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.
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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...
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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...
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.
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.
SEO ensures that your target audience has the ability to quickly find your laboratory’s website through a search engine; it’s what gets your website found and helps build traffic to your site.
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Just in the past six months alone, there have been a number of laboratory acquisitions by private equity portfolio companies. While private equity is not new to our community, portfolio companies are poised to make the most of our changing industry.
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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?
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“Change, consolidation and new business models are inevitable, but survival, growth and a seat at the table are optional. Your future in the next several years is dependent on what you decide to do,” said Mark Murphy, DDS, in his State of the Industry presentation at the 88th Annual Cal-Lab Meeting. “We have tremendous control over what our role will be in the future. You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you sure can set your sails.”
Other speakers during this year’s meeting offered ideas on exactly how to set those sails. Terry Fine, President of...
Argen Digital introduced its High Noble SLM substructures built from their popular Argedent Euro alloy containing 40% Au, 40% Pd and available in up to six units. “We are the only company in the world to offer High Noble, Noble and Non-Precious substructures fabricated with Selective Laser Melting Technology,” said Ashley Skitt, Marketing Manager.
The company also introduced ArgenPMMA Temps available in 16 Classic VITA shades, one bleach shade and five transitional shades. Precision milled from the lab’s supplied .stl file, these full contour temporaries are available in single...
With Precise-Fit from Valplast International Corp., Valplast dentures can now be designed and blocked-out from any digital scan or .stl file and output to a unique printed base that can be tried into the patient’s mouth. All design is done digitally, eliminating duplicate models and traditional waxups with a trial baseplate printed using a proprietary flexible resin and 3D digital printer.
The Precise-Fit baseplate lets dentists evaluate jaw relation and tooth arrangement, as well as preview the fit of the final restoration before processing. The lab can process the baseplate without duplicating...
Dentsoll introduced Acry-Tone Pre-Made Clasps for conventional denture repairs and flippers. “Made of flexible acrylic, the clasps can shorten the denture repair process significantly, to less than 10 minutes,” said Esther Kim, Director, Sales and Marketing. The clasp can be molded with a heat gun and bonded with ISO Fast self-curing resin.
Also new: Snow Rock Denture Systems Repair Kit for quick repairs on all acrylic removable applications, re-gardless of color and make. The kit includes ISO Fast in color #7α Real Pink, a self-curing repair resin that sets in three minutes and...
3D Systems’ ProJet® 3510 MP 3D printer and proprietary VisiJet® Stoneplast materials have been optimized for dental drill guide production. The printer accepts .stl files and the material is available in both clear or plaster.
“Transitioning to digital workflows with 3D printing compatibility has brought a high-impact solution to the dental field. The ProJet 3510 MP and Stoneplast materials easily integrate with leading software modules enabling an integrated drill guide manufacturing solution,” said Cathy Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer, 3D Systems.
For more information, visit www.3DSystems.com.
PEEK—poly-ether-ether-ke-tone—was the talk of the IDS in Cologne last year; now, it’s come to the U.S. in the form of the JUVORA Dental Disc made from PEEK sourced directly and exclusively from Invibio® Biomaterial Solutions, a global leader of PEEK biomaterials. Available from JUVORA Inc., the disc received FDA clearance for milling frameworks for complete and partial removable dentures and implant overdentures earlier this year.
“PEEK has had some use historically in dental applications such as abutments and healing caps. However, now with the JUVORA Dental Disc, dental...
San Antonio, TX
Owner: Dirk Albrecht
At Oral Designs, every day is an opportunity to build a collaborative and supportive team. The culture revolves around building camaraderie; for example, the group often gets together during lunch time for games designed by the managers to quiz employees on how much they know about each other. The lab also sponsors employees’ participation in community runs—along with t-shirts that say “Oral Designs Runs this Town” and provides celebratory birthday lunches. “The managers are constantly coming up with activities that...
Cedar Knolls, NJ
Owners: Yukio Otsubo, President; Yoshinobu Umeda, Vice President; and Ikuzo Enoki, Production Manager
In January 2000, Kuwata Pan Dent, founded by Masahiro Kuwata, became one of the first laboratories in the U.S. to achieve ISO 9001 certification, verifying that it has established and thoroughly documented a quality management system; the lab has been recertified four times since 2000.
Not only does ISO certification ensure consistent quality products and services, for its staff members it means responsibilities and accountability are well defined, there’s...
Owner: Dr. James Hartzel, CDT, and Edwin Fajardo
“One day, we knew we weren’t going to make the shipping deadline for a case for one of our larger accounts on the East Coast. But we also knew we weren’t going to let that client down. The case was finished at 8:00pm and I was at the airport within an hour; 12 hours, four flights, two cab rides and a bunch of protein bars later, I was delivering that case to the dental office as the patient was walking in.
To me, my travel experience speaks volumes about the culture of this laboratory: we will always...
Thanks to its physical properties, esthetics and ease of use, Ivoclar Vivadent’s IPS e.max—the first lithium disilicate on the market—penetrated the marketplace with unprecedented speed. Introduced in 2005, an estimated 75 million IPS e.max restorations have been fabricated worldwide. Also a contributing factor to the product’s success: the company’s strong marketing efforts to create brand awareness among laboratories, dentists and patients alike.
“We had success with IPS e.max right from the start,” said Charlie Fager, BS, CDT, Owner, Fager Dental Laboratory,...
In this steb-by-step case study, Jonathan Brooks, CDT, MDT, demonstrates how he uses the Sirona inLab system with his Smile-Vision Template TechniqueTM.
In October 1985, amidst rumblings that U.S. laboratories were farming work out to offshore laboratories, LMT brought the issue out into the open. Our interview with Jerry Doviack, CDT, Owner of California-based Continental Dental Ceramics, took readers inside Interdent, his facility in the Philippines and sparked intense industry debate.
In the interview, Doviack explained his strategy behind setting up offshore production to provide outsourcing services to laboratories around the world, saying it wouldn’t take jobs away because the local laboratory would still provide a vital service to...
LMT took six impressions of the same prep and anonymously sent them to six different laboratories along with prescriptions for non-precious PFM crowns; one was made in the Philippines. In this ground-breaking experiment in 1985—with LMT Publisher Judy Fishman as the patient—we wanted to know: could a dentist tell the difference between the $35 crown and the $75 crown?
Among our panel of dentists, no one crown was rated head and shoulders above the rest. Although not uniform in their assessments, the dentists could not discern which was the most expensive and which was the least; in...
As the enormous marketing potential of laminate veneers became evident, patent infringement cases began. While DenMat held various material patents, two other companies—Jaff Investment Co., owned by brothers Al and Frank Faunce, and Deneer, Inc., owned by Tom Greggs—held patents on the fabrication process.
However, many laboratories were still producing laminates on their own and this fueled a number of lawsuits and out-of-court settlements. In 1992, the issue reared its head again when laboratories around the country received letters from Yukiyo Ltd.—which had purchased an existing...
Since cosmetic dentistry marketing was typically an appeal to emotions, it was the perfect time for laboratory owners to take their message directly to the public. By all accounts, DenMat Corp. was the first: in the Fall of 1984, the company placed ads in consumer magazines—Reader’s Digest and McCall’s—saying, “Give a Smile for Christmas.” The ads elicited a tremendous response and the company’s telephones were jammed.
By February of 1985, Dr. Robert Ibsen, then president, told the crowd at a Cal-Lab meeting that DenMat was making over 1,000 Cerinate laminates...