STALYBRIDGE clinical dental technician David Parsons can, quite literally, transform lives.
And his business First Impressions Dental Laboratories really does count as he undertakes the most complex of dental work.
You only have to look at the before and after shots of patients he has kept in a folder to see how skilled his work is.
And it is no exaggeration the results put a smile back on the face of patients.
“I have known patients who were too embarrassed to smile because of the condition of their teeth, but their faces beamed with delight after they saw the end result,” David explained.
Another glowing testimony is that he counts ex-pats among his patients as they are unable to find comparable treatment overseas.
On the day the Correspondent visit David’s Market Street practice, he had earlier seen patients who had made special trips from France and Spain. He also has another from Crete.
And though the narrow frontage to the practice underlines a modest footprint, it is a hive of activity with a total of eight people employed.
Down in the basement is where the team of highly-skilled dental technicians carry out work for dentists from throughout the UK, as far south as Slough to Scotland.
“We do work for dentists, but there are some who don’t like fitting dentures so they refer them to me,” explained 54-year-old David.
“I also specialise in problem cases that some dentists won’t touch.”
David added there is a misconception that patients need to go to a dentists to have dentures fitted.
That was once the case, but for the past decade clinical dental technicians have been able to offer a full range of services.
David said: “Many people still think that you go to the dentists who makes them.
“Before it became legal, dental technicians made crowns and dentures for patients at dentists.
“Now we can offer everything ourselves and therefore we can provide a faster turnaround.”
David says techniques have remained almost unchanged, though materials have improved.
He continued: “What I have experienced is higher demands from the patent and more flexible dentures.
“You can get them without a palate which is what many people struggle to come to terms with.”
David believes the digital age will soon encompass the work of a clinical dental technician.
Instead of taking an impression, it would be replaced by a 3D scan of the mouth.
“There are a couple of clinical dental technicians who do this, but it is not yet used widely. I am ready for when it is introduced,” he said.
David does not believe dental standards have improved in the time he has been a dental technician and clinical dental technician.
He explained: “You would be surprised the number of people, including young ones, who need a full set of dentures.
“Many are struggling financially and cannot afford a dentist while others struggle to get a dentist on the National Health Service.
“And when problems arise, they rely on painkillers which is far from ideal.”
David revealed it was a careers’ adviser who planted the seeds for him to become an apprentice dental technician..
He quickly become immersed in the job, acquiring a thirst to improve his skills.
That led him to take a five-year distance learning course in Canada to become a clinical dental technician, though carrying out the full range of work from taking impressions to making fittings at that time was illegal in the UK.
Once that became legal here, David took the equivalent British exams and he has been able to develop and expand a thriving business as he supplies dentures to people in many parts of Britain.