Darren Stiff, MDT on learning implants and the “game changer”
Darren Stiff, MDT, DDS Lab
I had a chance to chat with Implant Specialist, Darren Stiff, MDT and learn more about his career and the positive impact of OI ti-bases on DDS Lab.
OI: Tell me about your career as a technician. How did you get started?
Stiff: I have been a technician 28 years. My now father-in-law recommended it while I was helping do some demo work at his house. The next day I looked into it and I got my first job as a waxer making $4.56 an hour. I fell in love with it. The fact that I did something good for a patient was very inspiring to me.
Twenty one years ago I got started with implants and it provided me the opportunity to interact with patients regularly. I learned a lot from other technicians and my learning accelerated again when I began working closely with doctors chairside. Later, I even worked in house for a couple of dentists. Today, I have been chairside for over 500 surgeries.
About eight years ago, I had my own lab and got started in digital. I wanted to learn everything from intra oral scanning to design to 3d printing. Costs have certainly come down since then so it’s a lot more accessible. I love digital and the what it can enable you to do.
OI: What are the best sources you found for learning something new?
Stiff: I learn a lot from vendors with new technology or materials. Vendors can be amazing resources directly and the courses they offer are amazing. I also find techs and doctors who teach courses. I seek out courses from Brad Jones, Lee Culp and Jessica Burrell. I find doctors and technicians who are active on social media and who publish articles.
In the lab, I have spent a lot of time learning about material science. I would experiment with products, pushing them to the max and beyond to see just how far it can really go. I enjoy doing that and learned a lot in the process of doing this testing.
OI: Let’s talk a bit about your experience with Open Implants. How have things changed at DDS Laboratory since you started using OI?
Stiff: The ability to use the OI system has been a game changer. We love the titanium bases because with the options for non-engaging and various heights, we can do restorations that we could not do before. Instead of titanium custom abutments we can do hybrid custom abutments or screw retained crowns, which means we do them faster, save our customer’s money and be more profitable. We can turn it around faster because we can do more in house. With the OI ti-base allowing us to go up to 10mm tall, now we can have enough support even if the implant is deep. There are a lot of options but most top out at 6mm in height.
Open Implants ti-base cut to 4mm
Custom hybrid abutment on Open Implants ti-base
Photos courtesy of DDS Lab
OI: You spend a fair amount of time in the field. Why is that important to you?
Stiff: Earlier I mentioned that I like being chairside, but that is only part of the reason. Building and maintaining relationships is crucial for our success. I like to visit doctors to talk to them about our service and to understand their preferences. Face time is really important to establishing that relationship. In the end, it is all about giving great service to our doctors and patients, so getting out into the field brings that all into perspective and helps us deliver the best service that we can deliver.
Thank you to Darren for taking the time to share your story with us!
To learn more about OI ti-bases check out this video.