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In 2000, Edgar Munoz was planning to be a dentist, but fate had different plans. While on the waiting list for dental school, he took a job at a large production lab to make extra money. Since he was certified as a dental assistant he already understood anatomy, and he was able to jump right into ceramics when he finished the lab's PTC training. There, he fell in love with making teeth, but there was one problem: "I was reprimanded for taking too long on restorations and being too artistic, but that was the part I enjoyed most," he says. "I wanted to be able to take time to create something beautiful."
One lab owner even told him he would never make it in the industry spending so much time on detailed restorations but, instead of being discouraged, the comment lit a fire in Munoz. He took a position at a smaller, boutique laboratory and simultaneously enrolled in the Dental Technology Program at Gwinnett Technical Institute. Working in the lab by day and going to class by night, Munoz immersed himself in his craft.
Then, in 2007, he met Ceramist Shane Williams who became his mentor. "He taught me how to accomplish more realistic buildups and changed the way I saw teeth," says Munoz. "That's when I knew I wanted to own my own lab." With Williams' encouragement, he opened Elite Dental Studio in his home in 2010.
Today, Munoz caters to dentist-clients who share his vision of beautiful esthetics and offers them personalized services, including chairside custom staining. In the end, he's happy he followed his heart. "It's not about making money," he says. "It's about waking up every day and doing what you love."
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