In 2017, with the rapid advancements of technology and materials, a dentist now has more options than ever before for how to treat a patient. Nowhere is that more clear than on the dental laboratory side of the profession. Gone are the days where you simply choose a gold crown or a PFM and send it to the dental lab down the block where your lab technician will wax it up and cast it. CAD-CAM technology, digital impressions, and the advancements of zirconia and other more life-like materials have revolutionized the dental laboratory industry.
These advancements have led to large changes on how labs work and are managed. It is very important to note that all crowns and laboratory products are NOT created equal. If the price of a crown seems to be too good to be true, it typically is. Many laboratories are choosing to control costs by hiring less certified dental technicians and replace them with technology. Regardless of how efficient and intelligent computer technology is, there is still no substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a certified dental technician. Their attention to anatomy, function, and material properties is irreplaceable.
Another trend that is becoming more common is for labs to simply serve as an intermediary, and then send the cases overseas. While there are certainly reputable labs in other countries, you tend to lose the collaboration that comes with working with a lab and technician you are familiar with.
The dentist-laboratory technician relationship is an integral part of delivering patients exceptional care. Choosing a lab that you know and trust will make your life as a dentist much easier. Visit your lab to make sure their standards match up to yours. Talk to the technicians that you are going to be working with, so you understand one another. Learn what they need from you to ensure a consistent result every time. As materials and technology continue to evolve, the value of partnering with a reputable lab will only increase.
This article originally posted at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/choosing-dental-lab-jason-genta-dds