After studying in Europe and earning a Master's degree in dental ceramics from the UCLA Center for Esthetic Dentistry, Joshua Polansky knew exactly what kind of laboratory he wanted to open. "In Europe, technicians have more contact with patients and working directly with patients is also the core of UCLA's program," says Polansky. "So I wanted to set up a lab that was an extension of how I was trained to work."
The perfect location, then, was some extra space in his dentist-father's Cherry Hill, New Jersey dental clinic. There, Polansky would have ample opportunities for patient contact and consultation. So in 275 square feet of space, Niche Dental Studio was opened in 2009, with Joshua and two other technicians working on homemade benches without suction, ventilation or good lighting sources. "It was all very makeshift and uncomfortable," he says. "After only a month or two we knew we had to invest in a renovation."
Since patients were coming into the lab for shade selection--and a few of his clients outside of the clinic liked bringing patients in for cementation of large cases--Polansky wanted to create a space that was a testament to his passion for the profession. "I wanted to show the beauty of dental technology and step away from the stereotype that labs are just dirty work spaces," he says.
The small space presented a challenge, but Polansky worked with Massimo Sasso at Dental Arte, who created a few different sketches that incorporated Polansky's vision while best utilizing the available space. Once the designs were approved, the laboratory was outfitted with Dental Arte's benches equipped with granite and wood tops, bagless suction, optimum bench lighting and a comprehensive ventilation system.
"When you're renovating such a small space, it's important to have a very clear vision of the final outcome before you even get started," says Polansky. "We're thrilled with the results; it's a huge improvement in overall comfort and quality of work life."