Improving your laboratory-practice relationship

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  Posted by: Dental Design      23rd April 2019

For dental laboratories, the custom gained from dentists is the lifeblood that keeps the business alive. After all, it stands to reason that the more dentists you work with, the more work your technicians will have to do and the more profitable your business will be.

However, it’s important to keep the relationships with these referring dentists as mutually beneficial as possible. There are multiple ways to ensure that these connections stay strong, and exploring these will help your laboratory remain successful.

Put quality first

It’s been said time and time again, but unless you can offer those who work with you a quality product it’s likely that they will soon look elsewhere. Therefore, quality is instantly more important than other aspects of service such as speed – bad quality will lead to unhappy patients, possible remakes and a loss of trust from dentists.

As such, is there any way you can think of to improve the quality of units you fabricate? There are multiple paths to take when it comes to improving product quality, and steps such as training technicians, researching the latest materials and even investing in innovative technology can all quickly make a noticeable difference.

It may also be worthwhile researching methods to help motivate your team. Keeping a team well inspired has been proven to increase the quality of the goods they produce, alongside bringing other benefits such as better staff retention and increased productivity.[i]Can you think of any incentives you could offer your staff to help keep them working towards their goals? Maybe more flexible working hours could encourage your team to stay happy and focused or maybe you can encourage more teamwork to promote friendships? It’s all about evaluating the individual personalities of your team, discovering what drives them and encouraging them to achieve a shared common goal.

Speed it up

The pace of life has quickened considerably in a short time. Patients and professionals alike are now expecting high quality results, fast, and laboratories need to adjust their services to reflect this. Try speaking to your referring dentists and see how you could tailor your services in ways that suit them. Adopting a bespoke approach for each of your clients is highly likely to be worthwhile as they will see the effort you are putting into your business relationship, and will therefore likely want to put the same effort in themselves and value your services more.

These measures could be as simple as offering free delivery on all cases or even introducing express turnaround speeds for important products. If you want to take it a step further you could also see if it’s viable to prioritise certain cases or even pick up/drop off products to local dental practices who use your services.

Open channels of communication

Much like every relationship in life, communication between dentist and technician is paramount in order to ensure that collaboration is successful. This applies to both parties, but for dental laboratories, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that the sense of trust that good communication can form remains strong.

For example, you can schedule regular meetings with the dentists you work with. This gives both sides the time to voice opinions and smooth out any issues they have. It’s also important to admit to any mistakes and apologise accordingly. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and as long as you are upfront and deal with these scenarios candidly you can ensure that dentists will understand the situation and continue to trust you going forward.

During cases it’s important to maintain open communication channels so that the results can be as good as possible. It’s worth making your laboratory very easy to get in touch with, especially as dentists may want to update case information during the fabrication process and this can directly impact the restoration being made.

One seamless way to introduce this level of communication is to encourage dentists to invest in technology such as the CS 3600 intraoral scanner from Carestream Dental. This innovative technology sends digital impressions in an open STL file format, allowing technicians to design restorations with the software of their choice. As files can be sent and updated digitally, this means that both parties can be on the same page throughout the treatment process.

Relationships worth supporting

With communication, quality and a willingness to succeed, you can ensure that your professional relationships with dentists remain strong, keeping your laboratory busy, profitable and steaming ahead into the future.


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[i]Tutor2u. People Management: Introduction to Motivation. Link:[Last accessed December 18].

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