Paul Martin is well known figure in the industry and is particularly renowned for his expertise and advice regarding dental attachments. In fact, he has been tinkering with these bits and pieces for over 40 years and is often referred to as ‘Mr Attachment’. A Director of Prestige Dental, Paul specialises in the laboratory side of the business, ensuring a pedigree range of products make up Prestige’s laboratory offering.  He is also on hand to answer a myriad of technical queries, whilst offering repair and re-calibration services for Denar articulators and still makes time to ensure the company’s course loan equipment is maintained in tip-top condition. Here, in his own words, are the five things that in his working day he just cannot do without.

1 SOCIAL MEDIA 

At the risk of being a little sycophantic, the Dental Technicians Facebook forum is an impressive resource for DT’s. Presenting many discussion points (and of course the occasional rant!), it’s great for keeping in touch with colleagues across the country and more so this past year throughout the pandemic. Alongside FB Messenger and WhatsApp, it’s also responsible for my ‘Mr Attachment’ title, these being the key platforms where many queries are initially raised and photographs shared. It’s not unusual for me to receive a query almost every working day so without these easily accessible comms tools I would be quite overwhelmed – and even slower to respond!       

2 BACK CATALOGUES

Busted – I admit it – you can’t beat a bit of old school. As much as technology is an essential part of our world, my stack of hard copy catalogues is still an integral part of my working life. This is largely because I can (and often) face questions involving components that have been in patients mouths for 20 years or more. With the constant requirement to keep things ‘up-to-date’, particularly online, previous kit disappears and then pertinent information can be lost forever – but not with my well-thumbed reference books. Accurately identifying original components is absolutely essential before I can advise on any type of repair and/or replacement, so to me, retaining this level of detail is vital.   

3 EQUIPMENT ESSENTIALS 

Despite my fascination with precision components, the two pieces of equipment that I reach for the most are very simple, and have been with me for most of my working career. I suppose you could call them my comfort blankets as without these I would be lost – these are my eye glass and gauge. Being able to see the finer detail of any given piece is fundamental to providing the correct solution whilst it’s the gauge that often provides the final piece of the jigsaw. Whilst I fully appreciate the lovely pictures and make of the item(s) in question, more times than not I just need a measurement. Particularly with ball attachments. There are so many variants. 1.7, 1.8, 2.2, 2.25, 2.5mm and there can be many more, particularly with older worn constructions. This kind of measuring gauge helps enormously.

4 FIELD GAUGE  

I was originally trained how to use this piece of equipment at the Whip Mix factory in Colorado. It is used for calibrating and repairing articulators to their original factory settings. Through normal wear and tear the settings go out of sync and can cause discrepancies when cross mounting. For the true techy, the field gauge “ensures the correct condyle height and verifies the correct triangulation between the upper and lower members”. At present these procedures are being undertaken in the repair studio at Prestige, but when time and Covid allows I enjoy being let out to visit customer’s own premises and carrying out the necessary repairs in their labs.    

5 MY BUSINESS PARTNER, LUCY GABBITAS

Lucy and I have worked together at Prestige since 1995. We bought out the business and became 50/50 partners some years later and that pretty much describes our business relationship ever since. The combination of our previous dentistry careers – Lucy in dental surgeries and myself in labs – means our offering is unique in the marketplace, together with the experience we each bring to it of both sectors. So, like Yin & Yang, Lucy and I are the two halves that together make up the Prestige business that would not be complete if either was missing. She’s also a great co-driver when we go visiting customers and attending the courses that we support and makes sure I’m permanently stocked up with coffee and biscuits which is worth a lot! (I did even toy with idea of naming coffee and biscuits as a sneaky extra in this list!).