Health & Safety

July 13, 2012

Dental lab puts teeth into work

Story and photo by Senior Airman C.J. Hatch
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Matthew Jefferys melts a small piece of gold to create a gold tooth implant. The gold is heated by hand and spun quickly into the tooth mold.

The sounds of drills and suction tubes strike fear in many people, but in the 56th Dental Squadron, not everyone makes patients cringe.

Members of the 56th DS dental lab work every day to insure the teeth on Luke Air Force Base are healthy by keeping them safe, rebuilt or repaired.

“Here in the dental lab we make anything that goes in a patient’s mouth,” said Tech. Sgt. Bret Toliver, dental lab technician. “We make night guards, retainers, implants, crowns and more.”

Depending on the need, it can take a few weeks for the lab to finish a project, but it all begins in the dentist chair. The dentist identifies a problem, like the need for an implant for a lost tooth, and the lab gets to work.

“The dentist starts out by making an impression of the patient’s mouth where the root of the implant has already been put in,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Jefferys, dental lab technician. “We have a hard-setting stone similar to plaster we pour into the impression to make a model of the patient’s mouth. We take a small piece of metal called an analog that clips into the implant. The fake tooth is built around the analog and made out of metal and porcelain.”

The final product takes a bit of work, according to Jefferys.

The lab tech builds a wax model of the tooth inside the dental impression and shape the wax to look like the original tooth. The wax tooth is taken out of the model and another hard-setting stone material is poured around it. When dry it looks much like a large piece of chalk with a hole in the bottom.

“We put the mold into one of our heaters to melt the wax out of the middle,” Jefferys said. “With the wax out we now have an inverted mold of the patient’s tooth that can be filled with the right material such as gold or porcelain.”

The mold is placed in a centrifuge to be spun quickly allowing the melted material to take the shape of the tooth.

Once the metal cools, it’s removed and prepped for the final process — making it look nice.

“One of the hard things about the whole process is making it aesthetically pleasing,” Jefferys said. “It takes a long time. You don’t want to make a tooth that’s the wrong color, shape or size. So we spend most of our time trying to make the tooth look just right.”

The tooth is then ready to be set in the patient’s mouth.

The process of making an implant takes the longest time in the lab, according to Jefferys. Other things such as night or sports guards are simpler and take only a few days.

For more information on implants, mouth guards or other products, call the clinic at (623) 856-2273 to make a dental appointment.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Fly, fight & win! Luke plays unique role in AF mission

The mission of the Air Force is to fly, fight and win. The Air Force’s “motto,” as it was originally called, was adopted October 2010. Capt. Gregroy Bollrud of Hurlburt Field Florida, wrote, “It succinctly captures what our Air Force has been renowned for ever since its creation in 1947. Also, the specific choice of...
 
 

Wingman for life

“I look after my wingman. He looks after me. We work together. We fight together.” — Col. Gabby Gabriski, WWII ace Having a wingman has been an essential part of combat flying since the beginning. A wingman is able to watch your “6,” provide support and can offer a different perspective on a situation. These...
 

 
141119-F-HT977-165

Chiefs announced

Senior master sergeants selected for promotion to chief master sergeant at Luke Air Force Base posed in front of the static F-16 Fighting Falcon in front of the wing headquarters building. They are, from left, Kelbey Norton, 56...
 
 

Enlisted promotion system changes continue

WASHINGTON — This January, changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System will continue with adjustments to the scoring model for promotions to technical sergeant and below, all designed to help ensure job performance is the most important factor when evaluating and identifying Airmen for promotion. The current WAPS enlisted performance report calculation model for technical...
 
 

News Briefs November 21, 2014

Kachina Gate closure The Kachina Gate will be closed to inbound traffic Dec. 8 through 19 for gas valve repair. Outbound traffic will not be affected. For more information, call 623-856-7051. Kids cooking class Kids Kamp Cooking Class is 4 to 6 p.m. for ages 8 to 12 and 7 to 9 p.m. for ages...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin