Achieving successful restorations with the right fit, function and esthetic means being able to effectively communicate with your lab. Since dental technicians don’t usually see the patient, it’s crucial that dental team members communicate clearly and effectively. An Rx is a tool for communication, not collaboration. When you know what you want, you fill out the Rx and the lab fills the order. But an Rx isn’t the right tool to troubleshoot issues or case plan. When communication issues include lack of information regarding design, turnaround time or shade, the final decision is often left to the lab technician. Without proper feedback, things can get missed and increase the likelihood of a remake. Here are some things to consider before filling out your next Rx.

Master the basics.

Prescription requests can often be unclear or lack pertinent information. It may seem obvious, but make sure your prescription includes the name and signature of the dentist, patient name, due date, shade and type of restoration with clear instructions.

Never write ASAP.

In the lab industry, ASAP might as well mean never. Always have a hard date in mind when you fill out your Rx so the lab can prioritize your case. If you know you have a multi-unit case or need a rush, give the lab a heads-up ahead of time so we can be on top of your case.

Specify the Dentin shade.

Not filling out the Dentin shade can cause unnecessary guesswork—especially with all ceramic e.max, Empress and layered zirconia cases. If you have a dark Dentin, let us know and we can suggest materials dentists can work with chairside to block it out prior to the final impression. If you’re local, we can also see patients in person for shade matching.

Provide more information.

More information is always better: desired occlusion, contacts, desired occlusal stain, esthetic characteristics and other pertinent items. For cosmetic cases, send a patient wish list with photos or magazine cutouts to highlight preferences like tooth shape.

Send pictures.

Photos are a huge help in matching restorations. Send a patient picture where there’s no moisture to highlight color on the occlusal surface of the tooth. This is usually done before any anesthetic, which dries out the mouth and can alter tooth color.

Write a letter or email.

Want to communicate a complex treatment plan? Send a letter or email to provide us with more information that didn’t make it onto the initial Rx.

Submit the bite.

Submit the bite registration with the patient biting down before and after prep. This will help the lab verify the bite and put together the model on an articulator.

Mount your own case.

For particularly tricky bites, you may want to mount your own case. Indicate “doctor to mount case” on the Rx and the lab will return the pinned working models and articulator for the dentist. As the dentist, you can check the articulated model against the patient bite. A correctly articulated model will prevent costly remakes and chairside adjustments.

Request to trim your own dies.

Some patients are hard to prep and you may be concerned about the margin. In this situation, indicate “doctor to trim die” on the Rx and the lab will return the models mounted, sectioned and pinned. This way, the doctor can ensure hard to see margins are trimmed accurately. While trimming your own dies may delay the turnaround time by a couple days, it may also eliminate a costly remake appointment. That’s time well spent.

Give us a call.

Questions about appropriate materials or have a tricky prep? Call us or make a note on the Rx that you need more in-depth case support. While quickly filling out an Rx works for most restorations, every case is unique and some may require less common restorative options not outlined on the standard form. Taking the team approach is always a winning formula, so don’t hesitate to call the lab to discuss your options.

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