ARCUS LABORATORY is one of the premier dental laboratories in the US. It was founded in 1990 by Steven McGowan and is located on the north shore of Lake Washington, in Seattle. We are committed to evidence-based excellence with the materials and techniques we use to create your restorations. We attend and hold courses throughout the United States and internationally as well, keeping us on the cutting edge of material choice and technology. Our opinion is often sought by dental professionals and manufacturers to evaluate materials and techniques relating to dental technology.
Shaping the Future
This year-long series on the History of Modern Dental Technology in America was initiated by me, and our focus will be on the pioneers and innovators who played a crucial role in advancing dental technology in the United States.
Many thanks to the University of Washington School of Dentistry, especially Dr. John Townsend, for awarding me the Affiliate in Medical/Dental Practice. It is an incredible honor to be granted this affiliation. Over the past 20 years I have had an ongoing relationship with the Graduate Prosthodontic Program. I have taught classes, worked on literature review, and assisted the graduates with their laboratory work. It is very much appreciated that my work has been acknowledged and I look forward to future involvement.
Characteristics of Teeth
My article was published in the dental journal; Compendium. The dental laboratory journal; IDT, graciously decided to co-publish this article.
Characteristics of Teeth: A Review of Size, Shape, Composition, and Appearance of Maxillary Anterior Teeth
Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistrywas kind enough to publish my article in their March 2016 Issue. This article explains the very basics about anterior maxillary teeth. Most of this article also appears in Personality of Teeth: A Visual Encyclopedia.
Restorative dental materials have physical and optical properties that attempt to mimic the properties of teeth. Many modern monolithic ceramic materials have defined predictable crystalline structures that do not scatter light in the same way as a natural tooth. To compensate for these esthetic properties, the dental technician must layer different colors and opacities of material. Light scattering within homogenous monolithic materials makes the replication of teeth very difficult. The natural tooth section on the right is .55mm thick. From this cross section it is easy to see the optical complexities of tooth structure. The feldspathic ceramic cross section on the left is 1.5mm thick. This cross section shows the different layers of material that are necessary to mimic natural teeth. The sample in the center is a replica of the left sample. It is made from monolithic zirconia. The zirconia cross section shows the optical challenges the dental technician faces when using this material to match teeth. Monolithic materials have gained in popularity, but present many esthetic challenges.
Emerging Material Research
This fantastic article addresses many critical issues with today’s new ceramic systems for dentistry. It is essential for dental laboratories to know why materials are used, and how to properly use them.
Denry and Kelly also mention emerging ceramic systems which will be fun to follow. Thank you to Dr. Kelly for kindly sharing their research with me.
Several years ago I was given thousands of extracted teeth. These teeth were collected during volunteer work at clinics in the southeast of the US. This collection of teeth changed hands several times before they were given to me. It has been very helpful for me to study and photograph these teeth and I have always wondered if I could find a way to share this collection with others. A diverse collection of teeth is a treasure filled with useful information. About a year ago I decided to document these teeth with photography. The result is Personality of Teeth: A Visual Encyclopedia.
This electronic book has taken over a year to complete. For each type of tooth (maxillary central incisor, for example) there were hundreds of samples to choose from. Each tooth is photographed from five perspectives. In total, there are over 2,000 views of more than 500 teeth. I spent several weeks photographing these teeth from different views using various light sources. I finally settled on a technique that would best convey the form, color, and texture of these teeth. There are also study pages that describe landmarks and a glossary of terms.
The analyzing, sorting, cleaning and photographing of these teeth took hundreds of hours. I have learned so much from viewing these teeth through my macro lens, and blown up on my computer screen. I believe this project has elevated my work and has given me a new appreciation of the diversity of nature.
The Personality of Front Teeth
One of the most basic and valuable subjects necessary for dental professionals is dental anatomy. A fundamental component of dental anatomy is tooth morphology. There are many well known dental anatomy textbooks that tackle the complex topic of tooth form. In many cases these textbooks use artist’s renderings of teeth. They assign average measurements in an attempt to create a standard tooth shape for each tooth in the mouth. Artist or computer renderings of tooth shapes give basic information but don’t fully convey the rich diversity of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. In order to quantify this diversity I have sorted, cleaned, photographed, and measured 600 extracted maxillary incisors; 200 centrals, laterals, and cuspids. I have compiled my data in an article that has been submitted for publication. If and when this gets accepted, I will post the full article.