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- July 2013
Many laboratories are passionate about their work and the products and services they offer. But some take things a step further, creating top-notch work environments by offering outstanding perks, an impressive facility, or by going above and beyond to celebrate their employees.
If you work for a laboratory or know of one that deserves to...
- June 2013
LMT's latest survey data shows that digital technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories work: more laboratories than ever—55%—now have digital fabrication equipment in house. And of those who have invested in the technology, a whopping 94% say they're either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the equipment they've purchased.
- May 2013
From custom-milled abutments to hybrid overdentures, LMT's latest Implant Survey
covers the market's hottest trends.
Thanks to proven, long-term success rates; patient awareness; and technical advances like custom-milled abutments, implant planning software and guided surgery, the implant market continues to thrive. In fact, despite the fact that many lab owners are feeling the effects of the economic slowdown in other areas of their business, 73% of respondents to LMT's latest implant survey say the economy has not affected their implant departments (see chart 1).
- March 2013
PFMs are still prevalent—for now: High-fusing porcelain systems are still the most popular system, with 85% of respondents having one in their laboratories, and PFM restorations making up, on average, 55% of their workloads. However, 40% of our participants report a decline in the use of their high-fusing ceramic over the past two years.
Also notable: now that titanium can be effectively milled, the use of titanium ceramic systems has doubled, from 8% to 15%.
Metal free is on the rise: More than 60% of survey participants report an increase in the use of IPS e.max pressable lithium disilicate...
Nearly half of respondents to LMT's latest How's Business survey say they saw a decrease in sales and profits from 2011 to 2012 due to slower workloads and pricing pressure. "To compete with the constant barrage of solicitations my customers receive, I had to reduce my fees by 10% to 20%; this was essentially most of my profit margin," says a Washington laboratory owner. "I resisted the race to the bottom, but felt I had to be part of the solution that my customers were looking for considering the reduction in reimbursement from insurance companies."
On the other hand, 19% of respondents say business...
- 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...
There's a 50/50 chance your clients will switch laboratories in the next five years.
Want to know why they might jump ship? Read on.
The landscape of the dental profession is in transition. Dental school graduates are facing mounting debt. Reimbursement models are changing. Competition from corporate group practices is squeezing the solo practitioner. Capital expenditures to accommodate high-ticket digital technology are on the rise. But what isn't changing is what dentists look for from their laboratories: consistency is still king.
Since LMT began surveying dentists more than 25 years...
Read More 7 minute read
- 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.
With the country in the midst of what analysts are calling the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, laboratory owners say they are holding restoration fees and overall prices show no significant change from two years ago.
In fact, three quarters of respondents to LMT's 2012 Fee Survey have delayed a fee increase due to the economy—28% haven't raised prices since 2009 or earlier—most often citing offshore competition,...
Read More 6 minute read
- 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...
Uncertainty prevails among the respondents to LMT's 2012 Wage Survey and they're being cautious about rehiring or raising wages. On a positive note, more than half saw an uptick in business in the first part of 2012.
Although more than half of respondents to LMT's 2012 Wage Survey saw an uptick in business in the first part of 2012, they're taking a wait-and-see attitude and being cautious about rehiring or raising wages until they're confident the upswing will continue. "With the uncertainty in our industry and the economy, I'm hesitant to do too much—hire, buy equipment, etc. I'm working...
- 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...
From financial benefits to more family time, home-based laboratory owners are singing the praises of not having a commute.
"Very satisfied" is how three-quarters of home-based lab owners feel about their decision to work from home, according to LMT's Small Lab Survey. The financial benefits include lower overhead, no commuting costs and tax advantages. But more importantly for many respondents is the enhanced quality of life: more family time, flexible hours, more relaxed atmosphere and the ability to balance work/home demands more easily.
"I have been a working mother who was always home...
Small laboratories—those with one to three people—are the backbone of our industry, representing more than 50% of the U.S. market. LMT's Small Lab Survey offers an overview of who they are, how they work and their outlook for the future of their own businesses as well as their market segment as a whole.
For years, we've been hearing about the decline in the number of small labs and yet, to date, LMT's circulation data shows little attrition; the percentage of one- to three-person laboratories has remained relatively consistent during our 28-year history. However, more than 60%...
- January 2012
When the financial crisis hit our country in 2008, LMT immediately responded with a survey of our readers to get a baseline for how it would affect our community. And as we promised then, we've kept our finger on the pulse of the community, sharing the results of periodic follow-up surveys; here's the latest.
Using phrases like "holding on" or "treading water," many laboratory owners say they are continuing to ride out the economic storm despite not seeing much relief last year.
While 15% of respondents to LMT's most recent How's Business? survey say business remained level...
- June 2011
With an unprecedented number of laboratory owners and managers online, the internet is having an explosive impact on the way laboratories operate.
In the past decade, the number of laboratories with internet access has almost doubled, with nearly 100% of labs now having online capability. From communicating with clients to researching products to marketing, lab owners are using the internet to reach out, save time, reduce costs and increase efficiency. LMT's 2010 Internet Usage Report hits on the top web-based trends in the industry.
Communication Goes Digital
The ability to transmit...
- April 2011
In the second segment* of our new FutureLAB series, LMT takes a look at the fate of the small lab and trends that will shape the laboratory of the future, as seen by respondents to our survey of U.S. laboratory owners/managers who employ more than 50 technicians.
If the predictions of the large lab owners come true, the fate of the small laboratory is on shaky ground. Over half of the owners/managers employing more than 50 technicians who responded to LMT's FutureLAB survey believe the number of small laboratories will decline in the next five years.
While this is not a new prediction, it's...
What do your employees want from you? As with any relationship, they want respect, appreciation and honest communication, say respondents to LMT's Employee Satisfaction Survey (January 1997).
They also want an organized, comfortable, efficient workplace and to feel that they are members of a team with the opportunity for career advancement and financial security.
The majority of employee-respondents describe their supervisor as a "democratic leader" who motivates them, has a positive effect on their ability to do their jobs and shows an interest in their career advancement. However, a number...
Like never before, laboratory owners and managers are tapping into the power of CAD/CAM technology, which is proving to be a valuable image enhancer, production booster and profit generator. LMT's exclusive Digital Technology Survey offers a look at where the digital technology market is now and where it's headed.
The advent of CAD/CAM and other digital fabrication systems is unprecedented in our industry. Never before has there been such a rapid explosion of technology embraced by so many, so quickly.
In the past 10 years, close to 30 scanners and milling systems have been introduced to...
Average wages nationwide, 2008 vs. 2006
Average wages by region (crown and bridge)
Average wages by region (model and die, removables and orthodontics)
Benefits offered by laboratory size
How laboratories pay
Laboratory training strategies
Dental technicians' wages have increased only 3% overall during the last two years, according to a comparison of LMT's 2008 and 2006 Wage Surveys. Here's what the data tells us:
1. New technicians see the most growth. The wages for entry level technicians—those with less than one year of experience—have increased...
Despite the challenges of offshore competition, a limited labor pool and price cutting, the majority of respondents to LMT's 2008 Fee Survey are optimistic about the future of our industry. Over half of respondents agree with the statement, "We'll see some changes because of offshore outsourcing, automated technology, lack of training and shortage of technicians but most labs will have plenty of work" and this sentiment is consistent across all lab types and sizes.
Another 22% are even more positive saying, "We'll see the profession grow and thrive, thanks to new technology, production methods,...
When the financial crisis hit our country in 2008, LMT immediately responded with a survey of our readers to get a baseline for how it would affect our community. And as we promised then, we've kept our finger on the pulse of your businesses, sharing the results of periodic follow-up surveys; here's the latest.
"The very aggressive marketing we did when business was slow is paying dividends, and automation allows us to be very competitive in terms of pricing, even with offshore labs," says Bob Edmonds, CDT, President, Edmonds Dental Prosthetics, Springfield, MO, echoing the more-positive...
Not much, according to LMT's poll of dental consumers. In addition to polling the general public, we wanted to learn how dentists and technicians perceive the public's knowledge of dental technology.
Professionally, dental technicians often feel that they are invisible men and women, their industry largely unknown to a general public who thinks that dentists make crowns and bridges and dentures in their back rooms after hours. Their feelings are validated by LMT's poll of dental consumers across the country.
Only 10% of dental consumers polled are certain they could explain what job functions...
The specialty once considered to be the least glamorous is thriving. According to initial results of LMT's 2008 Fee Survey, 58% of our denture lab respondents report an increase in profitability in the past two years, largely due to increased sales, greater productivity and higher fees. For instance, the average fee for a complete maxillary denture charged by removable labs has jumped 25% in just two years, up from $259 to $323. Click here to view the chart
Driving this growth is an aging population of educated dental consumers who are seeking more stable, comfortable dentures. For instance,...
Identical impressions were sent anonymously to nine very different laboratories. The resulting crowns were evaluated by a panel of highly trained dentists and dental technologists. Every one of them resoundingly said: "I wouldn't want any of these in my mouth."
The evaluators--as well as LMT--were surprised by the disappointing quality of the nine crowns in our experiment, which earned an average score of only 4.3 on a scale of 0 to 10. Click here to see the average scores received by each crown in all categories. "These are amateurish crowns with no natural contours," said evaluator Fred...
When the fine folks at LMT asked if I would offer a "real-world" perspective on the restorations in their crown experiment, I agreed without hesitation. I felt I had a pretty good grasp of the "levels" of restorations being produced in our profession. I've been a dental technician for 30 years and a CDT for almost 28 years. I've presented numerous lectures and clinics and written articles for over 15 years. Many of us have looked to Willi Geller, Asami Tanaka, Lee Culp and others for inspiration, guidance and education--and continue to learn from them--in an attempt to continually raise the...