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!
Restoring a full mouth predictably and profitably requires a systematic approach, from selecting qualified patients and case presentation to case planning, fabrication and delivery. Each step is dependent on the previous one to avoid unexpected and unwanted surprises and ensure total success.
In our laboratory, we’ve developed the Smile-Vision Template TechniqueTM, a process through which we create a computer simulation showing how the final restorations will look in the patient’s mouth. We start with the ideal end result in mind and work backwards from there. We’ve broken down...
- December 2013
Market Update: Digital Technology
LMT attends the DLOAC CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium to bring you the latest developments in digital dentistry
Celebrating its 10th year, the Dental Laboratory Owners’ Association of California’s (DLOAC) CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium—held in November in Garden Grove, CA—showcased the latest digital products, services and trends. The theme? Automation continues to streamline, simplify and improve laboratory processes and manufacturers are working overtime to offer new material choices, easier-to-use software, more affordable hardware and innovative...
- October 2013
"Our philosophy is that if we make it easy for our clients to send us work, they'll continue to do so," says Christian Saurman, Vice President, New England Orthodontic Laboratory (NEO), Wilmington, MA. With that thought in mind, the laboratory has implemented the following tools on its website to make case submission simple:
A quick and easy shipping option. To service clients across the country, the lab integrated its website with UPS. Users simply click the UPS button on the lab's homepage to automatically print a second-day air label; all of the fields and addresses are already filled out and...
- September 2013
Thanks to the advent of digital technology, many laboratory owners and managers are discovering new business models and finding ways to reinvent their businesses and reinvigorate their careers. Here are the stories of three lab owners/managers who have done so using Sirona Dental, Inc.'s CEREC Acquistion Centers, Sirona Connect—a web-based portal through which CEREC dentists and inLab laboratories communicate—and the inLab system.
Smile Design, Inc.
Smile Design, Inc. in Elkhart, IN, is bringing digital technology to the dentist's office—literally. Owned by Chad Rogers, Richard...
- November 2012
Specializing in implant borne prosthetics, Midwest Dental Arts has discovered a technique to improve soft tissue management that we want to share. This is the first of a 2-part article that illustrates how to create a soft tissue model, using an iTero milled model with the Straumann Repositionable Implant Analog. The restorative dentist removes...
- June 2012
- 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...
- 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...
Read More 4 minute read
- January 2012
Valplast enters the CAD/CAM market. 3M ESPE delves into a new material category. Three more manufacturers enter the milling center arena. These are just a few of the highlights from the DLOAC's CAD/CAM Technology Symposium & Expo in November in Pasadena, CA.
While digital technology has been a boon to the C&B market in the past decade, its application to removable labs has been much more limited. One of the latest developments* in the removable arena is Valplast International Corp.'s Precise-Fit™, a system for producing a digitally designed trial baseplate...
- October 2011
(1) Free, Interactive Webinars
Webinars offer a convenient way for you to provide information to--and interact with--your clients without leaving the comfort of the laboratory or dental office.
Arrowhead Dental Laboratory, Sandy, UT, began offering free monthly webinars in 2009. While initially its webinars were geared to potential clients as a way of giving them a taste of the laboratory and its philosophies, the webinars now include topics for current clients as well, such as how to file insurance claims for oral appliance therapy, practice management and digital occlusion. The...
Read More 13 minute read
- June 2011
Conventional wisdom in the dental laboratory profession is that the proliferation of CAD/CAM and offshore outsourcing is making the dental restoration a commodity. Dentists, some say, don't see much difference from one laboratory to another, and price sensitivity is higher than ever in this economic environment.
That's why savvy laboratory marketers are honing in on the key to differentiate themselves in this increasingly competitive market: it's no longer just about a top-quality product, it's about top-quality value. Whether it's providing exceptional service, being a technical...
Following its recent acquisition of Cadent Holdings, Inc., Align Technology, Inc. announces that Cadent's orthodontic full-arch scanning process can now be used with Invisalign treatment, meaning Invisalign customers with the OrthoCAD iOC system and the latest iOC 4.0 software can submit 3D digital scans instead of physical impressions.
"Integration with Invisalign has been one of the most widely requested enhancements by orthodontists who use the iOC system and by general practitioners who use the iTero system. It provides doctors with enhanced accuracy of digital impressions and greater treatment...
- May 2011
Everything changes; it's unavoidable. In the dental industry, it's the ever-present battle of new school vs. old school. Throughout my experience in the laboratory world, I've seen a noticeable difference in the mindset of new technicians compared to those that are more seasoned. And the more I experience the dental practitioner world, the more I see that this phenomenon exists here as well: today's dental student is different than he was a decade ago and changing more and more every year.
As you know, dental students are learning less about laboratory procedures than ever before....
- April 2011
Automation is going to change the laboratory industry in many ways, and some of these changes are already underway.
Technicians will be paid more, considerably more, because it will take fewer technicians to accomplish the same amount of work. For example, we have two Cercon systems and our technicians working with those systems can...
In addition to Glidewell Laboratories, Newport Beach, California, and three other U.S.-based laboratories, Jim Glidewell owns Smith-Sterling Dental Laboratory in Cartago, Costa Rica and Pacific Edge in Tijuana, Mexico. Smith-Sterling was opened by a dentist from Florida in 1995 and Glidewell purchased it in 2004; however, the Mexican facility was built from the ground up and opened in June, 2005. In Part II of our interview with industry pioneer Jim Glidewell, he tells us what led to his decision to open laboratories outside the U.S. and the effects of this business model.
LMT: Why did you...
In this special edition of the Laboratory of the Month, LMT kicks off a new series, FutureLAB, that takes a look at the trends that will shape the laboratory of the future. For this month's coverage, we surveyed U.S. laboratory owner/managers who employ more than 50 technicians and asked them: What are the top three digital technologies that will have the greatest impact on dental laboratories in the next five years and why? Click here for chart. Our surveys frequently target different segments of the market and, in this case, we selected the larger labs because they are more likely to be involved...
Straumann—the exclusive distributor of the Cadent iTero Digital Impression System in Europe—now has non-exclusive distribution rights to market the system in North America. The agreement advances Straumann's position in digital dentistry and increases Cadent's penetration into the U.S. implant and laboratory markets.
This is the latest in a series of partnerships between the two companies. Last year, Straumann integrated Cadent iTero scan data with its CAD/CAM system, allowing labs to receive digital impressions and design restorations without having to create a stone model. Straumann...
"Everybody knows impressions are the weak link in the restorative process. We've all been dreaming of the day when computers could take a more accurate impression, and now, that technology has arrived. Digital impressions are the wave of the future," says Laboratory Owner Dave Lampert. His lab, Town & Country Dental Studios, Freeport, New York, is one of the seven labs beta testing the Cadent Electronic Imaging Device, a digital impression-taking system that allows the dental team to fabricate PFM and all-ceramic restorations without a conventional impression. The design of the system builds...
Read More 4 minute read
Themed Future Ready, Zahn Dental's 2009 Leadership Summit offered a comprehensive look at the transformation of our industry and how emerging technologies are changing the way laboratories operate on all levels.
"This is a pivotal time in our industry," said Dell Dine, vice president of research and development for National Dentex Corp., during his presentation at Zahn Dental's 2009 Leadership Summit on October 29-31 in Weston, Florida. Themed Future Ready, the highly interactive, information-packed program offered the 120 attendees from 50 different laboratories an in-depth look at the transformation...
What is shaping our industry? In this lively roundtable discussion with LMT, five industry leaders discuss key trends, how they think they'll play out and what laboratory owners can do to succeed in a changing marketplace.
TREND: New technology
Walke: The influx of new technology is the one thing that will change our industry most significantly, and it's long overdue. In the 90's when we saw new products come onto the market, they were basically just reinventions of products that already existed. For example, we saw numerous pressable ceramic systems introduced that offered the same basic...
Read More 11 minute read
Laboratory owners who have tackled a renovation or built a new facility tell us what they would do differently if they could do it over again. Here's their advice on what to do--and what not to do--to create the most efficient and ergonomic laboratory possible.
Hire a professional to oversee the project
We recently moved our lab into a larger building, taking on a 7,000-sq.-ft. renovation project. A building designer drew up the plans and we hired a contractor to handle construction. Since our new building was only three miles from our old location and I had an architectural background, I...
Are digital technologies going to cause a dramatic change (a tipping point) in dental delivery or will these technologies evolve over time to merely create a shift in the way dentistry is performed?
This summer's Dental Trade Alliance meeting in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, gave attendees ample opportunity to explore this question. Based on Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling book, The Tipping Point, the theme of the meeting was: The Tipping Points: Grow Your Business in Explosive Proportions. Gladwell, the meeting's keynote speaker, acknowledged that our industry is fragmented and it could benefit from...
The DLOAC's annual CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo featured the latest in digital technology and over 300 laboratory owners and managers, manufacturers, suppliers and outsourcing centers were on hand for two days of lectures, live demonstrations and exhibits. LMT was your eyes and ears at this year's event.
"Has dentistry gone digital? Do I really need this technology? Can I learn it? Yes, yes and yes," said Digital Dental Lab's Kim Karpowitz, one of the presenters* at the 2008 Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California's (DLOAC) fifth annual International CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo, held...
82% of Survey Respondents Offer CAD/CAM-Milled Restorations; here's how they access the technology)
The percentage of survey participants offering CAD/CAM-milled restorations continues to grow
CAD/CAM-Milled Units are Making Up an Increasing Percentage of C&B Caseloads
Success in Generating Client Interest in CAD/CAM-Milled Restorations
Percentage of Survey Participants Who Offer These Digital Restorations
Average Monthly Production Figures for CAD/CAM-Milled Restorations
Thoughts on Digital Technology
Material Options From A to Z
52% of Survey Participants have Digital...
Read More 8 minute read
"Ensuring a prosperous future in today's climate is a lot like making a soup - you have to focus on the ingredients to achieve a successful result. And the more you heat it up, the better it gets," industry veteran George Obst told attendees at the Dental Services Group (DSG) annual meeting in January.
The meeting, held every year in Tempe, Arizona, is well-regarded for its open environment and palpable sense of camaraderie among the laboratories, including the affiliate members - independent laboratories that aren't owned by DSG but derive a range of membership benefits.
With the theme Gateway...
No other specialty has been impacted by CAD/CAM technology more than C&B. Digitization has transformed this department over the last decade, allowing laboratory owners to streamline, simplify and improve laboratory processes.
From expanded indications to software upgrades and increased material options, manufacturers are continuously striving to improve laboratory capabilities and product offerings. Here's a look at some key developments:
Digitizing of the manual waxup process. Kiss your wax spatulas goodbye: wax printers use additive technology to build up waxups layer by layer, and...