Legacy Labs: Tintrup Dental Laboratory

March 21, 2012

It was not an easy time in her life when Andrea Tintrup took the reins at Tintrup Dental Laboratory in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in 2000. Andrea never imagined that she would end up finding a business and industry that she loves and would still be running the lab 11 years later.

It was not an easy time in her life when Andrea Tintrup took the reins at Tintrup Dental Laboratory in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in 2000. Andrea never imagined that she would end up finding a business and industry that she loves and would still be running the lab 11 years later.

Andrea's husband, Frank, had operated the laboratory for 27 years. The business was started by his father, also named Frank, in 1939. When her husband died of pancreatic cancer in December 2000, Andrea, a mother of three young children, knew she had to do whatever she could to keep the family business afloat.

Though she had not previously worked in the dental industry, she was not without business experience. She has a business degree and had owned and operated a children's art center. She also felt very strongly about continuing the laboratory.

"I came in and assured the employees that I was going to do the best I could to keep the business going," she said. Despite such assurance, she said that "my learning curve was as steep as the Alps."

Today, the laboratory employees a staff of 15 and is still in its original location. Mount Vernon borders The Bronx and is not far from Manhattan. The lab is just steps from a train station that allows easy access for visiting patients. 

The laboratory services more than 140 local dentists, community centers and has long-standing relationships with well-regarded teaching hospitals such as Jacobi and Montefiore medical centers.

"Whether you're a dental resident or a seasoned practitioner, everyone gets the same high quality because my name is on every case that goes out of here,” Andrea said.

The lab places emphasis on quality, customer service and refusing to send any work overseas for manufacturing. The lab also is responding to the challenges of new technology by working with materials other than precious metals for restorations.

"I think the trend is toward all porcelain such as E-Max, an incredibly strong and highly esthetic porcelain restoration,” Andrea said.

Andrea has created a family atmosphere for employees and an open door policy for dentists. 

"Our dentists come in and drop off cases," she said. "They'll sit and chat and sometimes even drop off a pizza for the technicians.  On  warm summer days we even have barbeques in the driveway."

Andrea is pleased to see that the business is thriving and that her son has joined it.

"For me to have continued the laboratory was a personal accomplishment," she said. "It's very nice to know that here I am 11 years later and that my son, Frank, 24, joined the company last year.”

She said the lab’s goals have not changed greatly since it was founded. Knowing that she has continued her father-in-law's dream of quality workmanship and making customers happy “gives me this incredible sense of pride," she said.

When Andrea finally decides to exit the company’s day-to-day operations, she has some ideas for how she might continue to contribute to the industry.  She is thinking of creating a dental apprenticeship program for young people in the community who may want to learn the skills to be a dental technician. 

She also enjoys giving back to the community through charitable donations of her lab's services and joy in knowing Tintrup Dental Laboratory has given many people their smiles back.