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The results of LMT’s State of Digital Technology 2015 survey are in! Eighty percent of respondents rate their all-ceramic workload as “good” or “booming.”
Fifty percent of the removable laboratory owner/manager respondents to LMT’s State of the Industry 2015 survey rate their current workload as “booming” or “good,” with another 38% saying it’s “stable.” And half go so far as to say removable prostheses are recession proof.
“There will always be that socioeconomical segment of society who won’t be able to afford implants or crowns and for whom dentures are the most logical solution; it’s that simple. Patients would rather spend their hard-earned money on other things,” says Tony Deangelis, CDT, Owner, Depot Dental Lab, Wood Dale, IL.
A laboratory owner from Pennsylvania agrees. “During my career, when the economy is poor, the amount of denture work has always increased. Patients still need teeth but can’t or won’t risk their savings.”
In the past five years, the removable prostheses for which there have been the most significant increase in dentist...
Laboratory respondents to our State of the Industry 2015 survey ranked clients’ impression-taking skills as their number-one client-related challenge, saying one quarter of the impressions that come into their laboratory are inadequate, a result of dentists not following manufacturers’ guidelines, delegating the task to assistants, or just not carefully evaluating the impressions before sending them to the lab.
While 94% of laboratory-respondents say they’re comfortable calling their clients for replacement impressions, they often still hear those words that make most of them cringe: do the best you can.
“I cannot do the best I can without a good impression. Just one or two minutes of their time could save so much on both sides,” says Carol Sullivan, CDT, Owner, Dental Lab Solutions, Loveland, CO. “I often just refuse those impressions or I send the model to the doctor and ask him to trim the die or reimpress. After that happens a few times, they start...
A surge of digital technologies, the corporatization of dentistry and omnipresent insurance woes are just a few of the challenges impacting your dentist-clients. As part of our State of the Industry 2015 survey coverage, LMT polled 80 dentists from around the country to get their perspectives on these trends and more. Here’s what they had to say.
They’re hesitant about digital impressionsAlthough 41% of laboratories are equipped to accept digital impressions, dentists have been slower to adopt the technology: labs receive digital impressions from only 6% of their clients. While many dentists acknowledge that digital impressions are likely the future, those who aren’t ready to adopt the technology most often point to the high cost and what they say is a questionable return on investment.
“I believe there are benefits to digital impression systems, but like all of the amazing opportunities in digital dentistry today, a purchase has to be carefully...
Fifty-five percent of our State of the Industry 2015 survey respondents have recently changed their business model to increase profitability, gain new clients and be more competitive. Five of our respondents share their stories.
The first part of LMT’s comprehensive, multi-issue State of the Industry 2015 coverage offers an in-depth look at the key trends impacting laboratory operators today.
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- October 2014
LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey respondents offer a mixed picture of their sales and profitability. On one hand, laboratory sales seem to be slowly improving. Profits, though, seem to be lagging behind.
A 2014 Fee Survey participant from the Midwest—who prefers to remain anonymous—offers a thoughtful take on how the rampant price competition on full contour zirconia restorations is negatively affecting the bottom line of many laboratories. Here’s what he had to say:
In the early 1980s, the price of gold skyrocketed and non-precious alloy showed up on the scene. Since it was a cheap metal, most labs didn’t even add the cost of the metal into the crown fee. However, they weren’t thinking about the revenue they had been making on gold alloys—or about the increase in labor because non-precious takes longer to finish—so their profitability suffered.
A similar trend is happening with FCZ. In many laboratories, FCZ is cannibalizing their PFM work and the labs are losing the alloy revenue. And, as the economy has declined, so has the price of FCZ: the $99 FCZ was born, quickly gained market penetration and the race to the bottom began. Many labs...
- September 2014
Nearly three quarters of respondents to LMT’s exclusive 2014 Wage Survey have taken cost-cutting measures related to personnel in the last two years, citing unpredictable workflows, pricing pressure from dentists and other low-cost labs, and an increase in business costs.
- May 2013
Despite the fact that many lab owners have been feeling the effects of the economy in many areas of their businesses, the majority of respondents to LMT's latest survey say the implant department isn't one of them.
- March 2013
The growing popularity of all-ceramic restorations continues to erode the PFM market. The percentage of metal-free work being done—45%—is up 15% in just three years, and 20% since 2008.
Sixty-eight percent of the larger laboratory respondents to LMTâs latest Howâs Business? survey are optimistic about this year, compared to only 42% of labs with five or fewer employees.
- February 2013
LMT's February 2013 issue features our 2013 Dentist Survey conducted with Dental Economics. Our dentist-respondents speak out on...
...Why They Switch Labs
• Quality wasn't consistent.
• Cases returned with open margins.
• Crowns had high occlusion and open contacts.
• Inconvenient to work with due to the distance from my practice.
• I have switched from PFM crowns to PFZ or full zirconia crowns. My previous lab was not yet offering this service. Meanwhile, I was noticing that I was taking too much time to adjust my PFM crowns and was becoming increasingly frustrated. At the same time, the zirconia crowns from lab #2 were seating in a much shorter period of time and the esthetics were gorgeous. When I took into consideration the lower-priced lab fees for a zirconia-based crown, the decision to switch labs was a "no-brainer. "
• They hired new technicians and the work was not of the same quality.
• Technician/case manager left, leading to poor communication...
Thereâs a 50/50 chance your clients will switch laboratories in the next five years. Want to know why they might jump ship? Read the results of LMTâs 2013 Dentist Survey conducted jointly with Dental Economics.
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- October 2012
The majority of respondents to LMT's 2012 Fee Survey are delaying fee increases in the face of price-cutting competition and declining caseloads.
- September 2012
Forty-five percent of respondents to LMT's exclusive 2012 Removable Survey rate the market as good and 35% classify it as fair. The majority say their removable business in the first half of 2012 is level or just slightly up or down compared to all of 2011.
At one end of the spectrum is the 9% of survey participants who say the market is booming and that business is markedly up. "All areas of our removable department are up. We had a record May and July was not far behind. As far as fixed, we are down double digits," says Gary Iocco, Owner, Dimension Dental Design, Hastings, MN.
At the opposite end of the scale is the 11% who say the market is poor. "We're down 30 to 40%. Not much new work is coming in; mostly repairs, temporaries and nightguards," says the President of a New Jersey lab.
About one third of our respondents are seeing an uptick in the number of complete dentures being prescribed by their GP clients. Restorations for which they've seen the greatest increase in demand...
Uncertainty prevails among the respondents to LMTâs 2012 Wage Survey and theyâre being cautious about rehiring or raising wages. On a positive note, more than half saw an uptick in
- June 2012
Respondents to LMT's Small Lab Survey speak out about the future of our industry.
The Future Looks . . . Great
My business has stayed strong through this terrible economy. If I made it through this, I can make it through anything. My cosmetic workload dropped off a bit during the past couple of years, but has really picked back up as of late.
My future looks incredibly solid. As the masses move toward CAD technology, I move in the completely opposite direction. I educate my clients on the shortcomings of this new technology and they're grateful for the insight. I work with dentists who appreciate what I can do for them, they trust my expertise and we love working as a team.
The outlook is great. My philosophy has always been keep doing what I am doing. There is a huge demand for removable technicians due to the demand for dentures, partials, etc.
I currently have a full workload most of the time; occasionally, a little more than I would prefer.
I have been working with my clients...
Three-quarters of home-based lab owners responding to LMT's survey are "very satisfied" with their decision to work from home. In addition to the financial benefits, they appreciate the flexibility, relaxed atmosphere and their ability to balance work/home demands more easily.
The majority of respondents to LMT's Small Lab Survey are enthusiastic about the outlook for their own businesses, calling their future "good" or "great." However, their prediction for the market segment as a whole isn't quite so rosy.
- January 2012
- June 2011
LMT's 2010 Internet Usage Report coverage explains how laboratory owners are using the internet to reach out, save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency.
- April 2011
In Part 1 of our report, LMT looks at what's on the minds of dental laboratory owners and managers across the country and delves into the current and emerging trends in our industry.
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