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A new year brings a fresh start, a blank slate and new opportunities. I wanted to know more about your #1 priorities for 2017 so I reached out to some of you to find out what’s on your to-do lists for the year. While there are challenges to overcome, there’s also optimism about the future and, for many, 2017 is going to be a year of refinement, re-invention and exploring new directions. From veterans to newcomers and operations large and small, priorities run the gamut; here’s a look at a few of them:
Secure Group Health Insurance. Owner Colin Gibb has decided that one of the most important ways to position Red Mountain Dental Arts in Mesa, AZ, for the future is to begin offering health insurance and even pay 100% of the premium. After a lot of research, he’s about to get a commitment for an excellent plan through United Health Care; he’s also applied for a Section 125 Premium Only Plan that will cost him $150, is good for 10 years and allows his employees...
- October 2016
- July 2016
These days, especially in urban areas, we can find a place to stay through Airbnb.com, get a ride from Uber.com or carpooling.com, have household errands done via taskrabbit.com, arrange for an in-home massage through Zeel.com or get our car valet-parked by Luxe.com.
These internet-based marketplaces are part of what has been coined “the sharing economy.” Rather than getting goods or services from a traditional, centralized company or institution, we get similarly priced goods and services from other individuals mediated by some type of peer-to-peer community.
This type of collaborative consumption is considered more efficient given how infrequently we use some of the goods we own. For example, on average, our car sits idle 95% of the time and when it is used, it’s typically at 20-25% occupancy. In our industry, efficient usage is one reason why laboratory owners offer outsourcing services: one laboratory has a milling machine with excess capacity; another lab doesn’t...
- May 2016
When Gary Iocco was thinking about his long-term exit plan, he wasn’t sure he liked his options. “I didn’t have an employee interested in purchasing the lab so I thought the alternative was selling to a laboratory group,” said Iocco, Owner of Dimension Dental Design, Hastings, MN. “But I was concerned that a group would want me to change my business model, or perhaps even terminate employees or send work offshore. I just really didn’t want to do that.”
So what did he do? He joined forces with another successful laboratory owner—Todd Mayclin, CDT, Mayclin Dental Studio, Minneapolis—to form their own laboratory group. Mayclin had already acquired two other laboratories—E.C. Chmel, Eau Claire, WI and Jackson Fairmont, Fairmont, MN—and he and Iocco saw an opportunity to pool resources, ensure the longevity of each lab, and continue to grow with additional acquisitions.
In 2015, Iocco and Mayclin formed a multi-laboratory holding...
- April 2016
There were many companies exhibiting at LMT LAB DAY for the first time:
Based in São Carlos, Brazil and founded in 1977, Bio-Art Equipamentos Odontologicos offers a variety of small equipment, including articulators and facebows, microblasters, vacuum forming machines, curing lights, magnifiers, ultrasonic machines and more. Its Bio-Art semi-adjustable A7 Plus Articulator is made of aluminum and offers a modern design that provides greater visibility. It combines several features—including a Fixed Intercondylar distance at the average 110 mm; curved condylar guide; adjustable condylar guide angle; adjustable Bennet Angle; and Central Lock—making it easy to use. Visit www.bioart.com.br.
Chung Song (Sunburst) is a Korean manufacturer and exporter of lab equipment and consumables. It offers a wide variety of products including micromotors, polishing systems, plaster trays and more. Visit www.dentalmicromotor.com.
DDS-Pro USA launched its new DDS-3D Printer, which has a...
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AvaDent Digital Dentures showcased its four latest innovations:
AvaDent SHARE™ is AvaDent’s new “insourcing” option that allows you to mill AvaDent Digital Dentures in your laboratory within two days. After you send in your impression scans, AvaDent delivers the AvaDent .stl file to your lab within 24 hours. You can then mill the digital prosthesis—ranging from a baseplate to a denture base with tooth pockets—from an AvaDent Puck made of premium denture acrylic, significantly improving turnaround time compared to outsourcing the case. Compatible milling machines include Wieland, Sirona, Zirkonzahn, Datron, Roland and more.
Advanced Base Plate: Compared to AvaDent’s traditional baseplate, the new digital Advanced Base Plate design features a ridge cutout that offers more prosthetic space for the teeth and gingival buildup, and a precise junction between the milled base and the processed acrylic that eliminates any demarcation/white lines. The new...
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By investing in a scanner and 3D printer, Al Ranger has nearly tripled his lab’s production. See the steps he took before making the decision to go digital and what he’s learned along the way.
- February 2016
LMT surveyed our readers to learn more about what makes you you!+
How are you connected?
More than 70% of you own a smartphone, computer and/or tablet
76% of you spend 1-6 hours per day using digital devices including computers, laptops, MP3 players, smartphones and tablets
What are the top five ways you use your devices?
Of the 50% of you who attended a non-dental technology college, what degrees do you hold?
How many children do you have?
What are your favorite hobbies?
Watching/attending sporting events
TOP DOG: 59% of you own a dog—what other pets do you own?
What are your top 3 hot button issues?
How many of you are active in regional or state dental laboratory associations?
How do you spend time off the bench?
The majority of you...
Read up to 6 books per year
Sleep 6-7 hours per night
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- November 2015
An estimated 25 million adults in the U.S. suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances have proven to be a viable option for treatment and a huge opportunity for dentists and labs, but there are numerous complexities in the market.
Read More 9 minute read
- October 2015
Henry Schein’s Labnext is a cloud-based lab management software specifically designed for digital dentistry. The open system integrates with a variety of scanners, design software and practice management software packages and is tightly integrated with the company’s DDX (Digital Dental Exchange).
DDX is a HIPAA-compliant, web-based digital portal that helps labs accept digital files, manage casework digitally and create new lines of communication with clients. The dentists can submit all their digital scans, X-rays and photos via DDX. The laboratory can customize the case submission form and require the dentist to enter specific information, eliminating the need for data entry in the lab and minimizing errors and follow up.Streamline WorkflowWhen a dentist submits a case, the lab receives a notification in the DDX or Labnext software or via email and logs in to start the case. “When I get a case via DDX, an email pops up on my phone and I know right away that I have a...
Evident software helps the laboratory streamline its production workflow, from enabling dentists to submit cases and photos through the lab’s website, coordinating scheduling to maximize production capacity, to shipping and billing the final case.
“With so many details to keep track of in the lab, if you miss even a small detail, it can easily lead to a larger problem. Using Evident, our workflow is error-proof because it has numerous flags to indicate when something starts to go wrong,” says Jayme Hong, CEO, IDOC Dental Lab, Orange, CA.
For example, if a case gets delayed in production, the software has an internal alert system that immediately sends a notification to the designated person. The software can generate a “to do” list and email reminders for each technician so tasks don’t slip through the cracks.
Another aspect of Evident that Hong likes: it generates packaging lists including the patient’s name, ship data and the contents of the shipping...
This month, Glidewell Laboratories is upgrading its CloudPoint System to expand the indications; in addition to full contour crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays, you can now fabricate copings, bridge frameworks and split files.
The system features the CloudPoint FastScan scanner with CloudPoint FastDesign software and the CloudPoint Web Portal, all of which were developed by Glidewell Laboratories’ R&D department. The system can be purchased two ways:
The Closed System includes all of the above and your restorations are milled exclusively by Glidewell: full contour crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays are milled in BruxZir® and BruxZir Anterior Solid Zirconia; copings, bridge frameworks and split files are available in Prismatik CZ™ as well as printed in castable resin. Designed for the small lab getting into digital technology, this is the lower-priced option and there is a one-time fee of $11,399+.
The Open System also includes the scanner, software and portal but allows...
Launched this month, Crownbox is an online marketplace where any laboratory or milling center can connect to buy and sell dental milling and printing services. “Crownbox is like an eBay for our industry, connecting buyers and sellers of dental CAD/CAM. It’s a venue for companies that have invested in CNC milling and 3D printing equipment to sell these services and for labs that would like more options when it comes to outsourcing partners. We’ve created a platform that improves access for everyone,” says Alex Frangadakis, Crownbox Founder and CEO.
Crownbox enables laboratories to order milled abutments, bars, crowns, printed models and partials, etc., from multiple milling centers simultaneously. Users can drag-and-drop .stl files, enter case details, submit orders and track cases at different locations and order status all within a single platform.
For sellers, Crownbox offers a new marketing opportunity and distribution channel. Milling centers can set up a free...
The latest version of Evolution Software from Atlanta Based Systems (ABS), released last month, has expanded the existing communications features, adding more automatic notification options to further facilitate and track digital communications.
Automatic notifications can be sent via email or pop-up windows in the software to multiple users at the lab when, for example, a case has arrived or the dentist has added a new image or note to the case file. Likewise, users can set up automatic email alerts so dentist-clients know when a case is received or shipped.
“I'm all about automation, and we use these emails to make sure our customers are receiving updates from us on our cases. For example, if we need a new lower impression, we send the dentist a case ‘hold’ notification and type a note regarding what we need. Automatically, an email is sent to the primary contact for the account and a record is saved in the file,” says Lee Coursey, Managing Partner,...
FullContour Design Center’s new online platform, DropDental.com, is a custom, cloud-based, drag-and-drop file transfer system that gives its customers a one-stop source for uploading, ordering and managing all their digital restorations. Launched in September, the platform features two key changes to help streamline laboratories’ digital workflow:
Manufacturing partner integration. Previously, FullContour would receive a lab’s scan file, design the case, and send it back to the lab for fabrication; the lab would either process the case in house or submit it to a third-party. Now, the user can have the finished design automatically sent to the manufacturing partner of his choice at no extra charge via DropDental.com.
“Some of our customers were logging into as many as eight different manufacturer websites a day to get their cases fabricated,” says Brandon Camping, CTO, who spent seven years at Apple. “DropDental.com consolidates all of a lab’s...
Three years ago, CAP (formerly Custom Automated Prosthetics) began developing software to make its milling center as efficient as possible. Its goal: to automate many of the steps between each process of the CAD/CAM workflow and eliminate duplicate data entry into their lab management software and again in the scanning department.
The result: CAPZilla, a workflow automation platform that streamlines many functions within the digital fabrication process. For example:
A barcode scan of the work ticket at the model and die scan station adds all essential information into all the appropriate data fields, saving time and eliminating human error at this step.
Once scanned, a designer can scan the work ticket or select the case in the CAPZilla case overview list. The prescription and customer design preferences are displayed and then the order is opened in 3Shape Designer. After the design is complete, CAPZilla automatically moves the case to milling or prompts the designer to produce...
Based on extensive customer feedback, LabStar released an upgrade that includes over 200 new production line management features. “Small changes in workflow can yield great changes in production efficiency. We’ve done a complete overhaul to further simplify manufacturing processes and ensure consistent, on-time manufacturing in the laboratory,” says Jeff Noles, CEO of LabStar and a former lab owner.
Released in August, the upgraded cloud-based software includes a tablet-friendly interface so technicians can scan material barcodes to log them into cases, view and add file attachments, and record case notes from their tablet.
Other advantages of the upgraded software include:
Flexible scheduling: You can easily schedule and reschedule tasks, technicians, ship dates and due dates. The combination case logic allows scheduling for different restorations on the same work ticket. It also gives you the option to designate specific tasks as “incompressible,” meaning...
Argen Digital’s ArgenLink is a new cloud-based, drag and drop file transfer system customers can use to order SLM, printed and milled restorations, temps and digital models. It streamlines the ordering process by allowing laboratories to export cases directly from 3Shape’s Dental Manager into ArgenLink in seconds, without any data entry. (It will soon be available for exocad and DentalWings.)
All the order information—from lab customer details to manufacturing preferences and material selection—is dynamically populated in the system. A dashboard offers real-time updates throughout the manufacturing process, including case status, package tracking, case reorders and cancellations. Laboratories also have the ability to batch upload files of various material types and restoration sizes concurrently, including split files.
“Previously, we had to do a lot of data entry and upload the files one at a time. Now, we just enter the case numbers, drag and drop the...
LMT profiles nine software innovations—many of them new or recently upgraded—that are helping labs upload files faster, reap the benefits of the cloud, increase efficiency, track metrics, accept digital impressions, outsource more easily and enhance their customer service and communication efforts.
- June 2015
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.”
- May 2015
As part of our ongoing State of the Industry 2015 coverage, LMT Editors visited the world’s largest dental show to bring you the scoop on the latest product and process innovations worldwide—including digital dentures, laser milling and more—and what else is coming down the pike for the U.S. market.
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- March 2015
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.
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CAP is now Amann Girrbach’s premier partner in North America, selling the complete line of AG equipment, material and tools, as well as enhancing training and customer support.
- February 2015
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.
Read More 11 minute read