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The buzz at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California’s CAD/CAM Symposium in November 2005: rapid prototyping technology. First developed in the 1980s and used in the automotive and aerospace industries, the technology had laboratory owners enthusiastic about what was called the “next generation of CAD/CAM.”...
After years of speculation, CAD/CAM came to fruition in the dental laboratory in 1998 with the official U.S. launch of the Procera® AllCeram Crown, featuring an aluminum oxide coping milled at Nobel Biocare’s production facility in Sweden. The success of Procera—and the introduction of a dozen new in-lab milling systems in...
"Let me invite you into the pages of Lab Management Today...our goal is to give you the tools you need to build a better, more profitable, smoothly operating dental laboratory business," wrote Publisher Judy Fishman in Lab Management Today's inaugural issue.
After its first few months, it became clear that LMT was destined to be more than...
- 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
The changing demographics of the dental field could bode well for laboratories. There are more general practitioners and prosthodontists, more dental consumers and fewer laboratories. In other words, the potential client base per laboratory is growing.
Here's a look at the shifting demographics between 1998 and 2011:
The number of laboratories...
- August 2013
Written by Erik K. Curtis, DDS, MA, MAGD and reprinted with permission from AGD Impact, October 2012. (c)Academy of General Dentistry. All rights reserved. On the Web at www.agd.org. License #37166
America loves big business. Never mind the warnings of philosophers and other naysayers. For every Occupy Wall Street curmudgeon huddling under...
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The following week, the prosthodontist confirmed that, indeed, the next step would be the crown lengthening procedure followed by six weeks of healing time before he would insert a post to further support the crown. And, as Bill Mrazek, CDT, recommended, the best restoration in this case, would be a PFM. He and his office are the cat's meow...
- June 2013
LMT's latest survey data shows that digital technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories work: more laboratories than ever—55%—now have digital fabrication equipment in house. And of those who have invested in the technology, a whopping 94% say they're either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the equipment they've purchased.
- May 2013
From custom-milled abutments to hybrid overdentures, LMT's latest Implant Survey
covers the market's hottest trends.
Thanks to proven, long-term success rates; patient awareness; and technical advances like custom-milled abutments, implant planning software and guided surgery, the implant market continues to thrive. In fact, despite the fact that many lab owners are feeling the effects of the economic slowdown in other areas of their business, 73% of respondents to LMT's latest implant survey say the economy has not affected their implant departments (see chart 1).
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- February 2013
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...
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- 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,...
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- 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...
Uncertainty prevails among the respondents to LMT's 2012 Wage Survey and they're being cautious about rehiring or raising wages. On a positive note, more than half saw an uptick in business in the first part of 2012.
Although more than half of respondents to LMT's 2012 Wage Survey saw an uptick in business in the first part of 2012, they're taking a wait-and-see attitude and being cautious about rehiring or raising wages until they're confident the upswing will continue. "With the uncertainty in our industry and the economy, I'm hesitant to do too much—hire, buy equipment, etc. I'm working...
- August 2012
How about a round of applause for one- to three-person laboratory owners? With almost another decade to go before many of these operators feel "the calling" to retire, they are still very much engaged in the here and now and are clearly living the well-disciplined, well-balanced life. Bravo.
The results of LMT's comprehensive Small Lab Survey...
- June 2012
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%...
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- May 2012
This recession has nothing on implants. Although LMT's periodic Business Barometer surveys have reflected laboratories' sluggish workloads during the last few years, our latest Implant Trends survey finds this specialty is more than holding its own. Three-quarters of our respondents say the economy has not affected their implant business; in fact, 68% report it has been "good" or even "booming" over the last two years.
Although some respondents point out that economic conditions have resulted in more single implants and fewer large cases, most laboratory owners agree that implants have remained...
- 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...
- September 2011
Part 1 Introduction
Not a month goes by where one or more dental technology publications write about the state of education or more precisely the decline or inadequacy of our educational system. Historically, dental laboratory technology education has been, for the most part, over-the-shoulder apprentice type of training. As we now know, the development of dentistry has evolved in a non-systematic path since before recorded history. Those who have been in the profession for over 30 years remember the "good old days" where education, training and development were kept secret and not readily shared...
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- April 2011
National average hourly wages: 2006 vs. 2004
Office managers: the 2nd highest paid position in the lab
How do you pay your technicians?
Wages: increases by experience level
Benefits offered by laboratory respondents
History of overall wage increases
Average 2006 hourly wages by geographic region
How respondents have battled the labor shortage in the last two years
Our 2006 Wage Survey numbers alone show progress in the status of hourly rates in our industry: overall, dental technicians' wages are up 8% from two years ago and there's across-the-board growth...
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CAD/CAM in the Lab: Up 40% in Five Years)
Types of Restorations Sent Offshore
The Global Marketplace: Offshore Outsourcing
Average Number of Clients by Lab Size
Top Sources of Continuing Education
Breakdown of the Average Client Base
Laboratory Service Across the Board
C&B Caseloads: Metal-Based vs. Metal-Free
How's Business in 2009 Compared to 2008?
Continuing Education: Attending Courses with Dentist-Clients
CLOSE UP: Restorative Options
Average Breakdown of Metal-Free Caseloads/Average Breakdown of Metal-Based Caseloads
A 30 Year Look at Lab Marketing Strategies
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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 your businesses, sharing the results of periodic follow-up surveys; here's the latest.
"The very aggressive marketing we did when business was slow is paying dividends, and automation allows us to be very competitive in terms of pricing, even with offshore labs," says Bob Edmonds, CDT, President, Edmonds Dental Prosthetics, Springfield, MO, echoing the more-positive...
Why do dentists switch laboratories? Inconsistent quality and technical problems say dentist-respondents to a joint survey conducted by LMT and Dental Economics (see Survey Demographics below). "When quality is lacking--such as inaccurate crowns, artificial-looking shades, shy flanges or the prescription hasn't been read carefully--that's when I consider a switch," writes a dentist from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, one of the 61% of respondents who have switched laboratories at least once in the past 10 years. For details, see charts, Top 10 Reasons Dentists Switch Laboratories and Number of Times...
Coping with inadequate work from dentists and finding competent staff are top problems in the laboratory
Overall, 63% of respondents had gross sales under $200,000 in 1999. Here's how different size laboratories fared last year
Problems with dentist-clients' work coming into the lab
Given that the nation is experiencing its strongest economy in 30 years, it's no surprise that laboratory owners and managers responding to LMT's 2000 State of the Industry survey are upbeat about their economic situation and optimistic about the future of our industry.
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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...
Average fees nationwide
Average fees by laboratory size (crown and bridge)
Average fees by laboratory size (dentures, attachments and implants)
Average fees by geographic region
Laboratory gross sales
Lab owners' gross personal income
Which factors contribute most to an increase in profits?
Profitability increases and decreases
Fees are up 8% nationwide over the last two years, according to a comparison of LMT's 2008 and 2006 Fee Surveys. Prices have increased across the board for all specialties and 70% of respondents say profitability has improved or remained stable...