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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.
When tragedy strikes, Liz Baumgartner, Co-Owner of Baumgartner Dental Lab, Brigham City, UT, heads out to disaster areas with her specially trained dogs as part of a Canine Search Team.
As a result of rapid growth in its digital services, Albensi Laboratories was bursting at the seams. Now, its new building features a well-organized layout, energy-efficient systems and room to grow.
Coming from 11 countries and 26 states, over 1,600 laboratory owners, managers and technicians battled a heat wave to join LMT for LAB DAY West on May 16-17 in Garden Grove, CA.
St. Louis, MO
Owner: National Dentex Corp.; President: Larry Weiss
Open communication is a core value at Keller Laboratories. Every other month, President Larry Weiss holds “A Forum with Larry” where team members are chosen to join him for lunch and encouraged to ask questions or discuss any lab-related concerns. The unfiltered interaction and feedback keep Weiss in touch with the team’s needs and concerns and lets them know their voices are being heard. “Team members like having access to the decision maker and to know I’m listening,” explains...
Lake Forest, CA
Owner: Mike Hill
Many labs call themselves“studios” but Mike Hill, Owner of 6-11 Dental Studio, makes sure his lab lives up to the name. Treating his technicians like artists is his number-one priority in his employee-centric laboratory.
To inspire creativity and productivity, each ceramist’s work area is a spacious 12' by 12' and set up like an individual studio, with divider walls to create a sense of privacy. The L-shaped workstations are twice the size of typical workbenches, giving technicians ample room to spread out, and the 19-ft-tall ceilings...
Are you ready to take the plunge and invest in your own digital equipment? Going digital was the name of the game at NADL Vision 21 in Las Vegas in January where speakers offered tips on how to incorporate new technology into the laboratory.
Owners: Hal and Glenda Jones
“Hal and Glenda Jones are exceptional people first, exceptional employers second. I’ve been working here for 13 years and their genuine care for their employees shows throughout the company,” says Mikki Davis, Ceramist at Waco, TX-based Summit Dental Lab, echoing the resounding sentiment of the employees, a third of whom have worked there for a decade or more.
The Joneses believe that each employee’s character determines his ability to contribute positively to the team as a whole and enhances the quality of its products...
Owner: Ron Humphrey
It’s a crisp winter day and the sun is shining on Cougar Mountain in Issaquah, WA…just another day of spectacular views for the staff at Northwest Dental Arts. The second-floor boutique lab features an open floor plan with huge windows on all sides. All eight employees have a view of Cougar Mountain including the deer, bobcats and many varieties of birds that live there, as well as Poo Poo Point, a popular take-off spot for hang gliders. Technicians sit at custom maple workbenches designed by Owner Ron Humphrey and a contractor, and clear...
Owner: Mike Robertson, CDT
At Robertson Dental Lab, aspiring CDTs don’t need to take the journey alone. Eight months ago, inspired by technician Karlena Schutz, General Manager Tom Love created a CDT Study Club that meets once a week after the lab closes to help the eight technician-members learn from one another. The lab provides the study materials—including a visual dictionary from PTC and chapters from the Air Force manual—and each week the members take turns choosing a topic, leading the discussion and quizzing others on their grasp of the information....
Owners: Ira Dickerman, CDT, and Myron Dickerman, CDT
Once a technician starts working at Dickerman Dental Prosthetics, he has a tendency to stick around. Of the lab’s 26 employees, 62% have worked at the lab for at least 10 years and another 23% have been with the lab for over 30. “Working together for so long has created a strong bond between employees and an atmosphere where the days at the lab are as valuable as days off,” says Jim Pollina, C&B Manager and Dickerman employee since 1977.
So how does this third-generation family operation...
Owner: Don Albensi, Sr.
When Albensi Laboratories says its employees receive a Total Rewards Program, it means total. Along with paying 100% of the staffs’ medical, vision and dental coverage, the lab also provides flexible working hours, life insurance, a 401(k) program with matching and access to a financial advisor. The laboratory even offers a 12-week Fit Camp—including aerobic classes, strength training and advice on healthy eating—twice a year and pays 50% of the cost for each employee.
Benefits like these are what led the staff to vote the...
The phrase “Like father, like son,” has never been better illustrated than at last year’s American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) meeting in Seattle. At the event, Bill Brown, CDT, Owner of Brown Dental Lab in Issaquah, WA, and his son, Kevin Brown, DDS, became the first father-son team to simultaneously receive AACD accreditation.
A technician for over 40 years, Bill has always been close with his kids. While growing up, Kevin and his brother, Craig, spent a lot of time in their dad’s lab, learning waxing techniques and becoming familiar with anatomy. Craig...
- November 2013
It's a perfect storm heading straight for your bottom line: the economic crisis, new technology, profit erosion, offshore competition and the changing demographics among your dentist-clients...
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- October 2013
In January, Vinnie Verderosa, CDT, MDT, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, spent nine days working with the Giving Through Smiles Foundation in Neltume, Chile, a remote logging village in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. He was the only technician in a 10-person team from New York, including prosthodontists and dentists. They joined forces with dentists and dental students from a university in Chile to fabricate 50 dentures and treat 150 children with rampant tooth decay.
A clinic was set up in the lunchroom of a school, along with two rooms for denture work. The volunteers...
- June 2013
LMT explores the in-house business model which provides technicians with the ultimate opportunity to be an integral part of the dental team and experience the satisfaction of interacting with patientsâminus the challenges of business ownership. Plus: a dentist offers his perspective on the value of having technicians just down the hall.
When he's not in the lab, Paul Fink is in the dog house, but there's nowhere he'd rather be. Breeding and showing champion Yorkshire Terriers is a passion for Paul, Owner of A Dental Creation in Vincennes, IN, and his wife, Barbara, who also works in the lab.
Longtime Yorkie lovers, the Finks have several show dogs and the demands of caring for and showing them keep the duo busy. To become a champion, show dogs must compete in numerous shows each year in order to accumulate points and, since shows are held across the country, the hobby requires a lot of weekend travel. Luckily, their small, two-person,...
- May 2013
"This trip will hold a special place in my heart as one of those chance-of-a-lifetime experiences," says Liz Lake, CDT, a staff member at Midwestern University (MWU) College of Dental Medicine, Glendale, AZ, who recently returned from a dental mission on the South Pacific island of Tonga.
The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of more than 100 islands, many without electricity or running water, and a large portion of the population is farmers who don't have the money for regular dental care. "The need is great, and I would estimate that 80% of the people I saw on the island are missing at least one...
Moskey Dental Laboratories in Cleveland, OH, fabricates four non-precious alloy crowns to help a police dog get back on his beat.
- April 2013
After employees helped the business bounce back from a challenging 2010, Joseph Traboulsi, Owner of Creative Dental Images in Dedham, MA, treated them and their families to a seven-day cruise to Bermuda.
- March 2013
The Absolute Care Foundation is a non-profit organization run entirely by Absolute Dental Lab Co-Owners Conrad Rensburg and Drew Van Aarde and their staff.
- January 2013
In October, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, devastating parts of New York and New Jersey. LMT checks in with Master-Touch Dental Laboratories and Valplast—both of which took a direct hit—and looks at how the industry has come together to help.
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- October 2012
Shawn Holmes, a ceramist at Becker Dental Lab in Herculaneum, MO, had been going to physical therapy in an attempt to relieve lower back pain and discomfort, which was only exacerbated by long hours at the bench. So when a co-worker made a novel suggestion—sit on a stability ball during the workday instead of a regular chair—he decided to give it a shot. After three weeks of alternately sitting in his chair and on the ball—which allowed his core muscles to acclimate to the new sitting position—he now uses the exercise ball all day. "It relieved my lower back pain and the...
- August 2012
In 2008, Mike Mellon, CDT, was laid off. Today, he owns M&J Partials, LLC, in Leesburg, FL; has five employees; 32 active dentist- and laboratory-clients; and is on the way to owning his own building.