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Competing on price is not, of course, an unfamiliar reality—production/high volume laboratories have been the perceived competitors of small laboratories for decades. But now, with digital technology available to all size laboratories, the competitive arena enables some laboratories to make a comfortable profit via sheer volume and that is one of the causes of industry-wide price erosion.
As you see from our cover story, The Race to the Bottom is the takeaway mantra of respondents to LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey and it isn’t pretty. Because of price competition—fueled largely by...
After meeting at LAB DAY West 2013, Sully Samartzis invited LMT’s Judy Fishman to visit his laboratory when she arrived in Arizona later that year. The laboratory is a pristine addition to a gorgeously appointed home, designed by wife Debbie, a professional interior decorator.
In 1999, Sully Samartzis had a toothache on #13. Treatment meant a root canal procedure followed by a crown. Of Greek descent, he’d only been in the U.S. for three months, arriving here from Germany with a degree in electronics and $1,400 to his name.
Intent on being self-employed and, ideally, working from home...
Once she arrived in Arizona last fall, LMT Publisher Judy Fishman visited Scott Atkin, Owner of Creative Milling Dental Laboratory and CEO of Dental Lab Milling Supplies, LLC, in Scottdale, AZ, just as Bentley, Atkin’s massive Bernese Mountain Dog, was headed out for a walk with one of the staff members. Atkin “struck gold” in 2007 by adding a retail component to his business model to stay ahead of what’s trending and increase his revenue base.
“The focus for labs these days needs to be on creating win-win opportunities for themselves and their clients,” says...
With all the bad news about stiff competition and price erosion, I thought we all could use a “feel good” reminder that you deliver an invaluable service to the patients who receive your work; I’m one of them!
In March 2013, I went to a local general practitioner to have number 14 looked at. I was unable to chew without getting a shooting pain. (I wrote about this earlier and, for the details and more photos, go to http://lmtmag.com/series/baddentistry.)
Unfortunately, because this dentist didn’t realize how traumatized the tooth was—and didn’t give it a chance...
The great transition taking hold of the way our community works is far from settling down as strategies continue to be employed and tested by tomorrow’s business leaders. Some of the changes have the capacity to pull the rug out from under us even as we retool to adapt to today’s innovations.
Though there will be an increased need for restorative work among aging boomers in the near future, right now it’s a huge challenge for laboratories to make it to that future. Having a detailed read on the market—that would enable you to see your own future more clearly—would...
LMT’s Buyer’s Guide is timed to coincide with your end-of-year fiscal planning and serves as a reminder that the cost of purchased or leased equipment (as well as off-the-shelf software) can be deducted under Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code.
One of the reasons lab owners prefer to fly solo is that they have no appetite for dealing with the challenges that come with personnel management.
There’s no doubt that more people mean more issues. However, there are also as many, if not more, positives for having employees, key among them is that they play a critical role in a business’s ability to grow and prosper.
Listening to recent news discussions for or against raising the federally mandated minimum wage to $10.10 has me wondering: What do you feel your responsibility is to your employees? What obligations do you feel you have...
In October of 1979, Oscar Mendoza fled for his life to California in the trunk of a car after his uncle was killed in the Salvadoran Civil War.
At the same time 19-year-old Oscar arrived in the U.S., Martha Rico Aguilera arrived from Mexico, 16 and pregnant. Mendoza got a job in an auto detail shop; she in a balloon factory, printing balloons for Disneyland. They met on the bus to their respective jobs and soon got married.
Though they applied for citizenship in the early 1980s, it was a long and ardous path to get there. “We kept meticulous records,” says Oscar, “and that sealed...
Established in 1983, 55-technician Van Hook Dental Studio in Tempe, AZ, specializes in full mouth reconstruction and implants and is taking the lead in the surgical support arena.
Since a large percentage of its dentist-clients are specialists, Van Hook is a complete dental imaging center facility that serves their surgical needs. The facility has a state-of-the-art I-Cat CBCT scanner that’s used for surgical and orthodontic scanning, implant planning and surgical guides.
“Starting with only a CBCT scan, we’re able to combine multiple files to design and fabricate a final restoration,”...
During the start-up years of LMT, I read several articles about how product life cycles are bell curves; they typically peak and then decline. I also subscribed to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and it featured a series about why most startups fail within the first five years.
Between the image of the bell curve and the HBR stats, the message loomed large that I needed to remain on high alert to recognize when LMT might peak and start to decline. I also decided it was important to have more than one product. We created LAB DAY.
Our fourth year was exceptional; I knew then that we were going...
Over the last 30 years or so, the use of alternative/complementary medical therapies has become more widespread in the U.S. Now allopathic (traditional) practices are taking a more holistic approach to healthcare and the trend is continuing to generate more avenues of opportunity.
In addition, as we learn ever more about how the human body works, it’s become clearer to the traditional medical profession that many important clues to one’s health can be gotten from the oral cavity and, thus, it is of increasing importance for physicians and dentists to work together for the well-being...
The bucolic town of Central City, Pennsylvania lies five miles down the road from the site of the Flight 93 memorial and not far from the Quecreek coalmine that trapped nine men underground for four days in 2002. It’s also home to Curt Morgese, owner of a one-person, high-end C&B dental laboratory. As of last November, he’s also the district’s borough councilman.
“Making teeth has been a life-long passion,” he says. “I am always on a quest for knowledge in my daily profession.” He is also keen on politics.
He relocated his lab to Central City from Greenburg,...
LMT’s Judy Fishman draws the winning names in Aurident’s annual LAB DAY drawing. Tim Donahue, CDT, LaDouce Dental Laboratory, Saginaw, MI, won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, and Mark Urlaub, Precision Dental, Omaha, NE, won a 1-oz. Silver Eagle Coin.
Handler Mfg.’s Kevin Foley (left) and LMT President Judy Fishman congratulate Duane Carlson of Liberty Dental in Jackson, MI, the grand prize winner of Handler’s giveaway who took home the Pro Tech Lite PTL-211 bench. Other winners included: Brian Nagle of Renstrom Dental Studio in MN who won a 52CSU Etcher Catcher and Art Uribe of Precision Dental Castings in Skokie, IL who won a Chicago Bears hoodie.
LAB DAY Chicago was particularly energized this year.
With technology calling the shots on so many levels, it seemed attendees flooded the Exhibit Hall and educational programs with a heightened level of enthusiasm. That’s just what’s needed if you want to keep on top of what’s trending.
Like you, manufacturers are caught up in this enthusiasm as well; they have no choice. Even though they are the ones spearheading the digital transition, it is an intense time for them. Take any heavy-hitting, long-time player in this field: from their perspective, it’s unimaginable to think...
Don’t you just love it when you can go onto a company’s website and see the faces and bios of the people who make that company run? People-centered “pages” help give me a sense of the essence of the operation and sometimes might even persuade me to choose one company’s products over another.
If you’ve spent some time trolling the internet, you might have noticed that people-oriented pages are popular among dental laboratory websites. Obviously, it pleases me to see this. Though we have always been a community focused on people, 30 years ago that focus was somewhat...
This year marks LMT’s and LAB DAY Chicago’s 30th birthdays and we plan to celebrate all year long. Come celebrate with us in the pages of LMT, at LAB DAY and online as we take a walk through 30 years of history.
Online, we’re taking our cue from a popular internet trend called Throwback Thursday during which users post old photos. We’re calling ours Throwback Thirty and will be posting photos and snippets from our 30-year history with you every Thursday on The Bridge at LMTmag.com/ThrowbackThirty. But to make it really fun, we want you to join in!
We’d like you to...
- December 2013
LMT Publisher Judy Fishman talks with Tim Thompson, President and CEO of Global Dental Science, LLC in Phoenix AZ about the AvaDent Digital Dentures system.
LMT: I understand you’ve cracked the code for digitizing the denture fabrication process. Can you fill us in?
Thompson: For the past four years, Global Dental Science has been developing an exclusive digital platform for the design and manufacture of AvaDent Digital Dentures. It’s the result of a comprehensive process called Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) used in conjunction with CAD/CAM; CAE uses sophisticated, scientific algorithms...
- November 2013
It’s inevitable that there’ll be things in our lives we wish we’d have done differently. Regret has value if, instead of dwelling on lost opportunity, it brings about change.
Last month, at the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Awards reception in Philadelphia (see details on page 42), I came face to face with one of those moments of regret: I knew Dr. Shils but I never made it a point to really know him.
I was 35 when I first met him. He was twice that. Shils was the Executive Director of the Dental Manufacturers of America (DMA) and the Dental Dealers of America (DDA)....
- October 2013
This Fall I’m heading to the great state of Arizona for a couple of months and I’m hoping to meet some laboratory owners while I’m there. I’m also hoping I can make some stops during the drive out (the last week of October) and possibly the first week of January on the drive back.
Our route takes us through Harrisburg, PA, then along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and over to I-70 and down to I-40. We’ll be going through Columbus, OH; Indianapolis; St. Louis and Springfield, MO; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK; then across to Amarillo, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and into Flagstaff,...
- September 2013
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 a trend that’s about to take over.
I feel it’s time for us to recognize and claim this transition officially made.
LMT’s most recent survey data shows that 89% of the C&B and Full Service labs [that participated in our survey] interface...
- August 2013
Sometimes one poor decision turns a routine restoration into an expensive, time-consuming series of additional procedures and discomfort. I think there were two poor decisions made in my case. Check one for the practitioner and one for me.
This is my story and it pretty much dominated my summer.
Lately, Iâd noticed some pain when chewing, but I wasnât sure whether it was coming from that tooth or the opposing PFM crown. Though #19 had a root canal [the one from LMTâs second crown experiment, 1987], there was a chance that the tooth had cracked.
Decision day. I went in to have the filling removed to see what was left of the tooth. Even this standard procedure is one that separates excellent dentists from just okay dentists. Unfortunately, this dentist is "just okay."
After the decision was made, I learned that there were several things she might have been able to do to better stabilize this tooth. But none of these things were on the table.
Take another look at the X-ray. [And, by the way, take a look at the bitewing to note the occlusion.] Note that there is a good amount of natural tooth surrounding the filling. From her...
The Night of June 6
A bunch of us were sitting around the fire pit on my patio, protected from the rain by a covered pergola. It was a Thursday night. We—LMT staff members, Andy and I—were enjoying our visitors from the Chicago LAB DAY setup team. Without warning, my laughter was replaced with a yelp; what started as a low-grade ache suddenly turned into a searing pain in my mouth.
I knew in that instant that #14 was saying it's time for that root canal procedure.
But we still had another day of scheduled activities with our visitors, so ibuprofen and I coexisted until Monday morning...
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