We go beyond the dental lab with Alina Ceclan to find out what led her to a career in dental technology and how she unwinds outside of work.
Please introduce yourself and where you work
Hi. My name is Alina Ceclan and I’m obsessed with teeth, cats, food and new techniques to use in a busy lab.
I graduated in Romania in 2015 and I recently moved to busy London from not-so-small Birmingham to work as a ceramist at Q-Lab, a fully private lab which focuses on high quality results, where I’m grateful to be surrounded by passionate and like-minded people.
I specialise in high-end cosmetic cases, implants and shade matching. Although my work covers a wide range, I must admit that a lot of people know that I have a soft spot for beautiful posteriors (they deserve love too, right)?
I am also honoured and humbled to be a Miyo liquid ceramics instructor and delivering a live demo at IDS Cologne 2023 definitely represents a proud moment in my career.
Whilst life shouldn’t be about working, I truly believe the saying that if you love what you do, you never feel like you work a day in your life.
Tell me about where you grew up and what your family was like
Before moving to the UK in 2019, I grew up in my home country, Romania. Growing up as a millennial, I can definitely say I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of the weekend and summer holidays in the beautiful and green countryside, being very close to my grandmother, and seeing the value of honest and hard work day after day.
I can still remember to this day how much energy nature gave me and how much I enjoyed just being out and about, on little adventures, like picking wild mushrooms with my grandad and enjoying the sound of birds, delicious home cooked and hearty food – pure bliss!
I also have a little brother (not so little anymore) who has chosen the path of dental technology as well (perhaps I might have had something to do with it). I always say he is the talented one in the family.
What led you to a career in dentistry?
I strongly believe that this career chose me and not the other way around.
I always had a creative side but at the end of high school, I decided I wanted to go into medicine. Silly me not knowing how much preparation it actually takes while my college was a linguistic one!
Therefore, when I tried to take some biology and chemistry lessons, my teacher told me that perhaps I could do a better choice by going into dental technology.
Although there was less material to revise for the entry exam, the competition was extremely high. There was something like 10 applicants per available place. Back home in Romania, if you had really high grades you would be awarded bursaries and not have to pay for the studies at all.
What do you like the most about it?
It still fascinates me to this day the freedom of creativity and that we actually get to copy nature.
I try to tailor to my approach to dental restorations to reflect the nature with all its perfect imperfections, with the ultimate goal of making our patients loving all kinds of smiles, teeth and shapes.
Who/what have been the strongest influences in your life?
I am extremely lucky say that I have such supportive family who has always pushed me to do better and worked very hard for me to continue my education. I certainly think that I wouldn’t be here without their constant support.
Another one is my partner; he is my rock and he is by my side with every decision I take. I could not ask for more.
I also look up to big names in the industry like Sabine Mayer, Mitsu Fukushima, Thomas Sing and feel inspired.
How would friends and acquaintances describe you?
They would describe me a toothy weirdo, always craving bread, never too far away from my phone which is full of random molars and cat pictures, while also scrolling through the next holiday destination.
They would probably say that I’m outgoing and chatty – maybe too chatty!
Share with us something you would like to improve
I think patience would be one for sure. I am, most of the time, my harshest critic and I often find myself wanting everything at once instead of just taking baby steps and working towards my goals.
How do you unwind outside the dental lab?
Outside of the dental lab, I try to go the gym as many times as possible. But I am always thinking of the next escape into any green space where I can admire the nature in all of its beauty.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Talking pure holiday and exploring vibes, I’ve absolutely enjoyed a week in the Zakynthos, one of the awesome Greek islands and I can’t wait to visit again.
Their food, desire to always make you feel welcomed, the rich history of the island and the clear blue water just make me want to go now!
However, whenever I found myself in need of just catching up with sleep and reconnecting with myself, I always flew back to the place I grew as a child.
What’s your favourite film?
I’m definitely a Harry Potter fan! I can’t imagine a better film scene than a Harry Potter, rainy, autumn day and a tea in my hand!
And, of course, my cats on the couch. My partner usually ends up chilling on the floor – he can’t really say no to the cats who clearly own the house!
What music do you listen to?
I don’t think that I have a specific genre, but I certainly enjoy a lot of Latino music! Perhaps it’s not the most ideal music to listen to while trying to focus on a shape of a single central.
Before you know it, you end up dancing and that’s certainly what you don’t want to do when you try to shape it!
I also love a little bit of jazz.
What was the last picture you took on your phone?
It was actually a vegan recipe I found on Instagram. I adopted a plant-based diet a while ago so I’m always looking for mouth-watering vegan recipes.
Sum yourself up in three words.
Curious, ambitious and passionate.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
For all the amazing female techs out there who want to join the effort of making our voices heard, come and join the Nightshift movement on Instagram, which is a community created by four inspiring women where we can connect, learn and grow together. The spotlight is ours!
I’d also like to mention that I have some amazing, talented technicians who have been close friends and strong influences in my life.