Made in Eastern Iowa: Dental Prosthetic Services

By Ashley Hinson, Anchor/Reporter


By Ashley Hinson

CEDAR RAPIDS – Today’s Made in Eastern Iowa marks the 30th business featured in the series. This business is all about smiles.

Cedar Rapids based Dental Prosthetic Services or “DPS” molds, shapes, and polishes up dental devices. It was founded in 1972, and is now run by the founder’s daughter, Kristine Van Cleve, and a business partner, Dennis Becker. 

"Crowns, bridges, retainers for kids, dentures, partials,” are all made at their facility, said Kristine Van Cleve, who is now President of DPS. "We make appliances to treat sleep apnea." 

DPS has more than 70 employees from part-time delivery drivers, to full-time dental technicians. The process for what they do, actually begins with your dentist. 

"The doctor has prepared the crown, taken the impression, sent it to us and we will manufacture the crown," said Van Cleve.  It all starts with making a mold, which uses a mixture of ground up stone and water. It’s carefully measured out, and a machine even helps eliminate any air bubbles so the consistency is uniform.  Making products that end up containing porcelain and zirconia is very detailed. Workers at DPS use microscopes to zoom in on their projects, and tiny tools to grind and buff the molds. 

It’s a very artistic process.  The teeth are actually painted to look as realistic as possible. One technician we talked with said popular colors to add are blues, violets, and grays. 

The process has turned high-tech over the years. Now DPS has a digital room, where each case is analyzed and tweaked in 3D.  

Showing us one of the digital scans, Van Cleve said "On top of this substructure we will build porcelain to make it look like a final tooth."  

While the basics of the business haven't changed since DPS launched 41 years ago, the ebb and flow of what customers want has evolved. 

"Over the last ten years we have seen a lot of increased interest in cosmetic dentistry," said Van Cleve.  

Dental Prosthetic Services, making a behind the scenes "impression" on smiles across Eastern Iowa.


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