Legacy laboratories: Moskey Dental Laboratories

March 21, 2012

For Robert Lash, president of Moskey Dental Laboratories in Cleveland, the business of operating a dental lab is what he was meant to do. Though he earned a law degree in the early 1980s, the practice of law didn’t suit him, and he decided to return to the lab business started by his grandfather, Nathan Lash in 1924, and continued by his father, Phil Lash.

For Robert Lash, president of Moskey Dental Laboratories in Cleveland, the business of operating a dental lab is what he was meant to do.

Though he earned a law degree in the early 1980s, the practice of law didn’t suit him, and he decided to return to the lab business started by his grandfather, Nathan Lash in 1924, and continued by his father, Phil Lash.

His love of the business may be credited to his early introduction to it. Like many involved in running family-owned labs, he got his first taste of the work as a young person doing smaller jobs around the lab.

“I loved the work,” Lash said. “I poured models. I mounted cases. I filed invoices. I did deliveries with my dad at night. My grandfather, great uncle and uncle were there, so I felt that was the place where family worked.”

Lash returned to run the lab, which is a full service lab providing a broad range of services, in the late 1980s. He said he expects to add more employees to his 27-person work force as a result of adopting new technology.

“We’re going to need people who can work with software, and since the technology makes us more productive, more technicians will be needed to do the finish work,” he said.

The lab is now doing everything it can digitally.

“We scan models or impressions and digitally design partial frameworks, full contour crown and bridge, copings and bridge substructures, implant abutments, and slide in smile enhancers,” he said.

This digital capability means the lab can meet demands from dentists for quick turnaround times.

“More importantly, he said, “the switch to digital has meant more accurate restorations, resulting in less chair time for the dentist.”

Providing faster turnaround is one road Lash is following to out-perform competition from overseas labs. “One way to battle the overseas approach is to do it better and faster,” Lash said.

Working with dentists to develop treatment plans is another way the lab seeks to excel.

“We want to be involved when our accounts are doing treatment planning,” he said. “We can offer our high level of expertise to the planning process so together we can meet the dentist’s and patient’s expectations.”

One of lab’s goals is to help dentists be efficient.

“Our effort is to reduce the doctors’ and the patients’ chair time,” he said. “The less time it takes to place a restoration, the more time the dentist and patient have to do what they want. A little time spent in the beginning can save a lot of time at the end, with a better result.”

Sending digital dental impressions via intraoral scanning is another technology that improves the interaction between the dentist and the lab and brings better, quicker results for patients, Lash said.

“It will speed up our process and reduce turnaround time,” he said.

For Lash, being able to work with new technologies, and continuing the business started by his grandfather into the 21st century is where he wants to be.

“It’s in my blood. This is where I am comfortable,” he said.