Brooklyn, NY — Renata Budny, professor of restorative dentistry at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), has been named one of the top 25 women in dentistry in the U.S. by Dental Products Report magazine, a leading trade publication in the field.
Professor Budny, who has taught at City Tech since 2004, is an expert on indirect composite resins, which are materials used in crown, bridge and ceramic restorations. They involve techniques of fabricating inlays, onlays, crowns, bridges and veneers outside of the patient’s mouth.
Her research has a dual focus. First, she compares the indirect composite resin materials available on the market for the purpose of properly applying them to the type of restorations to be made for the patient. She also studies and applies in her classroom the variety of techniques used to restore natural dentition using restorations made in the dental laboratory.
In addition, she and her colleague Professor Nicholas Manos have published and presented on the history of dental technology and the history and development of City Tech’s Department of Restorative Dentistry. The department was established in 1946 and currently has about 100 students studying for an associate degree.
Professor Budny, who was raised in Wolow, Poland, a town near Wroclaw, liked to paint and sculpt as a girl and wanted to become an interior designer. Completing advanced certificates in interior design after moving to New York, she was encouraged to pursue a career in dental laboratory technology by a friend.
“I saw that this field not only requires artistic talent, but imagination, intelligence, design and engineering skills with the goal of making a beautiful smile for a patient. It was a good fit for my talents and interests,” she explains.
After graduating from City Tech with her associate degree in what was then called dental laboratory technology (now restorative dentistry), she worked in dental labs for seven years during the week and a high-end furniture store on the weekends, where she got her chance to be an interior designer.
While working sometimes seven days a week, Professor Budny managed to earn her bachelor’s degree in management (2005) and master’s degree in banking and finance (2006) from Dowling College. She also was raising her daughter, who is now 10.
“I came to the realization that people will always need teeth, regardless of their financial status, but interior design is a luxury item dependent on the financial standing of the client and the state of the economy,” she says. “I was a single mom and figured the health profession would provide me with more financial stability but still utilize my artistic talents.”
After completing a number of written and specialty practical exams, she became a certified dental technician (CDT) in ceramics in 2004 and in crown and bridge in 2008. As a dental technician who earned higher academic degrees, she also received the CDT with a title of technologist in 2008.
“Every time I wasn’t sure I could pull it together, I thought about my daughter and her future. That gave me the strength to deal with the challenges,” Professor Budny says.
Professor Budny is active in professional organizations, serving as president and clinic director of the Greater New York CDT Study Group, for which she organizes four to six lectures a year.
When her alma mater, City Tech, encouraged her to apply for a position on the faculty, she jumped at the chance. “The workflow of a dental lab technologist is unpredictable. Having a young child, I wanted a more stable situation so that I could take her to and from school. Teaching at City Tech has been perfect in that regard, and I am totally committed to being a professor.”
Many of her students work long hours and are raising children, and Budny knows she is a good role model for them. She particularly enjoys instilling in her students a love of lifelong learning and quality work. “I feel blessed in this profession working for City Tech and CUNY. It is gratifying to see my students succeed in the professional dental environment and know I am a part of their professional journey. I really feel like I’m living my dream,” she remarks.
The largest public college of technology in New York State, City Tech/CUNY enrolls more than 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, City Tech is at the MetroTech Center academic and commercial complex, convenient to public transportation.