A dynamo CAD/CAM designer shares her fave DentalCAD features
We’ve talked to exocad super users for the blog. Kristina Vaitelytė could be described as a super fan of exocad and digital dentistry. She’s a second-generation dental technician who’s watched the industry progress from analog to digital. Kristina's exocad journey started nearly a decade ago. Since then, she’s taken the fast track to learning as much as possible about CAD/CAM tools. Kristina gives us a millennial’s view on how digital workflows can attract more young people to the dental field and shares her favorite DentalCAD 3.1 Rijeka features.
Q: Hi, Kristina. First, tell us about yourself.
A: I am Lithuanian and currently live in Chester, UK. I am a digital dental technician at Primo Dental Studio who lives and breathes dental technology. I am from a dental family—my mom set a trend for everyone. She is a dentist, my dad is a dental technician, my brother is a prosthodontist and my sister is a ceramist. How lucky am I! For me, my normal childhood was playing with dental chairs, stamping patient cards with dentist details, and playing with impression plaster in the dental practice where my mom was working in the mid-1990s. Nowadays, I am working in a fully digital laboratory where we work hand-in-hand with dentists. exocad’s DentalCAD is the number one tool to communicate, share and design stunning smiles.
Q: Let me guess what you talk about during the holidays.
A: My family members are massive dental fans. I grew up with dental catalogs on the kitchen table. Believe it or not, even our family holidays were always at the IDS in Cologne around my birthday. It is weird how things change in life, I never actually thought I’d go into dental technology. When I looked at the analog approach, it all looked messy, and I am not the biggest fan of the monomer smell either. However, going to IDS in 2013 changed my life. That year was quite a big dental CAD/CAM exhibition, and I was intrigued. Seeing new software and milling units looked like a winning combination of both technology and dentistry worlds colliding. It was a eureka moment for me.
Kristina’s favorite DentalCAD 3.1 Rijeka features:
- Smoother model builds
- Big variety of model articulators and attachments
- Easy-to-reuse digital wax-up setups
- Change the implant library without affecting abutment or crown design
Q: How did you get your start in CAD?
A: I kind of fell into this by accident. My sister was a massive influence on me. She was working in a newly established digital dental laboratory way back in 2014, and they didn't have anyone to work with the system. At that time, no roles like this existed. My sister and I persuaded the laboratory manager to give me a week. By the end of that week, I was producing zirconia copings, cutback crowns and bridges, and it snowballed from there.
I applied to university to study dental technology, and from there I had opportunities to practice my studies first in Tenerife where I built my knowledge about immediate load cases, dental tourism, and, of course, enjoyed the sun. Next, to the UK where I originally planned to stay only for three months, but we all know how “plans'' work. I met amazing people, worked with some of the greatest dentists in the UK, and it grew from there exponentially. I have been here ever since.
Q: How challenging was the learning process for CAD/CAM design?
A: That was a long time ago. Like most things, the more time you spend, the better you get. Every software is unique, and it takes patience to master. It is exciting to see new software releases and learn new features and techniques.
I like the handy feature called exocad wiki. If you need help while designing, there is a trick. You can just press the question mark at the top right corner, and it takes you straight to relevant information.
Q: Do you like having more interaction with the patients and the dentists working in-house?
A: I love it. No more guesswork! We can provide a much better patient experience, and I can get instant feedback from dentists. I know not everyone has this opportunity and not all our work is in-house.
We also work with external dentists, and this is where dentalshare and webview are fantastic tools to share, discuss and confirm designs with clinicians and patients, and they don't need to be in the same building or city. Just think how much chair time this saves.
Q: Some want the “Hollywood smile.”
A: I know “Hollywood smile” is not for everyone, but many who are not related to dentistry want straight, white and shiny smiles. Thanks to exocad’s Smile Creator, I don't need to read patients' minds. I can propose designs, overlay patients' images and ask their opinion. It helps to see how digital wax-ups integrate with patients’ faces. I can design patients’ mock-ups before appointments and confirm designs while they are in the dental chair.
Q: What do you like about exocad?
A: Everything—stability, flexibility, and ease of use. I am obsessed with exocad’s sculpting tools, the libraries, and with how much better this software gets every year. I thought that it would be hard to improve on DentalCAD 3.0 Galway, but DentalCAD 3.1 Rijeka is even better—much smoother model builds, a bigger variety of model articulators and attachments, and easy-to-reuse digital wax-up setups. The cherry on top is that I can change the implant library without affecting abutment or crown design.
Q: Any insights for other lab techs reading the blog that you’d like to share?
A: Play, don’t be afraid to experiment. Personally, what worked for me was dental congresses, shows and training. The best way to learn is from somebody else! The exocad team offers training sessions you can easily book them online and believe me it kick-starts your career at any stage whether you are a beginner or expert. This year was my first exocad insight event. It was great to meet the exocad team, other dental professionals, and to learn all about the new features.
I feel like the exocad team is passionate about us and the industry by giving us tools, helping create a seamless workflow and creating new careers for professionals like me.
Q: How does using exocad impact your job satisfaction?
A: First of all, without exocad I would not be a dental CAD technician. It had a tremendous impact in my life. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, changed my career, and I moved to another country. It was so worth it! I met amazing people, created thousands of smiles and I found my passion. I am so grateful for the exocad community, and everyone that helped me on my journey.
Q: Do you think digital will help attract more women to the field?
A: Of course! Dentistry is a male-dominated industry, and we need more female professionals. It brings a different perspective, different approach and different skills. We have already begun to see the shift in new talent. It is already changing. Digital workflows remove the necessity of being in the laboratory, allowing the flexibility to juggle work-life balance.
Q: Who is your mentor?
A: I couldn't name just one. I am so grateful I had opportunities to learn from my family, my colleagues and the doctors who I have worked with.
I am also inspired by you guys. I feel like the exocad team is passionate about us and the industry by giving us tools, helping create a seamless workflow and creating new careers for professionals like me.
Q: Favorite song?
A: Lykke Li “I Follow Rivers.” Such a good vibe.
Q: Favorite tooth?
A: Molars. The composition of them. It is the most fascinating. I have a tooth box full of natural teeth I collected over years. Now I collect scans for my teeth libraries. It is fascinating to see how smart nature is and how everything is connected. Like if you have a round face, your teeth often have a softer shape and vice versa.
Q: If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
A: Be strong, fierce and unstoppable. Stop thinking what others will think or say, just do your thing. There will always be people around to support us.
Q: When I say exocad, what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Kristina Vaitelyte is a highly experienced and self-driven digital dental technician. She is a firm believer that digital tools in dentistry are the present and the future - a way to connect our patients, dentists and technicians together, ensuring a seamless workflow. Having seen the dental industry adopting digital workflows, the accuracy, predictability, and repeatability offered by these new techniques allow dentists, and technicians the confidence to deliver the perfect results, time after time. Kristina is inspired by the new technologies arriving on the dental scene and strives to explore, trial, and adopt the latest workflows and techniques. Kristina works daily with exocad’s DentalCAD and believes it is the number one tool to deliver bespoke digital designs for esthetic and restorative dentistry at Primo Dental and Primo Dental Design Studio. You can connect with Kristina and follow her dental journey on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.