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!
- 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....
- May 2013
- LMT Communications, Inc. · IDS 2013 Offers First Look at Emerging Innovations · Industry News · May 2013
Are digital dentures coming our way? Also, to meet the growing demand for removable restorations, several manufacturers introduced new teeth and other accompanying products to enhance function, esthetics and efficiency.
Another exciting development at the IDS was to see steps being taken to digitize all or some of the denture fabrication process. Exocad offered a preview of its Denture Module—available to resellers in 2014—which allows you to digitally design full dentures by defining anatomical reference points on any edentulous digital model. The module analyzes the digital model...
- April 2013
Preat Corp.'s PRISM Milling Center now offers implant frameworks with a new pearl texture surface, which provides mechanical retention and maximum space for resin for increased esthetics. The frameworks are created using selective laser melting and the finish lines and implant interfaces are then milled.
PRISM also introduced digitally designed...
- January 2013
Imagine the ability to fabricate a restoration before the patient's tooth is even prepped. Thanks to a new system in development from B&D, you may soon be able to do just that.
The company previewed its new Digital Prep Guide, currently in beta testing, at the Dental Laboratory Owners' Association of California's (DLOAC) CAD/CAM Expo and Symposium in November in Garden Grove, CA. Here's how it works: at the patient's first visit, if the dentist doesn't have an intraoral scanner, he takes a conventional impression then sends it to the lab where the technician fabricates a model, scans...
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...
- August 2012
Instead of merely staying the course, laboratory owners are more engaged than ever in finding new ways to, as Steve Jobs coined it: "Think Different." Better yet, you are doing it—which is exactly what needs to happen! I'm freshly back from LAB DAY Chicago thoroughly impressed with the level of reinvention going on. From mergers and...
- April 2012
LAB DAY 2012 could easily be labeled "The Reinvention Convention." Laboratory owners and managers are more engaged than ever in finding new ways to reinvigorate their businesses and adapt to the swiftly changing marketplace.
From mergers and acquisitions to going digital, serving alternate markets and diversifying product offerings, attendees are on their toes, challenged and not defeated. The digital world is booming, the implant market is strong and growing, removables continue to be red hot and aging baby boomers promise to keep dentistry hopping.
Exhibitors—who also are reinventing...
Calling it the "Oscars for denture technicians," Candulor announced the winners of its first-ever North American Kunstzahnwerk (Art of Denture) Competition at LAB DAY. The technician-participants displayed their proficiency in removables by fabricating a fully removable upper and lower bar-retained overdenture.
Taking first prize and winning...
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
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...
- January 2012
When the financial crisis hit our country in 2008, LMT immediately responded with a survey of our readers to get a baseline for how it would affect our community. And as we promised then, we've kept our finger on the pulse of the community, sharing the results of periodic follow-up surveys; here's the latest.
Using phrases like "holding on" or "treading water," many laboratory owners say they are continuing to ride out the economic storm despite not seeing much relief last year.
While 15% of respondents to LMT's most recent How's Business? survey say business remained level...
Read More 4 minute read
- April 2011
Average wages nationwide, 2008 vs. 2006
Average wages by region (crown and bridge)
Average wages by region (model and die, removables and orthodontics)
Benefits offered by laboratory size
How laboratories pay
Laboratory training strategies
Dental technicians' wages have increased only 3% overall during the last two years, according to a comparison of LMT's 2008 and 2006 Wage Surveys. Here's what the data tells us:
1. New technicians see the most growth. The wages for entry level technicians—those with less than one year of experience—have increased...
A record-breaking 1,800 laboratory owners, managers and technicians--plus 540 exhibitors from 125 different companies--flooded LMT's LAB DAY WEST exhibit hall on May 9 to learn about the latest technologies, new products and lab-to-lab outsourcing opportunities. The event's new location at the Hyatt Regency Orange county in Garden Grove, California, was well received by attendees and exhibitors alike for its spacious exhibit hall and convenient location near Disneyland.
Technical and business seminars and clinics also covered the spectrum of technology, including digital fabrication...
Peoria, Illinois-based Dental Arts Laboratories (DAL) offers its customers three tiers of service: branded DAL restorations from its traditional DAL laboratories; "esthetic zone" high-end restorations from its DAL Signature Restorations Laboratory; and a value line from 360 Dental Laboratory. Here, DAL Executive Vice President Scott Clark,...
By investing in an open CAD/CAM system, David Nunnally, owner, Derby Dental Lab in Louisville, Kentucky, has reduced his zirconia material costs by $227,500
a year. He and other lab owners share strategies for tightening their belts.
When it comes to cutting back in this tough economy, slashing labor costs is the most common strategy respondents to LMT's recent How's Business e-survey are using. From layoffs, forced vacations, across-the-board pay reductions to cutting overtime, reducing or eliminating benefits like 401(k) match and bonuses, laboratory owners are being forced to make some...
With a record-breaking 115,000 attendees and almost 2,000 exhibitors, the IDS show in Cologne in March was upbeat and chock full of new products, materials, manufacturing solutions and systems. LMT's Kelly Carr and Jessica Fila attended the five-day show to give you a sneak peek at what's coming down the pike for the U.S. market.
Digital Manufacturing Equipment
The proliferation of digital technologies continued to flourish at the show, with more and more digital manufacturing solutions being introduced, including printing and laser sintering. Another trend: milling units that can...
Read More 9 minute read
It's predicted that the number of adults needing one or two complete dentures will continue to rise, increasing to 37.9 million adults in 2020, and demand is also growing thanks to an aging population of educated dental consumers who seek a more esthetic, natural-looking restoration.
Removable technicians are also a hot commodity: early in their careers, many technicians opted for the glamour of C&B and, today, the limited number of skilled denture technicians are beginning to retire, creating a profitable opportunity for those offering removable work. In addition, with the exception of...
State-of-the-Art Screw-Retained Hybrids and Attached Bar Overdentures: Not Your Father's Highwater Bridge!
As a boutique laboratory owner specializing in removables and implant prostheses since 1983, I can't help but get excited when technology delivers new products that greatly advance our ability to provide patients with an improved device. Considering that fixed/detachable, removable implant prosthetics is one of the fastest-growing segments in dentistry today, the advancements as well as the excitement have been abundant over the past few years.
I fabricated my first implant-supported, screw-retained hybrid (SRH) or "highwater bridge" about 25 years ago. The bar was a cast precious alloy,...
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
Back in the 80s, Japan was labeled the villain whose cheap goods were driving a trade deficit and unemployment in the United States. Then those socks, t-shirt and household goods industries found even cheaper labor and costs--first in Thailand, then Malaysia, Mexico, India and eventually China--as multinational businesses jumped from country to country seeking the best deals. And now, the exodus of manufacturing plants from China to cheaper labor countries such as Vietnam has begun.
Once the epicenter of low-cost manufacturing, China now has implemented new labor laws and environmental regulations...
Jerry Kaizer's passion for his craft is contagious. "I have the best job on the face of the earth because everything I work on smiles at me and, if it doesn't, I make it smile," he laughs.
Thirty years ago, the Kaizer family decided to focus its laboratory--Murray Kaizer, Inc.--on what it did best, removables, and they've never regretted their decision. "When we chose not to pursue C&B, we were laughed at," recalls Jerry, who co-owns the laboratory with his siblings, Ron and Marvis. "Many people said we were nothing but dinosaurs and that removables wouldn't be around in 10 years. But,...
Industry analysts have long predicted that developments in fixed prosthetics and better overall dental care would spell the demise of the removables market. But if you're worried about the future of this specialty, don't be.
Thanks to a growing demand from an aging population, an increasing consumer awareness of esthetic dentistry, and product and technological developments, the market is thriving. "It's a wonderful time to be in the removables market and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future," says Tom Zaleske, owner of Matrix Dental Lab in Bensenville, Illinois and a technical...
Read More 6 minute read
A laboratory in a circa-1900 brick building in downtown Mankato, Minnesota may conjure up images of old-fashioned cozy charm but, for the 34 employees of Wornson-Polzin Dental Lab, the space felt anything but cozy.
"We were on the third floor and, in a Minnesota winter when the winds were whipping, you could stand by the window and feel cold air coming in," recalls William Homer, the lab's removables manager.
And the problems didn't end there.
The layout and workflow of the 4,000-sq-ft operation was abysmal. "Shipping and receiving was crammed into a narrow, closet-like room; case pans...
Mergers and acquisitions are on the rise in the business world at large and our industry is no exception. In the past two years, three private equity firms have invested in dental laboratories and group laboratories have made a considerable number of acquisitions, with some of them being the largest purchases in our industry's history. How are these moves changing the marketplace? Here's what some of the major players in the field have to say.
There's been a flurry of merger and acquisition activity in our industry since the beginning of the new millennium. Click here for a timeline of mergers...
Read More 7 minute read
It was standing-room-only at DLOAC's annual CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo as nearly 300 laboratory owners and managers, outsourcing centers and manufacturers turned out for two days of lectures, demonstrations and exhibits.
"The only thing I can tell you for sure about CAD/CAM is that it's constantly changing. In fact, by the time I get off this stage, some of the information will likely be outdated," said Dentsply's Arlo King, a presenter at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California's (DLOAC) annual CAD/CAM Symposium and Expo held in November in Pasadena, California.
Read More 4 minute read