruit one of your waxers or metal finishers. Well, it seems that doesn’t always work.

Female Dental Technician GamerAs time passes, some of us, not all, have taken off the rose colored glasses and have begun to look for the solution to the problem. It turns out that we didn’t have to look very far. The answer was what it almost always is—training and education.

We either need to train the gamer, (who is great on the computer), in dental technology, or our trusted lab tech (who is a pretty good waxer) in computer skills. Easy, right??

Well, that doesn’t always work either. We found it wasn’t that simple to train the gamer in dental technology. It took too long, sometimes they couldn’t grasp the concepts and some of them simply just didn’t like the work.

Our trusted waxer/metal finisher was “game” to learn the software skills, but we often found they were slow and the crowns and frameworks—still needed a lot of work.

CAD/CAM Dental BridgeAt the end of the day, you are getting the job done, but you might want to ask; is this as good as it gets?? We have every reason to expect that this “new” technology (over 30 years) will not only make our jobs easier and faster, but also produce very high quality.

Whether you are milling, printing or pressing, if your reality falls short of your expectations with CAD/CAM, and I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, the solution is still the same—-YOUR EMPLOYEES NEED MORE TRAINING AND EDUCATION. Not a general, over the shoulder concept, but precise, fundamental concepts, including anatomy, contour, morphology, occlusion and framework design.

Confused Dental TechncianThe good and bad of computer aided design is that while it produces exactly what is designed, the design must be exactly what is required. So it is ever more critical that the designer know and utilize precise procedures to produce every restoration.

Whether you are training gamers, art students, graphic artists or Fred and Nancy from the lab, PTC has the training program or course that will give them the precise understanding of the fundamentals and 3 dimensional concepts they need to design the trouble free crowns and frameworks that you expect from your investment in CAD/CAM.


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  1. Ernie Pettengill  June 23, 2013

    Good write up Jim. I’d like to discuss this topic further with you at your convenience. Thanks


  2. Jonathan penchas  January 11, 2014

    Great article. We need all the help we can get starting our digital lab. Who do we hire to get us started in this venue?
    Who can help us understand our options and hold our hand through this process?

  3. Jacky  January 26, 2014

    I am a very accomplished waxer who left the dental lab business to run the office of a family business for ten years. I came back to my trade as a waxer in 2010. I have barely, since then, made as a waxer in the four years I have been scabbing together piecework where ever I can find it, what I made each a year before I left. Now. I see RXs for Zirconia crowns in labs completely bypassing all of the in house techs and being sent out to labs that have the technology to produce Zirconia. I suppose my saving grace is that I learned computers very well and I am fast on them, too. I would love to learn the new technology. After all, it is phasing out what used to be a very good career at one time, mine, as a crown and bridge waxer. Do you have any suggestions as to where it is I should look for training in cad cam technology?

    • Misty Nolder  July 19, 2014

      Jacky. Hello I have been doing CAD/CAM restorations for 6 years and was trained through E4D/DID Technolgies. I have fabricated well over 6,500 restorations in 6 years. And I am a dental assistant. I just graduated from Dental Lab Program. Most dental offices have CAD/CAM technology. Along either most labs.


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