Educator Hopes to Give Others Advantages He Never Had
Precision milling center helps technician develop and share innovative implant bar solution
Getting an education didn’t come easily for Domenico Cascione, CDT, BS, which is why he has developed such a passion for helping others. As a teenager in Italy, Cascione did not enjoy school, but his father told him the only other option was to follow his brothers into military service. Cascione was not interested in joining the army, so he asked a friend for advice. When his friend said he was studying to become a dental technician, Cascione asked, “What’s that?” His friend answered: “It’s nice. They make teeth.”
Cascione attended school for dental technology, but he had no financial support and needed to figure out a way to make money immediately after graduation. His father helped set him up with a job at a laboratory, but it was mostly cleaning floors and opening doors for customers.
“I said, ‘Well, I can open a cleaning service to make some money,’” Cascione says with a laugh.
Cascione left that job after 8 months and opened his own laboratory. Without the financial means to attend courses, he honed his skills by reading books and watching instructional videos—as well as by learning from his own mistakes.
“I had to build my career by myself,” he says. “It was really, really hard.”
Over the course of two decades, Cascione succeeded in improving his skills and building a reputation as a skilled technician to the point that, in 2005, he was invited to the United States to help the University of Southern California School of Dentistry open its Center for Dental Technology. Once the 5-year project was complete, Cascione retained his faculty position at USC while also opening his own business, OperArt LLC Dental Laboratory. He recently became a full-time faculty member at Pasadena City College as well, helping that school open what he says is the only public-school Master of Dental Technology program in the world.
“We hope to help technicians specialize more in implants and cosmetic, advanced techniques,” he says. “I have a passion for teaching because I never had easy access to education myself, and I want to help young technicians build their own laboratories more easily than I did.”
Cascione gives back to the profession in other ways as well. When he developed a two-part implant bridge to help with implant placement and allow for appropriate cantilever length, he wanted to share the solution. Cascione partnered with Panthera Dental to perfect the process through digitization, and the milling center now markets The Diamart by Domenico Cascione, CDT.
“Panthera is a really great milling center,” Cascione says. “Their high-precision CAD/CAM system has made The Diamart extremely consistent and higher quality than if it was done by hand.”
Working with a Panthera software engineer, Cascione helped create a process for which a laboratory needs only to fabricate a wax-up and send the prototype to Panthera, which produces The Diamart with a titanium bar and a substructure made of zirconia, acrylic, or PEKK.
“At that point,” Cascione says, “the technician needs only to finish the esthetic elements of the prosthetic.”
Prosthodontists have provided extremely strong feedback, Cascione says.
“Reinforcing zirconia for the cantilever and correcting the angulation of the implant make sense,” he says. “The price is also much more palatable than it was when we were fabricating these bars by hand.”
His fellow technicians have embraced The Diamart solution as well. Rather than needing to screw the bridge onto the implant, they can now screw it onto the titanium bar and control the screw channel to ensure that it will be in the occlusal area. The titanium bar reinforces the entire structure to allow the proper length for the cantilever. Easy access to the bridge increases reparability, and The Diamart comes with the option of a PMMA temporary. It is compatible with more than 450 implant platforms.
“Technicians no longer need to endure the time-consuming steps of creating a functional prosthetic, and they can focus on esthetics,” Cascione says.
His hope is that technicians around the world can benefit from The Diamart without needing to develop their own solutions through trial and error, as Cascione had to do earlier in his career.
“I needed to overcome a number of challenges to reach this point in my career,” Cascione says. “My hope is to help others have an easier path.”
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