Choosing a new lab? Here’s what you need to know
The laboratory you work with is an extension of your practice team, helping you deliver the best possible patient care. Whether you are setting up a new practice, or growing an existing business and looking for a new partner, here’s a checklist of what you need to ask:
What services does it offer?
If you offer a full range of services to your patients, you need a lab that will cater to all your needs. From crown and bridge work to prosthetics, orthodontics and implants, partnering with a complete service lab will provide a platform for success.
What is the lab’s reputation in the profession?
Seeking reviews, testimonials and recommendations from other dentists can be invaluable when selecting a new lab. Discussing their experience of working with different businesses will give you honest and helpful insight into the service you can expect to receive. There is also merit in working with an established laboratory – they would not have succeeded in the profession for so long if they didn’t deliver on their promises and provide high quality products.
What materials / software does it use?
In order to ensure high quality care for all your patients, you need to know that your laboratory utilises the latest, clinically proven materials on the market. Understanding the exact materials used will also have an impact on the procedures required in both the lab and the practice. If you’re using a digital workflow with intraoral scanners, it’s also necessary to speak to the lab to make sure they can receive and process the files you’re generating. Further still, quick and easy methods of communication should be available, as this is vital for effective collaboration between dentist and technician – especially when you first start working together.
Can you visit the lab and meet the technicians?
Creating a list of criteria you need a lab to fulfil is the first port of call, but physically visiting the premises is beneficial. You’ll be able to assess the standards of cleanliness for yourself and gain a better sense of how the team works, as well as how your practice workflows would integrate. An opportunity to meet the technicians in person is also useful as these are the people you will be working with and it’s important to ensure you can get on with the different personalities. This is also a great way of building rapport with the lab for a successful long-term relationship.
What are its average turnaround times and how does it ensure successful delivery of finished restorations and appliances to practices?
The efficiency with which a lab returns restorations or appliances can have a huge influence on both the quality of care provided and the patient’s satisfaction with the practice. You also need to have confidence that the laboratory will consistently deliver undamaged products in a timely fashion. CosTech Dental Laboratory offers a one- and two-week service with personal collection and delivery available in the team’s own fleet of cars within London and the Southeast, with more areas coming soon.