Deciding on a dental laboratory is one of the most important decisions you will make as a dentist. The statistics illustrate how critical a healthy relationship between office and lab really is: Almost 38% of the average revenue a general dental practice generates comes from bridge work and fixed crowns.
A significant amount of the average dental practice’s revenue comes from lab-crafted products. Plus, approximately 33% of dentists have changed laboratories in the last two years. These two facts show that selecting the lab your office will work with is a very important decision that deserves your time and energy. It is imperative that dentists properly vet prospective dental labs.
But where do you start and what should a dentist look for to determine the right lab for their office? That’s a great question! Here are five ways to choose the best dental lab for your practice…
An unwavering commitment to producing high-quality products is one vital aspect of selecting a dental lab. Check to see if the lab has a National Board Certification (NBC) in Dental Laboratory Technology. NBC is the independent board founded by the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) that is dedicated to improving the quality of dental laboratory technology through voluntary testing and certification of dental laboratories and technicians. Also ensure that the lab uses FDA-certified materials. Before deciding on a lab, you must request samples of the lab’s products.
Top-notch samples are not the only variable in deciding on a dental lab. You must know that the lab you decide on working with delivers quality products in a timely manner, time after time. Ask if the lab can guarantee turn-around time. Also inquire about the lab's quality-control process. What steps are they taking to ensure that each prescription will be accurate and consistent for you and your patients?
3. Customer Service & Support
Even though you log a lot of chair time, you are always willing to carve out time in a busy work day to answer a patient’s questions, ease their worry, alleviate their stress, and help them. You need to work with a dental lab who exhibits the same approach to customer service for its dentists. Reliability and transparency are a must, especially when cases may need extra time and attention.
4. Commitment to Continued Education
This is a very dynamic industry we work in. Techniques and technologies change quickly and successful dentists understand that their education doesn’t end with a diploma. Good lab technicians are constantly learning and evolving, too. And the right dental lab for your practice should provide technical tips, educational classes, opportunities to learn, and valuable information that allows you to do your job well.
5. Shared Values & Business Fundamentals
Your practice is all about quality, not quantity. You need to find a dental lab with shared values. A laboratory’s reputation should factor into the equation when choosing a laboratory. Referrals from colleagues is a good place to begin to look for a lab that produces high-quality work and exhibits good communication with dentists.
There are a lot of labs that churn out products, and there are a lot of labs whose products aren’t reliable. Craftsmanship must be paramount when deciding on a lab. After all, your patient’s perception of your practice relies on top-notch products. Your practice’s goal is perfection and patient satisfaction and you must select a dental lab who is equally committed to these ideals. At DDS Lab, we treat our clients with the same attention and commitment to excellence that our dentists provide for their patients.
Don’t just rely on direct mailings and advertisements in journals when choosing a dental lab. Finding the right lab for your practice will play a huge role in patient satisfaction, increased revenue and a profitable business. Be sure that you are asking the right questions before committing to a dental lab.
“Solid relationships with patients and vendors, especially with your dental lab, can carry you through challenging times and tight deadlines and give you an edge over your competitors,” advises Dental Economics. “The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require effort to maintain, and they must be mutually beneficial.”