Welcome to The BRIDGE, the social and information hub of the dental lab industry. Connect with industry peers and vendors, ask questions, sign up for events, review products, read LMT articles and industry news and more!
In October 1985, amidst rumblings that U.S. laboratories were farming work out to offshore laboratories, LMT brought the issue out into the open. Our interview with Jerry Doviack, CDT, Owner of California-based Continental Dental Ceramics, took readers inside Interdent, his facility in the Philippines and sparked intense industry debate.
- November 2013
"If you want to stay in business today, you can't compete on price. You have to be willing to change and offer something new," says Bob Iuliano, CDT, Owner of three-person Adirondack Dental Ceramics, Queensbury, NY. "I believe bringing a mill into our lab saved our lab. Without it, I think we would have eventually gone out of business."
Four years ago, when Iuliano wanted to start offering zirconia restorations, he did what many small laboratory owners do: he outsourced them. After going through a number of outsourcers, he found one he liked and the arrangement worked well for two-and-a-half...
- October 2013
Almost 50% of respondents to LMT's Subcontracting Services Survey say there's been an increase in the amount of work they've been sending out to be fabricated by other laboratories and/or manufacturers in the past five years. Much of this increase is the result of the growing demand for digitally fabricated restorations, and is coming from smaller laboratories. Four of the top five restorations being outsourced are zirconia copings and frameworks, full contour zirconia crowns and bridges, zirconia abutments and titanium abutments.
On average, respondents subcontract 17% of their total workload....
- September 2013
A year ago, Whip Mix Corp. promoted its Vice President of Manufacturing, Jim Myers, to President of the company, succeeding Allen Steinbock, the grandson of Whip Mix Founder Edmund Steinbock, Sr. This promotion makes Myers the first non-family member President in the company's history. LMT travelled to Louisville, KY, to talk with Myers about...
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...
- April 2013
LMT magazine's LAB DAY in Chicago is the industry's educational superdome and the place for product launches and breaking news in the U.S. This year, more than 3,100 attendees from 47 states and 49 countries came to learn about new techniques, shop for the latest products, and meet up with their peers to share business strategies. Below is an overview of the hot topics that inspried dialogue and debate during our profession's biggest weekend of the year:
Business Barometer: Mixed Reviews. A number of attendees were optimistic about the start of 2013 with many telling LMT that business was...
Read More 6 minute read
- 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...
Last month, Dental Arts Laboratories (DAL)--headquartered in Peoria, IL, with eight locations across the Midwest--launched DAL DT Technologies, a new division solely dedicated to the development and service of CAD/CAM technology and other laboratory subcontracting services. In addition, it provides scanners, mills, consumable materials and laboratory integration services to DAL DT Partner Laboratories. The laboratory hasn't entered into this new venture lightly; rather, it has made several strategic changes over the last two years.
Like many laboratories, DAL had ventured into digital technology,...
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
- January 2013
In February 2012, Lakeland Dental Technologies in Grand Rapids, MN, became one of the first labs, excluding beta testers, to install the complete Jensen Digital Solution which includes the Jensen STII Scanner, Lava™ Design 7 Software, Jensen Mill and DEKEMA Austromat baSiC® Sintering Furnace.
The 13-person, full service, family-owned lab has had a CAD/CAM system since 2005 so some of its all-ceramic work was done digitally but most of its processes were still conventional. Initially, Eric Sjodin, Vice President and Head of the C&B department, had planned to purchase only a new scanner...
- November 2012
In 2004, New Image/Laboratory Solutions became the first 3M ESPE Lava Milling Center on the East Coast. Victor Harp, an up-and-coming waxer/finisher, learned the system and wowed everyone with how quickly he picked up the digital process. "He was like a kid in a candy store playing with the machine and got great results right from the start,"...
- 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...
- 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...
Mary Waldron, BS, MA
Westwind Dental Designs, Big Rapids, MI
Years in industry: 37
Lab opened: 2011
Talk about a view. Westwind Dental Designs, owned by Mary Waldron, BS, MA, is located on Waldron's 90-acre property—a former dairy farm—and is surrounded by grassy fields, ponds and wildlife such as geese, deer and even an occasional eagle.
The lab is located 100 yards from Waldron's home in a 2,400-sq-ft barn custom-built by Waldron's husband. The lab occupies about one-third of the barn; the rest of the building houses Waldron's pottery studio and her husband's equipment...
- LMT Communications, Inc. · Jun 2012
Claus Dampmann, General Manager, ProLab Solutions, Inc. provides a counter viewpoint to those who have concerns about the materials being used in China.
I'd like to comment on the April and May Letters to the Editor regarding material usage and disclosure documentation for restorations being produced by offshore laboratories and specifically those in China.
As the general manager of ProLab Solutions, Inc., which outsources work to China, I am very supportive of full disclosure as it relates to offshore restorations and would like to provide a counter viewpoint to those who have...
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%...
Read More 5 minute read
- May 2012
After four years, 17 amendments, countless committee debates, and initial resistance from the state dental association and board of dentistry, bill SF288--requiring dental laboratories to register and disclose material content and country of origin--was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in May.
Effective January 1, 2013, all laboratories in Minnesota must register with the Minnesota Board of Dentistry; the initial registration fee is $50 for the first two years and $25 for every subsequent two years.
In addition, the law requires all laboratories in the state to provide the...
Eleven years after purchasing and successfully operating Choate Ceramic Laboratory in Conroe, TX, the Co-Owners Jimmy Durham, David Fitch, CDT, and Alton Trotter, CDT, moved out of their ceramic comfort zone and added a removable department in January 2010.
They knew the demand for removable prosthetics was growing and saw going full service as a way to keep the 19-person laboratory as profitable as possible. Also, as a result of the economy, new technology, a dramatic increase in precious alloy prices and overseas competition, they projected their C&B workload would decrease and that...
- April 2012
The 200 attendees* at How to Control the Future Before the Future Controls You, co-sponsored by Vident and Nobel Biocare, received a digital, handheld device so they could provide instant feedback to questions posed by Moderator Mark Murphy, DDS, FAGD. Their answers were immediately displayed on a large screen at the front of the room.
At LMT's LAB DAY 2012--the largest international gathering of the dental laboratory community in North America--about 1,140 manufacturer and supplier representatives greeted over 3,100 attendees from 47 states and 49 countries.
LAB DAY has become the place for product launches and breaking news. On the following pages, LMT Editors bring...
- March 2012
"You can't survive by doing the same thing you did five years ago. In this industry, we're in a time of change. Things are moving extremely quickly and a lot of factors are hitting us at the same time. There are challenges, but also opportunities," said Tais Clausen, 3Shape's CTO and Co-Founder, during his presentation, Vision of the U.S. Laboratory Market, at the NADL's Vision 21 meeting last month in Las Vegas.
What are the challenges in today's market? You know them all too well: a depressed economy, keeping pace with new technology, dentist-clients who are business driven rather than loyal...
Change happened. Our industry has definitely found its power! Recent technological developments for laboratories far outpace those for dentistry and the enthusiasm for what lies ahead is palpable. Considering the lousy state of the economy, could those of us in Chicago for Mid-Winter events have been any more "up" than we were--than we are?
This is a powerful shift in attitude from the laboratory community of yesteryear. That community--for the most part--did not exude the confidence in its ability to succeed that it exudes today. Today's typical dental laboratory recognizes the power it has...
- February 2012
- LMT Communications, Inc. · Faster, Smarter, Better: 36 Strategies to Boost Your Business · Digital Dentistry · Feb 2012
Problem: I'd like to purchase a complete CAD/CAM system, but I've heard a lot of lab owners get burned by high material costs.
Strategy: When doing your research, find out if there's a set number of units you can mill from one block or if you can "nest" units, allowing you to optimize the number of units you can fabricate from one block, reducing your material costs.
Also find out if the manufacturer allows you to buy materials from any source; this can help keep material costs down. For example, when David Nunnally, Owner of Derby Dental Lab in Louisville, KY, switched from a system that required...
8 Faster, Smarter, Better Management Strategies to Boost Your Business: We Want to Hear Your Management StrategiesLMT Communications, Inc. · Faster, Smarter, Better: 36 Strategies to Boost Your Business · Management · Feb 2012
Problem: I'd like to implement pre-scheduling to help make our workload more consistent; we're overwhelmed one day and slow the next.
Strategy: Pre-scheduling—where the laboratory, rather than the dentist, determines the turnaround time for each case—helps ensure an even workflow, which minimizes the pressure of deadlines and...
Read More 8 minute read