Holistic dental artistry as a laboratory philosophy: How the VITA LUMEX AC veneering ceramic helps to meet restorative ideals

Discover the success story of a dental technician and laboratory owner who discovered across the VITA LUMEX AC veneering ceramic while searching for ceramic brilliance and reliability. Find out how the all-encompassing system fulfills his passion, as well as meets the economic aspects of running a commercial enterprise.

"I'm a dental technician with a passion!" says Patrick Schäfer, the owner and managing director of zahnkunst dentaltechnik GmbH & Co.KG in Cologne. Schäfer's guiding principle: "I try very hard to consider nature. I ask myself what would normally be present naturally, what has been lost and how can I restore it all again.”

Dental technology is something very special to me! I love the romantic idea of giving someone a smile – or giving it back to them.

The first encounter with VITA LUMEX AC

"I had difficulties with the existing veneering systems for lithium disilicate and never really felt at home with them. Due to the material, I came up against certain limitations,” says Schäfer, describing his past experiences with veneering ceramics. A colleague at an International Dental Technicians Guild meeting said, 'Patrick, why are we still discussing this? I have a system here that works really well. It looks good, just try it!” The colleague had experience with VITA LUMEX AC and encouraged Schäfer to try the veneering ceramic himself. Schafer did not like putting another veneering ceramic system in the laboratory and was a bit skeptical at first. "I thought, you're already focused on the workflow with a material, and changing the system always means a lot of work," said Schäfer. "Fortunately, VITA LUMEX AC was recommended to me at a time when I had a willingness to change. I took the chance and just did it.” His colleague already had a good connection with VITA and put them in touch. Then suddenly everything happened very quickly: “A short time later I got a call from VITA. And then very quickly I had VITA LUMEX at my dental laboratory!”

Big expectations and a critical look

Now Schafer had to experience what VITA LUMEX AC could do for himself. Schäfer wanted to put the entire system through its paces, satisfying his curiosity and taking a critical and systematic approach. He started his first veneering activities and quickly realized that there was a coherent shade system behind the veneering ceramic. The surface properties, density and feel suited his style quite well. He developed more confidence as he continued. "With VITA LUMEX AC, I very quickly got the result I wanted to achieve. That was something very, very nice for me. The expectations I had were met and to be honest, even exceeded, precisely because I was skeptical about the matter at first,” as Schäfer remembers taking his first steps with VITA LUMEX AC. 

VITA LUMEX AC has an unbelievably natural appearance, which convinced me from the start. You rarely see that with a new ceramic.

The first clinical challenge for VITA LUMEX AC

"I had an extreme wow effect with my very first case, which was actually two central incisors in the upper jaw. The pressed framework structures made of VITA AMBRIA for a crown and a veneer were incredibly beautiful. The opalescence and amber-colored warmth fascinated me,” Schäfer recalls of the first clinical challenge with the veneering ceramic. To be on the safe side, he had pressed each framework twice in order to have a back-up with the veneering ceramic he had previously used. The patient had already been scheduled and Schäfer needed a result that could definitely be used. "The version with VITA AMBRIA and VITA LUMEX was actually only there to see how the whole thing worked, but it was the one I ended up using," says Schäfer, who is still surprised today. An absolutely wonderful experience for him, a wow effect. Schäfer made the decision to switch to VITA LUMEX AC: “It simply worked too well to question it in any way. And the cases that I then did with VITA LUMEX AC only confirmed this experience.”

I didn't have to struggle with VITA LUMEX AC like I did with other veneering materials that seemed totally lifeless and gray.

Overcoming the material limits of ceramics

If you want to learn a new veneering ceramic, the first step can sometimes go relatively quickly, as in Schäfer's experience, but the next steps can take some time. “I used to work a lot with high-fusing ceramics. That's why I briefly underestimated low-fusing ceramics and wasn't fully focused. We are professionals, and you just have to read the instructions for use and understand what you're doing," explained Schäfer, recalling his initial mistakes. After the production of his own firing samples and the ever finer calibration of the furnace, everything went smoothly from there. The veneering ceramic system led him from the first wow effect, quickly over the short dip in the learning curve, and then to stability and basic trust. 

VITA Service: The decision to change made simple

"Right from the start, I felt a huge amount of support from VITA and noticed in the discussions, that the employees knew the what was involved in the system. I never had the feeling that I was just a number passed from one support person to the next. That made the change very pleasant and easy for me,” said Schäfer, summing up the cooperation with VITA Zahnfabrik. Schäfer was particularly helped by the wealth of information about the material composition and material-related details, which he had never encountered in the industry before. He was able to put the veneering system through a review without making any compromises. At the same time, he never felt the pressure of an expectation behind it. Rather, he found it a very liberating way of working: "It certainly helped that I approached the ceramics with a positive feeling and soon realized that they were really good! That made the decision to change very easy."

With VITA LUMEX AC, even a complex restoration becomes simple – it is processed and goes relatively quickly. I don't have to worry about whether it will work.

VITA LUMEX AC as an integral part of everyday laboratory work for a wide variety of indications

Schäfer now uses VITA LUMEX AC on lithium disilicate as a standard material and has had great experiences with it. Even when veneering zirconium dioxide, Shafer can remain in a veneer system with the VITA LUMEX AC universal options." (please confirm that the meaning of the change is accurate) “What I also think is really great is microlayering on zirconium dioxide for really small labial cut-backs. Internal painting on the framework and a very thin layer of VITA LUMEX AC on top are sufficient. This has an enormously beautiful effect and is very easy to do," says Schäfer, who is also enthusiastic about the interaction of the veneering ceramic with the zirconium dioxide VITA YZ.

In his experience, the processing of VITA LUMEX AC is stress-free and fast. He sees a major advantage in the fact that the veneering ceramic corresponds to the original VITA shade standards of the VITA shade guides: “As far as the shade is concerned, you have absolute process reliability. I can be 100% confident that the shades I want will come out of the furnace the same way.”

The brilliance that is created and the way the play of shades resembles natural teeth is really, really extraordinary!

Successful conversion with real added value in dental technology

"Due to the high firing stability, the characteristics of the natural tooth are transferred to the restoration through the layering," says Schäfer, who is still pleased about his discovery of veneering ceramics a year and a half after the change, "I have known ceramics that flow together or that are too highly glazed or unstable. I have never had those problems with VITA LUMEX AC. I can always be certain that the ceramic would stay where I put it, even after repeated firing."

The brilliance and surface qualities in connection with the shade certainty and variability offer him every possibility to solve a case individually. No matter what challenges have to be overcome. Schäfer's conclusion: "There was never a moment when I reached a limit with the ceramic system. Looking back, I haven't regretted switching to VITA LUMEX AC for a single day. I can say that quite clearly.”

The top three reasons for switching to VITA LUMEX AC

  • Brilliant, homogeneous surfaces
  • Absolutely reliable firing and shade stability
  • Lively and natural shade brilliance

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