Teeth! Who'ed ave em? Well, most of us would really given a downhill and a following wind. Only, some of us were given rather weaker natural teeth than others, some ate too many sweeties and others never looked after what they were given with the brush and floss. That's where the Dental Technical Artist comes in. Since it is they that make the crowns and bridges and dentures dentists decide we require.
Paul The Crofter, apart from chasing all over the croft trying to find that elusive Ewe, mend a chicken run, feed the cow or scratch the back of piggy gets to make his living as a dental technical artist. Of course, you all know the correct term for such a job is Technician, but since I know a little about the job and since I know the work Paul does, I shall henceforth call him a Dental Technical Artiste. This work provides an income so that Paul can run the croft which provides a lot of the food for him and his parents.
Many people don't even realise that this job exists. So I shall endeavour to try and remember the processes to make a denture that Paul carries out. The dentist makes the impression and Paul makes a plaster mould from this. Then bite blocks are made. This enables the dentist to register the relationship between the upper and lower arch of the gums. From these bite blocks Paul then sets up the teeth onto a wax base and makes it look real pretty. I might add here that Lichtenstein is the false teeth king of the world – where the little white[ish] teeth are mainly made. You following his?? The wax based teeth are then tried in the mouth to see if you can get them in and stay in, look like Simon Cowell [if that’s what you like !!!!!] or Sheryl Crow and not like one of Paul’s cows! Now the really clever bit – the wax is then changed into acrylic and this is done using the loss wax process. Eh? The wax and teeth are put into plaster which is in two parts. When set, the wax is melted out and putty like acrylic paste is put in and then, under great pressure is cooked. The mould is then carefully cracked open, the dentures trimmed and lovingly polished and there you have it. A potted version of a long and involved job that I am so pleased to have left behind some 20 years ago!
On the Isle of Lewis off the west coast of mainland Scotland lies a croft inhabited by an English off-comer. His Mum and Dad live nearby and help him run the croft. This is a photographic record of their lives as it unfolds.