DB Lab Digest

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A blog curated by DB Lab Supplies to provide the dental technology community with creative, interesting and unique content. The content in The DB Lab Digest are the views of the individual authors and not the views of DB Lab Digest.

How CAD/CAM Expert Keith Morgan Evolved and Adapted His Craft

Hyperion zirconia user and seasoned CAD/CAM expert Keith Morgan is founder and director of Digital Dental Laboratory Toothworx, based in Cardiff. Toothworx is a crown and bridge lab that offers the full spectrum of services; from bespoke single unit restorations to more specialist full contour implant retained work. It also offers an in-lab bespoke shade taking service. Here, he shares his career story, passions and future goals.

Back to the 90’s

At the age of 15, I began working at a local dental lab making plaster models and learning the basics. I then went out to Boston in the US, where my cousin had a successful dental lab. I learned more about the trade in the US; returning to the UK with a new passion for dental technology, and the decision to make this my career. I gained my HND & BSC Dental Technology at Manchester Met University and worked in various Labs in the Manchester area during term time, and in Boston in the US during the holidays. I realised that the US dental market was ahead of the UK; I saw each growing development within dental CAD/CAM industry as it was happening.

Keith Morgan in his Cardiff Laboratory Toothworx.

What were the big differences in dental technology between the US and the UK?

The US set up was more advanced – dental aesthetics in the 90’s were more important. Bleach shades were readily available with the rise of tooth whitening and the “Hollywood Smile”. Being in the US taught me the newest innovations at that time, and helped me decide how I wanted to develop my technical skills.

The US set up was more advanced – dental aesthetics in the 90’s were more important. Bleach shades were readily available with the rise of tooth whitening and the “Hollywood Smile”.

What is your experience of CAD/CAM developing?

I started working with dental CAD/CAM over 25 years ago. I was possibly one of the first to start working with Nobel Procera 2d Design Software. This was very limited to what we could actually produce, yet at the time was extremely exciting and innovative for the trade. Over the next couple of years, I saw CAD/CAM 2D scanning evolve into 3D scanning offering far more possibilities and ideas.

Image courtesy of 3Shape. 

I was shown 3Shape in Boston, and that was when it started to change for me. It opened my eyes to the potential of CAD monolithic Zirconia Crowns, Zirconia
frameworks and a whole new host of materials. Shades of zirconia were not that good at the beginning; they were dull and lifeless but still held possibilities of what could be done, and intrigue on how we make these look like a tooth. Over a short period of time, Zirconia providers evolved to keep up with the demand. And so, layering of the powders and inclusion of alumina to help the translucency was developed.

Image used courtesy of Keith Morgan. Single tooth – Hyperion milled and
infiltrated with Whitepeaks liquids.

Passionate about evolving

I set up my lab 8 years ago because I wanted to evolve with my passion for dentistry in the industry. Being my own boss gave me that opportunity to do this. I wanted to move with the times and be a pioneer in digital dentistry. I am always pushing to produce the best quality zirconia restoration and I want to make it as aesthetic as possible. I have learned all the best ways to maximise results from
each zirconia material and can confidently say that I have tried every single Zirconia brand on the market. I have tested many samples and worked with each material to its best capacity, yet until I discovered Whitepeaks Hyperion, I still had not found what I considered to be the optimal zirconia.

Image used courtesy of Keith Morgan. In vitro – Hyperion, infiltrated with Whitepeaks liquids and finished with Jensen Miyo.

Why Whitepeaks Hyperion?

Whitepeaks Hyperion is everything I need. It possesses different strengths (600mpa incisal to 1100mpa marginal), and has 9 pre-shaded multi-layers; giving ideal natural looking translucencies. It makes your life easier. You can achieve beautiful results with very little effort. Simply fire, stain and glaze slightly and it looks amazing. You can also play around with it. To further push its boundaries,
I use infiltration liquids such as the Whitepeaks liquid. These add depth of colour in areas including essences and internal effects. With Hyperion, I’m not battling with shades and Chromas; it matches up fairly easily with the Vita shade guide.

"You can achieve beautiful results with very little effort. Simply fire, stain and glaze slightly and it looks amazing."

What is the future for Toothworx?

I am lucky to have great relationships with many of my customers, and often get recommended to their colleagues. Yet, I also understand that this is an ever-evolving trade which fuels my passion to advance progressively in digital dentistry; both with materials and equipment. My new interest is 3D printing. This is where I can see the potential for the greatest advancements in the dental trade. We are already having alloy frameworks 3D printed and produce a wide range of dental appliances from polymer resin, but I’m excited to see the development of long-term restoration materials, and to get the chance
to use these daily. I am also passionate about making sure we understand how we can fully serve clinicians and their patients better.

My aim is to put together workshops where clinicians and technicians get together to share ideas techniques and just communicate with each other. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from sharing their workflow ideas, and how each of us manages the constraints we work within.

9 layers. In the Hyperion production process, 5 different layers of pre-coloured Tosoh zirconia powders of different bending strength (≥ 600-1100 MPa) are layered on top of each other, building 4 transition layers in the process.

Discover Whitepeaks zirconia for yourself

For more information on the Whitepeaks range of materials, and educational events, contact the DB team on sales@dbortho.com, or call 01535 650578.

About DB Lab Supplies

It is our company mission to become a global leader in orthodontic and laboratory supplies. With over 45 years of experience, we recognise the importance of quality, service and innovation. Working to ISO13485 standards we strive for perfection in all that we do, from unique product design to the excellent service provided by our dedicated customer service and sales teams.

We are continually developing our product range, designing innovative products through consultation with leading industry experts throughout the world, to ensure that our products meet the high standards expected by today’s practitioners.

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