The relationship between a dental office and its dental lab is an important one. Dentists can’t offer patients services like crowns, dentures and veneers without a dental lab. To give the patients the care they need, communication between the dentist office and its dental lab is a must.
Whether you’re a new dental practice establishing a new relationship with a dental lab or your transitioning to a different dental lab, there are certain questions to ask your dental lab to give you a good idea of how great a relationship can be between your dental office and the prospective dental lab.
These questions include:
1.) Are the materials ADA approved?
The ever-popular saying “you get what you pay for” isn’t more true than it is when dealing with a dental lab. As a dental practice, you’d like to have both high-quality work and low prices. This is often impossible.
The dental lab industry is a competitive one. Beware of dental labs that offer unusually low prices for their products. These products are often made of low-quality, non-ADA approved materials made in poor environments overseas.
When in doubt, it is better to pay more as you’ll get the high-quality products made from high-grade materials that you want and which your patients expect.
2.) How does the lab ensure quality control?
Your patients likely expect quick service along with high-quality products. You don’t want your patient to wait longer than necessary for items from the dental lab.
While quick turnaround is important, it shouldn’t sacrifice quality. Allowing an extra day or two for the dental lab to better check the quality of the product is normal.
Ask the dental lab to explain their product processes, who is in charge of quality in every step and how is quality checked. Also, ask about how the quality of the materials used in the products are measured. You’d be surprised at how many steps are involved. A reputable dental lab will have no problem disclosing this information. Don’t be afraid to ask.
3.) Does the lab send any work overseas?
There will be many dental labs clamoring to partner with your dental practice. Some labs, however, undercut prices in order to appear more appealing. Some labs cut costs on their products by sending the work overseas. These overseas labs often don’t comply with the sterile and clean environment that is required for safe products. There is likely to be no product quality control nor the use of high-quality materials used in the products.
4.) Is a visit to the lab possible?
If you’re going to enter a long-term, financially invested relationship with a dental lab, what better way to really get a feel for it than physically visiting the lab and see it for yourself. Many dental labs may look good on paper and the reps may brag about how great the lab is. See the lab personally and see how these claims truly stack up. A reputable dental lab will have no issue showing you around its facility.
5.) Does the dental lab provide support for your dental practice?
Dental labs that have been around for a long time have likely “seen it all.” In most cases, these dental labs work with multiple dental offices. Reputable dental labs that have “been around the block” a few times can provide valuable expertise, experience, and support to your dental practice. These dental labs can be an invaluable resource.
This level of dental practice support is hard to find in new and inexperienced dental labs.
6.) What is the continuing education policy of the lab?
Just as your patients expect you to offer and utilize advanced dental technology to treat their dental issues, so you should expect your dental lab to encourage its employees to be continuously learning on how to use the latest and greatest techniques and materials.
As a dentist, you want to ensure that your patients get the best care and service. This entails continuing education for both yourself and your dental lab.
Look for dental labs, like Arrowhead Dental Lab, that encourage education.
Arrowhead Dental Lab is a professional, experienced dental lab that not only encourages its employees to continue learning, but has created webinars, seminars and online courses to help other dental lab technicians stay up to speed on technological advances in the dental lab field.
For more information about dental lab continuing education through Arrowhead Dental Lab, feel free to contact us.