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- December 2014
Every now and then something comes along to add spice and extra-rich texture to the make-up of our community and that kind of energy is both welcome and contagious. If you’re familiar with the group that calls itself DTG, the Dental Technicians Guild, you know what I mean. It has an edgy cool that exudes energy and also draws it in. Its goal is to celebrate a passion for restorations that mimic natural dentition in both form and function.
Social media plays a large role in keeping members of the group active and engaged 24/7. DTG members share photos of their work on the Guild’s members-only...
- November 2014
Competing on price is not, of course, an unfamiliar reality—production/high volume laboratories have been the perceived competitors of small laboratories for decades. But now, with digital technology available to all size laboratories, the competitive arena enables some laboratories to make a comfortable profit via sheer volume and that is one of the causes of industry-wide price erosion.
As you see from our cover story, The Race to the Bottom is the takeaway mantra of respondents to LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey and it isn’t pretty. Because of price competition—fueled largely by...
- October 2014
With all the bad news about stiff competition and price erosion, I thought we all could use a “feel good” reminder that you deliver an invaluable service to the patients who receive your work; I’m one of them!
In March 2013, I went to a local general practitioner to have number 14 looked at. I was unable to chew without getting a shooting pain. (I wrote about this earlier and, for the details and more photos, go to http://lmtmag.com/series/baddentistry.)
Unfortunately, because this dentist didn’t realize how traumatized the tooth was—and didn’t give it a chance...
- September 2014
The great transition taking hold of the way our community works is far from settling down as strategies continue to be employed and tested by tomorrow’s business leaders. Some of the changes have the capacity to pull the rug out from under us even as we retool to adapt to today’s innovations.
Though there will be an increased need for restorative work among aging boomers in the near future, right now it’s a huge challenge for laboratories to make it to that future. Having a detailed read on the market—that would enable you to see your own future more clearly—would...
- August 2014
LMT’s Buyer’s Guide is timed to coincide with your end-of-year fiscal planning and serves as a reminder that the cost of purchased or leased equipment (as well as off-the-shelf software) can be deducted under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code.
- June 2014
One of the reasons lab owners prefer to fly solo is that they have no appetite for dealing with the challenges that come with personnel management.
There’s no doubt that more people mean more issues. However, there are also as many, if not more, positives for having employees, key among them is that they play a critical role in a business’s ability to grow and prosper.
Listening to recent news discussions for or against raising the federally mandated minimum wage to $10.10 has me wondering: What do you feel your responsibility is to your employees? What obligations do you feel you have...
- May 2014
During the start-up years of LMT, I read several articles about how product life cycles are bell curves; they typically peak and then decline. I also subscribed to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and it featured a series about why most startups fail within the first five years.
Between the image of the bell curve and the HBR stats, the message loomed large that I needed to remain on high alert to recognize when LMT might peak and start to decline. I also decided it was important to have more than one product. We created LAB DAY.
Our fourth year was exceptional; I knew then that we were going...
- April 2014
Over the last 30 years or so, the use of alternative/complementary medical therapies has become more widespread in the U.S. Now allopathic (traditional) practices are taking a more holistic approach to healthcare and the trend is continuing to generate more avenues of opportunity.
In addition, as we learn ever more about how the human body works, it’s become clearer to the traditional medical profession that many important clues to one’s health can be gotten from the oral cavity and, thus, it is of increasing importance for physicians and dentists to work together for the well-being...
- March 2014
LAB DAY Chicago was particularly energized this year.
With technology calling the shots on so many levels, it seemed attendees flooded the Exhibit Hall and educational programs with a heightened level of enthusiasm. That’s just what’s needed if you want to keep on top of what’s trending.
Like you, manufacturers are caught up in this enthusiasm as well; they have no choice. Even though they are the ones spearheading the digital transition, it is an intense time for them. Take any heavy-hitting, long-time player in this field: from their perspective, it’s unimaginable to think...
- January 2014
This year marks LMT’s and LAB DAY Chicago’s 30th birthdays and we plan to celebrate all year long. Come celebrate with us in the pages of LMT, at LAB DAY and online as we take a walk through 30 years of history.
Online, we’re taking our cue from a popular internet trend called Throwback Thursday during which users post old photos. We’re calling ours Throwback Thirty and will be posting photos and snippets from our 30-year history with you every Thursday on The Bridge at LMTmag.com/ThrowbackThirty. But to make it really fun, we want you to join in!
We’d like you to...
- November 2013
It’s inevitable that there’ll be things in our lives we wish we’d have done differently. Regret has value if, instead of dwelling on lost opportunity, it brings about change.
Last month, at the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Awards reception in Philadelphia (see details on page 42), I came face to face with one of those moments of regret: I knew Dr. Shils but I never made it a point to really know him.
I was 35 when I first met him. He was twice that. Shils was the Executive Director of the Dental Manufacturers of America (DMA) and the Dental Dealers of America (DDA)....
- September 2013
We all know it was not an overnight transition but here we are: a genuinely digital industry. There were several years during which you expressed frustration that all the trade magazines placed so much emphasis on CAD/CAM technology. Now you know why! It’s our job to sound the alert when we recognize a change that’s not a fad but a trend that’s about to take over.
I feel it’s time for us to recognize and claim this transition officially made.
LMT’s most recent survey data shows that 89% of the C&B and Full Service labs [that participated in our survey] interface...
- August 2013
Sometimes one poor decision turns a routine restoration into an expensive, time-consuming series of additional procedures and discomfort. I think there were two poor decisions made in my case. Check one for the practitioner and one for me.
This is my story and it pretty much dominated my summer.
Lately, Iâd noticed some pain when chewing, but I wasnât sure whether it was coming from that tooth or the opposing PFM crown. Though #19 had a root canal [the one from LMTâs second crown experiment, 1987], there was a chance that the tooth had cracked.
Decision day. I went in to have the filling removed to see what was left of the tooth. Even this standard procedure is one that separates excellent dentists from just okay dentists. Unfortunately, this dentist is "just okay."
After the decision was made, I learned that there were several things she might have been able to do to better stabilize this tooth. But none of these things were on the table.
Take another look at the X-ray. [And, by the way, take a look at the bitewing to note the occlusion.] Note that there is a good amount of natural tooth surrounding the filling. From her...
The Night of June 6
A bunch of us were sitting around the fire pit on my patio, protected from the rain by a covered pergola. It was a Thursday night. We—LMT staff members, Andy and I—were enjoying our visitors from the Chicago LAB DAY setup team. Without warning, my laughter was replaced with a yelp; what started as a low-grade ache suddenly turned into a searing pain in my mouth.
I knew in that instant that #14 was saying it's time for that root canal procedure.
But we still had another day of scheduled activities with our visitors, so ibuprofen and I coexisted until Monday morning...
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After the Fall
After finally finding my fallen crown, I gently ran my tongue across the prepped area. It felt like a wizard's hat: thin, tall and pointy.
We headed for home but made a stop for lunch along the way. That's when the wizard's hat came loose. I now held it in my hand. It didn't look or feel like a piece of my tooth. I stashed it in the plastic bag that held my crown and called my once husband/dentist Rob.
Since my appointment with the prosthodontist was over a week away, he said, "Stop by my house on your way home, I'll cover the exposed root with cement for added protection. You...
The following week, the prosthodontist confirmed that, indeed, the next step would be the crown lengthening procedure followed by six weeks of healing time before he would insert a post to further support the crown. And, as Bill Mrazek, CDT, recommended, the best restoration in this case, would be a PFM. He and his office are the cat's meow when it comes to professionalism and patient care and I'm fortunate to become their patient.
The periodontist he recommended was the same one I'd already called so that added to my feeling of being in the right hands. I've since had the crown lengthening procedure....
This week I was scheduled to have two posts placed in my crown-lengthened tooth. That didn't happen.
Instead of feeling no pain in the tooth, it became increasingly sensitive to pressure. Then, a few weeks ago, I couldn't tolerate anything cold in that quadrant of my mouth. So I went to see the prosthodontist who tapped the teeth in the area. The cold sensitivity was coming from #15, not #14 and he thought it would go away. It did.
But he also acknowledged that #14 should not be sensitive to touch. He sent me back to the endodontist. He considered for a second the possibility of a fourth canal...
What I love most about LMT’s Buyer’s Guide is that it is truly comprehensive. We do not require participants to pay a single cent to be included in this annual directory. (Of course, some do choose to enhance their listing visibility with advertising options.)
This year’s Guide includes 373 manufacturers and suppliers, 85 subcontractors—pretty much on par with last year’s numbers—and includes over 1,600 product trade names which makes us feel pretty good about your ability to find the resources you need to run your laboratory, right here in this one...
- June 2013
This year, the hour hand of the clock seemed to move like the minute hand and suddenly we were at LAB DAY West. It’s the show that marks the end of show season and the show that used to be regional but this year drew attendees from 24 states and nine countries!
Though each of our shows has its own compelling personality, we love that our last one has that unmistakable, laid-back California vibe. The exhibit hall was flooded from early morning on; attendees came early, stayed all day and visited a lot giving us a chance to catch up with the very many friends we’ve made over the last...
- May 2013
Like most of you, I did not have any kind of formal management training. Instead, my route to figuring out how to do it right was fraught with twists and turns, leaving my early-career staff members confused and unhappy.
At one point back then, I tried mimicking my boss since everyone responded quickly to his every request. But as soon as I tried talking his talk, he made a beeline to my office to tell me to knock it off. "You have to be you," he said. "You can't 'do' me and expect people to respond well to it; it's not genuine."
It wasn't the magic bullet but it sunk in and helped me recognize...
- April 2013
Just about every online news story enables readers to add comments at the end of the coverage. It's really wonderful to have this means of voicing our opinions and reactions to things that go on around us. It enhances our desire to belong, feel connected and—most importantly—help one another. This is a new kind of journalism; one that is interactive.
To a degree, responses often mimic the type of news reported, in terms of substance and energy. When a topic is upbeat, intriguing, beguiling, etc., the posts are likely to match in spirit.
For example, comments posted to a recent article...
- March 2013
- February 2013
LMT's home is Newtown, Connecticut. Several of us live here, too.
When I heard David Wheeler, the father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim, Ben, speak last month, I felt his words needed to most urgently be broadcast across our United States. He said: "My wife and I have spent the last month tasked with being the best possible parents for our surviving son, Nate. But what we have recently come to realize is that we are not done being the best parents we can be for Ben. If there is something in our society that needs to be fixed or healed or resolved, it needs a point of origin. It needs...