Although Friendship Dental Laboratories, Inc.'s first case was fabricated in 1973, it wasn't until 2006 that it implemented the efficient, computerized tracking system by Labtrac. This October, it logged in its half-millionth case!
Laboratory Owner Bill Atkission explains how the Bio-copy function of inLab SW 15 copies the patient’s intact natural teeth, the temporary restoration or a diagnostic waxup to create anatomically correct restorations.
Given all of the talk about the commoditization of our industry, the CAL-Lab Group’s focus on maximizing profits during its 90th annual meeting in Chicago was right on point. Chaired by Jim Gorgol, CDT, the meeting attracted 774 attendees and highlighted strategies for building your bottom line, offering value to dentist-clients and increasing efficiency and productivity with digital technology.
Keynote speaker Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD, addressed doing business in a slowly recovering economy during his presentation Paradigm Shifts in Dentistry Influencing the State of Dental Technology. “With the economy still recovering, patients hesitant to spend and benefit plans paying less, both technicians and doctors need to look at the areas that are on the rise, such as implants, digital technology and esthetic dentistry,” he said, also offering his take on new and up-and-coming trends. “Endodontics is going to be big due to aging baby boomers, and sleep dentistry...
“We’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution: it’s all about interoperability of devices and connectivity between dentists and labs. The end result is better patient care.” said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, kicking off the company’s Evolution of Digital Dentistry Summit 2016 at the Museum of Science and Industry, held during the Chicago Midwinter Meeting in February.
After a reception during which attendees could network and visit the nearby exhibits in the museum, there was a panel discussion on digital dentistry moderated by Rich Miranda, President, Global Prosthetic Solutions and Laboratory Group, Henry Schein.
“What’s the one problem we’re all trying to solve? Inconsistency,” said Panelist Richard Harrell, CDT, Chief Development and Operations Officer of DSG. “Digital technology eliminates the human touch points and thus the primary point of introduction of variable to the manufacturing...
Is the number of U.S. labs shrinking?
Yes. The number of U.S. laboratories grew steadily from the late 1930s, peaking at approximately 11,500 labs in 1995. That number held pretty steady through the mid-2000s and then began a slow decline. Today there are just about 8,000 labs, including in-house labs; this figure is not expected to hold steady since more boomers will be retiring over the next 10 years.
How many laboratory owners will retire in the next five years?
Just over one-third of laboratory owners plan to retire by 2020. The most popular exit strategies are selling off their equipment and shutting their doors or selling to an unrelated third party, such as a competitor or laboratory group.
How many laboratories have in-house digital fabrication equipment?
58% of respondents to LMT’s 2015 State of the Industry Survey offer digitally fabricated restorations. Of that percentage:
78% have at least one scanner
59% have at least one milling machine
24% have at least...
- 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...
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,...
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
Since its debut 25 years ago, LMT’s LAB DAY West has grown from a regional show with 800 attendees to the largest dental laboratory trade show on the West Coast and a truly international event. This year’s show in Garden Grove, CA, drew 1,706 laboratory owners, managers and technicians, hailing from 27 states and 10 other countries.
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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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Industry icon Jim Glidewell shares his perspective on the future of our industry, including restorative trends, the biggest challenges you’ll face and strategies to ensure your laboratory’s success.
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- April 2015
“We make products to improve people’s lives and we’ve spent years mastering our craft. Digital is the loss of a rewarding lifestyle we had been looking forward to,” said Jim Glidewell, President and CEO of Glidewell Laboratories, during his State of Dental Technology presentation at the 89th Annual Cal-Lab Meeting held at the Westin Michigan Avenue. “This isn’t where I thought I’d be either, but our priority hasn’t changed: our core mission must be to make the best restorations possible.”
Noting that lab owners, himself included, have an obligation to advance the industry and promote the career growth of their employees, Glidewell urged attendees to embrace the changes affecting dental technology. “The word for the future is ‘adaptation.’ Just like the Industrial Revolution, digital is here to stay,” he emphasized. (Watch for more on Glidewell’s take on the state of the industry in LMT’s May issue.)
- March 2015
Laboratory respondents to our State of the Industry 2015 survey ranked clients’ impression-taking skills as their number-one client-related challenge, saying one quarter of the impressions that come into their laboratory are inadequate, a result of dentists not following manufacturers’ guidelines, delegating the task to assistants, or just not carefully evaluating the impressions before sending them to the lab.
While 94% of laboratory-respondents say they’re comfortable calling their clients for replacement impressions, they often still hear those words that make most of them cringe: do the best you can.
“I cannot do the best I can without a good impression. Just one or two minutes of their time could save so much on both sides,” says Carol Sullivan, CDT, Owner, Dental Lab Solutions, Loveland, CO. “I often just refuse those impressions or I send the model to the doctor and ask him to trim the die or reimpress. After that happens a few times, they start...
A surge of digital technologies, the corporatization of dentistry and omnipresent insurance woes are just a few of the challenges impacting your dentist-clients. As part of our State of the Industry 2015 survey coverage, LMT polled 80 dentists from around the country to get their perspectives on these trends and more. Here’s what they had to say.
They’re hesitant about digital impressionsAlthough 41% of laboratories are equipped to accept digital impressions, dentists have been slower to adopt the technology: labs receive digital impressions from only 6% of their clients. While many dentists acknowledge that digital impressions are likely the future, those who aren’t ready to adopt the technology most often point to the high cost and what they say is a questionable return on investment.
“I believe there are benefits to digital impression systems, but like all of the amazing opportunities in digital dentistry today, a purchase has to be carefully...
- 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.
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- January 2015
The digital transition in labs is not just about fabrication processes; the operational side of the lab business is changing too. Speakers at the 2014 DLOAC Meeting look at the continuously evolving role of the technician. Also: new products announced at the show.
- December 2014
From the initial investment to the change in technique, getting clients on board with digital impressions can be an uphill climb. Here’s how one lab is slowly transitioning its clients into the digital realm.
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- November 2014
LMT taps into the expertise of 20 laboratory owners and managers from all size labs who’ve successfully incorporated digital technology into their operations, offering real-life experiences and tips on what we all wish we would have known before taking the plunge.
Read More 19 minute read
- September 2014
In addition to technical support, marketing personnel and a scanner repair area, 3Shape’s new east coast facility in Warren, NJ, features training rooms for technicians to test drive and learn about 3Shape scanners and dentists to get familiar with the TRIOS Digital Impression System.
- May 2014
Tra’ Chambers had no actual laboratory experience when he opened Express Dental Laboratory in Norman, OK in December 2012. Harnessing the efficiency of CAD/CAM technology, the lab touts a two- to three-day turnaround (or same-day for its mobile service) and generated over $300,000 in revenue during its first full year in business. Now, with a staff of seven, the lab serves 118 clients and 45% of its work is completely digital. Here’s more about the lab’s growth strategies:
LMT: What made you decide to open Express Dental Laboratory without any prior laboratory experience?
Tra' Chambers: After spending three years as the Chief Operating Officer of a multi-location dental practice, I had a good idea of what was important to a dentist’s success: for one thing, it’s cash flow. I realized that if a laboratory could provide crowns to dentists in three days or less, it would improve the doctors’ cash flow significantly because they would get insurance...
- April 2014
“During our 13-year history, 3Shape has had a strong and continuous focus on R&D. In fact, 40% of our staff members are involved in R&D. It’s our calling, our DNA,” said Flemming Thorup, President and CEO of 3Shape during his opening remarks at the company’s press conference in Chicago.
One of the latest developments is the D900L scanner featuring a larger interior for scanning fully articulated models and large impression trays. The company also launched the Dental System™ 2014 which is available to all 3Shape Dental System™ subscribers as part of their LABcare™ package. Among the new features:
Optimized CAD Design Workflow and a redesigned interface that offers greater user-friendliness. For instance, the redesigned workflow-progress bar guides you through each scanning step; it’s now easier to move back and forth between different workflow steps and to rescan individual dies if needed.
3Shape Implant Studio™ brings together...
- February 2014
- December 2013
LMT attends the DLOAC CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium to bring you
the latest developments in digital dentistry. The theme? Automation continues to streamline, simplify and improve...
- October 2013
Christian Saurman, Vice President, New England Orthodontic Laboratory (NEO), Wilmington, MA, has implemented tools on his website to make case submission simple.
- 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.