By: Pamela Hanneman
In my 30-year journey as a dental technician, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to open a closed door to see the future.
I have walked through many doors with unimaginable opportunities. Experiences that changed and molded the way I look at the dental industry. Like most seasoned technicians those doors don’t open until you embrace change. That my friends, is an entire blog all on its own for another time… This blog is about my journey and how it led me home.
The first half of my career was dedicated to the art of dental ceramics. Starting out as an entry level opaque technician at Techniques Dental Lab in Margate FL., way back before zirconia restorations were the standard restoration. After joining National Dentex I started honing my skills while working for H&O Dental lab and becoming a CDT and PTC
certified. At the same time I was also learning to be a leader. I say leader and not manager. Again, I’ll save that soap box speech for later.
It wasn’t long after I felt I had arrived as a ceramist that the digital dental wave hit! Only it wasn’t a wave. It was the future, no matter how hard I protested. Like most at the time, I felt it was taking away all my hard work and ability to create quality restorations. After setting my fears aside I turned the handle and entered into the digital world. I made the leap to “CAP” A little startup company just outside of Boston you may remember. That little start up turned out to be a big deal. Best in class products and customer support. This is where I learned to see and embrace the future. The ability to use technology as a tool to better the industry, to improve products and to better myself. What I Learned here about culture ,work ethic, and building partners, not customers, would be something I would carry with me moving forward for a lifetime.
Years later, As the CAP door softly closed, I was very fortunate once again to be presented with yet another challenge. Because of my extensive experience with digital materials and understanding the challenges of moving from analog to digital workflows, I was able to start Supporting Zahn customers who were facing the same challenges I once faced. The most gratifying part of my journey was realizing that by sharing what I learned, I could positively impact other dental technicians and laboratories while also continuing to learn from each lab I visited. For a few years I visited many labs from the biggest to the mom and pops. What I can say is that there was always a common need for how to best handle products and materials. Sharing tips and tricks along with best practices. I got to travel the country and leave each destination knowing I helped the labs fabricate better quality products while making the process easier.
A natural transition from lab visits was to move into hands-on clinics, lectures, and webinars for the dental community. This was a tough door to open. It was heavy! Public speaking and having an audience of all eyes on you can be a little overwhelming to say the least. I learned to love presenting and all the chaos that goes along with the big show in Chicago. Maybe it was knowing after show time was done, I could meet up with my friends at the Sky Bar and connect as technicians on a personal level while still conversing about our common passion for all things dental.
When Covid hit, it slammed the doors shut on everything! The industry was bombarded with video conferences and educational webinars. I think all CDT’s have more CE credits than they can use. The days of roadshows and hands-on training had come to a halt. How was I going to move forward? How was I going to stay passionate about the career I spent my entire life building?
While looking for new doors to open I accidentally opened an old one per say. A previously opened door with familiar faces. A warm feeling of being home yet newer and greater
possibilities. The quality products, culture, customer service and work ethic I valued so much is still alive and kicking with Open Implants. The visionaries and leaders of CAP carry on through Open Implants. To be part of this team, or should I say family, is like coming home. Home to likeminded individuals with the common goal to be the best. To design and create quality, custom propriety implant components for new customers and all the former customers we thought of as partners. Passion revived! The passion to not just provide parts, but to collaborate and listen to the industry needs and create products that provide real life solutions to our everyday pain in the butt cases. You know what I’m talking about! Implant cases and All on “X” cases come with very specific challenges.
My goal as Product Development and Education Manager at Open Implants is to combine my understanding of implant restoration needs from design to final material choice and handling to help our customers have a total solution. As part of the amazing team at Open Implants we are here to provide support and not just parts and pieces. It goes beyond just selling you a product. We create 510K cleared complaint components together with our customers’ needs in mind and build better products for the future.
This is passion. This is the door I had no idea would reopen.