Choosing the right dental lab is instrumental for any dental practice wanting to provide its patients with the best dental care. However, there is much to consider when evaluating the dental labs you want to partner with. This guide will provide tips on choosing a dental lab and offer insight into what to look for in a dental lab. Considering factors like the quality of their offerings and services to the shared values is necessary to keep in mind when choosing the right dental lab for your practice.
8 Qualities to Look for in a Dental Laboratory
If you are in the market for a new dental laboratory or just starting your search, there are a few critical factors to consider. The following qualities will help you evaluate labs to determine if a dental laboratory is a good partner for your practice.
1. Quality Product Range
Dental labs provide dental practices with essential tools and manufacture and customize various products. A trustworthy dental lab needs to provide a comprehensive list of the products they can offer your practice. Examples of the tools they might provide include:
- Dentures: Dental labs create complete dentures, removable dentures and partial dentures.
- Crowns and bridges: Fixed bridges and crowns are manufactured by dental labs. They create zirconia implant bridges and crowns.
- Veneers: Veneers can conceal or correct various dental issues, and they are manufactured and customized by dental labs.
- Straightening tools: Dental labs provide splints and other orthodontic appliances used to straighten and protect teeth.
- Orthodontic appliances: Removable prosthetics and orthodontic appliances like mouth guards and removable braces are also provided by dental labs.
These are all essential tools dentists and practices need to give their patients the required care, and it’s why a reliable dental lab is so critical.
2. Consistent Communication
Consistent communication between a dental practice and a dental lab is critical to working together. Building a strong and productive relationship with dental lab technicians is essential, as they are important to your team. The quality of patient care relies on the dentist’s ability to diagnose and assess the patient’s dental conditions. Dental lab technicians should be able to translate photos, diagrams and prescriptions into suitable prostheses.
Having consistent and effective communication between the dentist, dental lab and technicians means better care for patients. If a dental lab is hard to contact or is short and abrupt, it may impact the quality of their output and can affect critical aspects of the services provided by the lab.
3. Dedicate Services and Support
Dentists need to work overtime when there is an emergency. This same level of commitment should be expected from a dental lab. Reliability and transparency are qualities you can expect from an excellent dental lab partner. You need to know that you can trust them to work in emergencies and that they are reliable should you find yourself in a pinch. Their stance on overtime and the attention given to their work is the mark of a great dental lab.
4. Continued Education
The dental care industry is dynamic and ever-expanding. New techniques and technologies are continuously being developed, and part of a dentist’s job is to keep up with the latest industry trends and breakthroughs. Education continues after graduation and quality dental labs facilitate continued education for the dentists they work with. Learning resources such as webinars, seminars, talks and conferences should be offered by the dental lab you partner with.
The dental lab you partner with needs to offer the right products, quality and service, but they must also do so at a fair and realistic price. While you don’t want to sacrifice quality to get the best deal, it is important to ensure you’re not overspending. Knowing how much should be spent on lab costs every month to get the most out of your practice and lab partnership is essential.
6. Quality Assurance
You should always be familiar with the quality assurance process that your dental lab goes through to ensure that everything they produce is up to the proper standards. This is why transparency is a valuable indicator of a lab’s quality assurance. You should be able to ask them questions about their processes and their quality control checks and ask them to inspect their lab. This is all part of knowing the lab and trusting the quality of their work. ADA-approved materials, detailed checklists and their suppliers are all a part of their quality assurance.
Technology in the dental care industry is constantly evolving to provide better diagnoses and gather information more efficiently. The technology a dental lab use greatly affects its offerings. The most important types of technology and the essential equipment a dental lab should make use of includes:
- 3D printing technology: 3D printing technology is an incredibly useful tool for dental labs. It can be used to replace or repair damaged teeth, create orthodontic models and produce prosthetics such as molds, bridges, dentures and crowns.
- 3D and digital dental X-rays: 3D X-rays provide dentists and dental labs with a better understanding of a patient’s entire mouth by rendering a 3D model instead of producing a 2D X-ray image. Digital dental X-rays use no radiation to provide this information but require the patient to stay completely still for up to 40 seconds, which can be challenging. However, it is still a safe and valuable diagnostic tool.
- Desktop 3D dental scanner: This device scans prosthetics and synthetic items created by the lab, like models and dental impressions. They are used to capture the exact size, shape and measurements of the object they are scanning and produce a 3D image of it.
- Dental micromotors: Micromotors are used for cutting and polishing. They are most commonly used for cutting dentures.
- Vacuum mixers: Dental vacuum mixers are what mix materials together. This device safely creates materials like plaster and silicones, which are used to make prosthetics.
8. Shared Values
It is vital for dentists and practices to partner with a lab that shares their work ethics, business practices and values. A laboratory’s reputation must be considered when choosing the right dental lab to work with. Referrals from colleagues can speak volumes about the integrity and values of a lab.
Join Synergy Dental Partners for Access to the Best Dental Labs
These eight tips for choosing a dental lab will give dentists and dental practices the answers needed to make a well-informed decision about the dental labs they should partner with. Synergy Dental Partners is a group purchasing organization founded by dentists and designed for independent dental practices. Our goal is to give dentists everything they need to give the best dental care possible while saving as much money as possible.
Dentists and practices who join Synergy Dental Partners will have access to great discounts from all of our trusted partners, including a variety of reputable dental laboratory partners. Contact us today and learn more about the discounts and services we can offer you.