My way:
“Fundamentally, you must love what you do. And if you believe in yourself, you will succeed!”

Hi! I am Somano, the smiling dental technician from Thailand, also known as the land of smiles. Although I am originally from Laos, my family moved to France soon after I was born, where I also received my education. A civil war had been raging for many years in my country at that time and because my father was in the military, my family was moved to the safety of France in 1982 to begin a new life.

After graduating from school, I was interested to become a gold- and silversmith. I was fascinated by the vision to work with different materials, to be creative and produce something beautiful and unique. Unfortunately, where I lived there were limited opportunities to acquire the necessary skills for this, so I embarked on an apprenticeship as an artist blacksmith. However, few years later a friend introduced me to his work as a dental technician and I realised that this profession had much in common with the tasks of a goldsmith. Captivated by this idea, I immediately applied for an apprenticeship as a dental technician following completion of a brief internship in 1995. After I qualified, three years later, I spent several years travelling and working in various laboratories alongside some of the most talented professionals in my field. It was during this time that I was able to refine my skills and become a master at my craft. Finally, I was realising my lifelong dream.

“Creation ZI-CT –
das war Liebe auf den ‘ersten’ Brand.”

The most important and formative stages of my career

In 1999, shortly after my apprenticeship, I had the opportunity to do a three-month internship at Ivoclar Vivadent, at their international Training Center in Liechtenstein. There I met several masters of the dental technical craftwork (e.g., Shigeo Kataoka, Knut Miller, and many instructors) who helped and inspired me in my professional career.

In 2000, after working in various laboratories in France, I decided to take up a permanent position as ceramist in a lab owned by a family of dentists in Paris. As this was the beginning of my career, I was only permitted to do posterior work which I found quite frustrating, as I was ambitious to veneer anterior crowns.

Ambitious to advance my career as a dental ceramist I took up a position in London in 2002 with ‘Dr. Levy and Co’ dental clinic in Cavendish Square, near Harley Street. It was a six-storey building occupied by dental clinics and law firms. There I had the opportunity to work closely with dentists and to see my restorations in the patient’s mouth. This helped me a lot to improve my skills as I believe the truth is in the mouth and not on the model.

In 2005 I attended a series of conferences with Dr. Pascal and Michel Magne. Their book ‘Bonded Porcelain Restorations’, a biomimetic approach to dentistry and work flow, had a major impact on me and continues to inspire to this day. That chance encounter was a turning point in my career and changed my personal ambitions regarding the quality of my work. I wanted to become a better dental technician and learn the techniques required to create aesthetically more beautiful ceramics. It helped me a lot to read and to learn from professional articles and publications by renowned dental technicians, and dentists such as Mr. Klaus Müterthies, Mr. Willi Geller, Mr. Gerald Ubassy, Dr. Pascal Magne and Dr. Mauro Fradeani. And it is with great thanks to these masters who share all their knowledge and artistry that I was able to get to where I am now.

In 2007, during a course with Mr. Andy Meier (Oral Design) in London, I finally got to know the Creation ceramics, which I had always heard about since the beginning of my vocational training. And then things started happening very fast. At a course I met Mr. Sascha Hein, the youngest Oral Designer at that time. In the same year I visited Mr. Guiseppe Zuppardi in Naples, Italy, the first Oral Designer appointed by Mr. Willi Geller, and stayed in his laboratory for a week’s training. This experience broadened my horizon for working with Creation ceramics. Mr. Zuppardi taught me to pay attention to the smallest details on teeth and to understand their importance for the final result. This fine-tuning of the awareness of individual characteristics of teeth sharpened my perception and I learned how a crown has to look like so that it can’t be distinguished from the natural tooth.

During my time in London in 2006, I also met Mr. Gerald Ubassy. We had a very good professional exchange and he gave me very valuable advices for my daily work. Due to my good knowledge of English and French and the awareness of his work philosophy, he invited me to France to assist him two to three times a year for 11 fantastic years, to translate for his courses in front of an international audience. And he became my friend and my mentor. I am ever so truly grateful to him for who I am today, in my work.

Since 2005, I participated in many ceramic courses, attended lectures and maintained close contact with dental technicians and dentists. This close exchange helped me to constantly improve, to understand new techniques and to integrate them into my daily work.

In 2008, I also had the honour of personally meeting Mr. Willi Geller in Zurich for the first time, who is an inspirational master for our dental aesthetics work. He is the icon figure for us dental technicians, I admire and respect him and his work. I was invited as a spectator to a course in his dental laboratory as part of the 20th anniversary of Creation after I had published an article about Creation for the French trade journal ‘Technologie Dentaire’.

In the following years, I attended many ‘Oral Design’ symposia and participated for Creation Willi Geller as a live demonstrator at the IDS in Cologne 2009 and 2011.

In April 2017 I attended a ‘Digital Smile Design’ course in Bangkok where I met many interested dentists who were eager to work with this method. The offer to cooperate with one of these dentists induced me to move to Phuket in 2018 to work and then I ended opening my own laboratory in 2019. I was finally given the long-awaited professional freedom to realise one of my ambitions to create aesthetic ceramics.

I am specialised in anterior ceramics, veneers, crowns and bridges and full oral rehabilitation in neuromuscular treatment 3 steps technique. As course instructor in Southeast Asia, I am happy to pass on my knowledge and experience gained in Europe. In addition, I was fascinated by the natural beauty of Thailand and the lifestyle that it has to offer. For me, it is living and working where I do not think of holidays and at the same time it is wonderfully positioned in the Andaman Sea, and is a gateway to all the markets in Asia.

What motivates you to constantly improve?

There is nothing more attractive than the beam of a person’s smile. It is my desire and passion to create beautiful ceramics in natural shapes and shades that enhance the innate beauty of the human face. It gives me enormous pleasure and satisfaction when my patients feel comfortable and happy with their new smile. Also, it can be said, that it can have life changing results, too.

What is your greatest aim?

To be accepted into the Oral Design Group and to spread the ‘light fantastic’ and share the knowledge for which I was so blessed to receive.

What is your favourite activity in your profession?

Our profession is quite demanding although every challenge is interesting and beautiful. However, veneering and layering with ceramics is one of my favourite activities. In fact, it is my passion. I also love to meet old friends and acquaintances at trade fairs and training courses to discuss the latest techniques and technologies. I cherish these times, truly connecting with the brotherhood!

What is the biggest challenge in your profession as a dental technician?

It takes a lot of time to find the right dentist who shares the same values in order to achieve the most beautiful, natural smile for the patient. It’s important that the dentist gives me freedom and responsibility so that I can fully implement my skills.

What does success mean to you?

For me, success means being able to work in harmony and mutual respect with my dentists and the patient. Communication with mutual appreciation plays a major role! My greatest motivation is to see the happiness of the patient after the incorporation of a restoration.

Which recommendation would you give young dental technicians?

Fundamentally, you must love what you do. It takes a long time and years of dedication to learn the profession of a dental technician, in fact, you never stop learning. And if you believe in yourself, you will succeed.

I would recommend looking for a master whose work and philosophy inspires you and I suggest learning from natural teeth which is the most important. Nature is the best teacher. Stay curious and passionate about your profession and never be afraid to ask someone for help and support.

Very important: friendship, a good network, professional exchange, modesty and humility and smile.

Learning is never ending! There is always the possibility for improvement!

My big thank also goes to the dentists who trusted me and share this teamwork together. Without them I would not be able to create all this work in my career: Drs J. Levy, N. Pradhan, Reshad, D. Dragisic, Jc. Paris, M. Treguier, H. Soubane, N. Dray, K. Sakultap, S. Aimplee, N. Paing Thaw, P. Liamseng, V. Lee, K. Chin, K. Wong among many others.

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More success stories of dental technicians …

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