You care about your patients and have a good relationship with them. They trust you to catch any periodontal problems early and help them improve their habits, as well as to provide the best treatments at a reasonable price.
But some patients get tempted by the promise of getting more for less that they see in ads, not appreciating the serious problems that will result from not getting the highest quality care they can afford. Your choice of dental lab can make all the difference in helping them make the right decision and remain loyal. For the long-term health of the patient and your practice, it’s important to think carefully about trying to save money by using a cut-rate or overseas lab.
If you haven’t been a customer of one of these, you’ve certainly heard the horror stories:
- Long delays in delivery.
- Poor quality workmanship that sometimes requires more than one remake.
- Use of inferior materials.
- Shades that don’t match patient expectations.
- Inadequate case support and miscommunication.
- Patient discomfort and dissatisfaction that can make them decide to go elsewhere and give your practice poor reviews.
Getting the Right Answers
Before you switch labs, you and your associates need to do thorough homework to avoid jumping from the dental lab frying pan into a fire that could ruin your practice reputation. Or problems with your current lab could be an opportunity to upgrade your service and generate positive word of mouth. The best labs will not only withstand close scrutiny, they will welcome it. Here are some key considerations in deciding whether a lab partnership would be a good fit:
- What do you anticipate with the needs of your current patients? They’re getting older and are likely to need more sophisticated lab work to support implants, full arch reconstruction, or dentures.
- Will you also be marketing to attract affluent baby boomers, who may only recently have discovered the dental challenges they have neglected and whose quality standards may be very demanding?
- Does the prospective lab have a range of options and prices that should cover most of your patient needs, from those on a budget to those who want the best? Do they have artisans who can meet the highest expectations?
- Does it have lots of experience with the restorative materials you prefer?
- Does it do equally well managing physical and digital cases and can it help with a transition to fully digital?
- Can its staff assist treatment plan presentation, including immediate response to emailed questions while the patient is in the chair?
- Can you bring the patient to the lab for assessment or treatment or will it send out someone to help chairside?
- Are their technicians very experienced, certified, and participating in continuing education?
- Does the lab have a reputation for treating new clients as a priority, but when they are not paying close attention, handing them off to less competent technicians?
- Are the turnaround times they claim supported by their track record? Do they actually deliver on rush job requests?
- What are the lab’s weaknesses? If it won’t admit to any, do your homework before making a decision. No lab is perfect, but you need to build a new relationship on candor or expect to be disappointed by the results.
- Does the lab provide good warranties and competitive financing?
To fully understand these and other important issues in deciding how to select a new lab or work with your current one in a more optimum way, as well as verify what you are told, download How to Choose a Dental Lab, provided by labs.dental inc., which is a family of brands that includes DaVinci Dental Studios, The Winter Laboratory, and NuLife Long Island.