Becoming president of the Dental Laboratories Association

Becoming president of the Dental Laboratories Association

Ian Cumberland discusses the obstacles the dental technology industry is facing and what he hopes to tackle as Dental Laboratories Association president.

Please introduce yourself

Born and raised in Nottingham, I am the owner of a prosthetic laboratory called Ultimate Occlusion. I have grown-up children who still behave like children when it suits them! My wife also has her own business, so we always have a fair amount to discuss at the end of the day. We also have four dogs and a couple of tortoises.

I have a passion for anything from the 1950s and 1960s. ONwning a couple of older classic cars seemed the right thing to do when they came up for sale. I now regularly display them at classic car exhibitions.

How and why did you enter dental technology?

I always enjoyed making things and could very rarely sit still as a child. Unlike my brother who’d be happy to play chess on the computer all day. Meanwhile, I’d be making models or drawing.

After leaving school in 1986, I applied to a city centre dental practice in response to an advert in the Nottingham Evening Post. Just after my 16th birthday, I found myself in an amazing world of surgeons, patients and nurses on day release to the Nottingham People’s College. I really enjoyed the technical detail of the work I did. It was a great mix of precision and interpretation – something which I love in other aspects of my life, such as making music and classic cars.

It was my late mother who dropped the advert onto the kitchen table. I will always be in her debt for it!

You were recently elected DLA president – how does it feel? 

It feels really great. Being elected as the new president of the Dental Laboratories Association (DLA) was a wonderful moment in my career and a real honour. Having been a part of the DLA board and working with Steve Campbell for a while now, I know the size of the task in hand. I absolutely relish the opportunity I have been given – I can’t wait to start tackling the challenges which may arise.

The dental industry in the UK has some significant obstacles to overcome at the moment, particularly around effective regulation, improved access to education, and staffing. We really need to pull together to continue to provide a great service in the UK.

What does the role of DLA president involve? 

In short, I’m just the figurehead for a fantastic team who work tirelessly to support the membership. They help and support them on a daily basis as well as looking at the longer-term support for the dental laboratory industry and the dental technology profession.

Dental technology is changing at such a great pace, both with the technology that is being developed and the changing nature of how employees see the workplace. With this in mind, as an association we need to be constantly challenging ourselves by looking at what we do and how we could do it better. 

Ultimately the association needs to ensure that we get the best opportunities and working conditions for our members, while continuing to reach our high standards. 

Over the coming years, I want to increase our engagement with other stakeholders in dentistry to achieve the best possible outcomes for all UK dental labs, as it is a huge challenge. 

What do you hope to achieve as president of the DLA?

As a team, I’m hoping that we can grow our base of members. Also, to ensure that new and emerging technologies can complement what we already offer to our dentists. 

This article first appeared in Laboratory. To subscribe, join Dentistry CPD Pro.

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