Materials and technology come and go, but strong relationships will always be a vital component of running a successful dental practice. We know the right lab can be a differentiator for dentists. That’s why we want you to have a lab relationship that helps improve patient retention, increase referrals and enhance customer lifetime value. When you find the right lab, you can retire with it. Here are the top five things you should expect from your dental lab.
1. Access to the person working on your case.
The work you do is personal, and your relationship with your lab should be, too. Big-box labs don’t always have local offices and, when you call, you never know who’s going to answer the phone on the other end. When you know the person working on your case, you suddenly have a partner to help you work through challenges. Dedicated technicians will work hard to make you happy and will be there to troubleshoot difficult cases. Do you know your lab technician by name? Maybe it’s time you should.
2. A lab that supports the way you practice dentistry.
The development of digital technologies will help dentistry meet increasing consumer demands, and it will change how dentists and labs communicate. If you have a digital impression machine in your office, you should be able to send digital impressions to your lab. Many labs will be able to handle the basics, but not every lab keeps up with new materials and technology driving the industry forward. Ask your lab how technology can help create better products and services for your practice.The most progressive dental labs have invested in technology to control the digital workflow from start to finish. Look for labs that have made the investment in CAD/CAM technology like scanners, design stations, milling machines and 3D printers. These labs will keep your practice competitive in the marketplace. Ask your lab how technology can help create better products and services for your practice.
3. The ability to tackle complex cases.
A lab experienced with complex cases will take a consultative approach to case planning that meets the needs of your practice, all while creating a positive patient experience. This becomes magnified when dealing with multidisciplinary implant, removable, and crown and bridge cases. Should you use precision attachments? Can you use all-ceramic crowns? You should be able to call your dental lab technicians to create a treatment plan that satisfies what your patients need and what you’re comfortable doing. The right lab can spot issues before a case even starts to save you time and money. With a lab, you don’t just pay for materials and labor; you pay for expertise. Your lab should apply its years of experience to each and every case.
4. Support to help you grow your practice.
A full-service lab closely integrates into your practice to become an extension of your current business. Labs that outsource work can only give you what you ask for and may not check your prescription against best practices. A full-service lab knows your preferences and can translate them across all departments to give you more control over outcomes. Your lab should strive to improve quality and reliability, all while reducing costs and encouraging innovation. Can your dental lab help you achieve your goal of tackling larger treatment plans, including cosmetic cases, fully edentulous hybrid denture cases, implant cases and other combination cases? Look to your lab for local continuing education opportunities and for the ability to consult on best practices with complex cases.
5. A trusted business partner.
Filling out an Rx form is just the beginning. Your dental lab should work with you to find solutions that meet the unique needs of your practice. The right lab relationship shouldn’t be disruptive; it should help derive greater value so you can take your business where you want it to go. Your lab should already be set up to manage your needs, align with your goals and be invested in supporting your practice well into the future. This includes staying accountable by doing most of its work in-house without having to waste valuable time waiting on third-party companies to complete the order. A lab should stand behind their work and the work of the dentist. If it doesn’t, maybe it’s time to switch. A lab should stand behind their work and the work of the dentist.