Gus Diacoloukas opened Friendship Dental Laboratories in 1973 and worked alongside his sons, George and Nick, at the Maryland-based lab for many years. The brothers, who took over the family business 9 years ago and with support and mentoring from their father, have doubled the lab’s business in that time. The high production lab has more than 80 employees and between 80% to 90% of the lab’s fixed work is done digitally.
Ceramco 3 porcelain system provides a customized firing process that reduces remakes and increases laboratory profitability and productivity. This porcelain system is non-greening with out-of-the-bottle shade uniformity. It also features organic pigments in the porcelains. The colorants assist in restoration build-up by reducing training time and allowing technicians to clearly see the placement of each layer of porcelain.
Nick Diacoloukas describes Ceramco 3 as a reliable friend.
Starting with Ceramco 2, this porcelain system has been a staple at Friendship Dental Laboratories for decades, he said, and is a product they’ve come to rely on over the years.
“This is a fool proof system that works well in many different hands,” Diacoloukas said. “It enables technicians of all skill levels to produce porcelain esthetics that are very nice. There are other ceramics that are very esthetic but unless you treat them a certain way they can be technique sensitive. Friendship is a production lab, and when you’re doing a lot of volume, you have to have something that’s forgiving. Ceramco 3 is exactly that.”
This tried-and-true system always performs predictably, and that alone has brought in a great return on investment. They very rarely need to redo a case because the material didn’t perform as it should, and that of course saves the lab time and money. The ceramists know how the material works and because it’s so predictable can make adjustments to cases as needed, and they can do it the first time around.
Not only is this system predictable, it’s also cost effective, Diacoloukas said, noting another benefit the lab has enjoyed over the years.
“When you put it into production it’s a material you can rely on. You don’t have a lot of hiccups,” he said. “It performs well for a production lab and that means a lot when you have a large volume of work and no time to re-do cases.”
Predictability is great, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if the product doesn’t deliver the esthetics dentists and patients are looking for. Ceramco 3 does, Diacoloukas said. The out-of-the-bottle shading is consistent, with pretty true shades. With this system, you definitely know what you’re going to get.
And that’s a large part of the reason this lab has stuck with Ceramco 3 over the years. They’ve heard about other systems and other manufacturers’ sales reps have been into the lab to try to sell the family on other products. But when it comes down to it, they don’t see a need to change.
Ceramco 3 is reliable, and a lab that’s producing 200 crowns a day needs to be streamlined and efficient. If the material doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, it will only slow the lab down and create a backlog. That’s never a problem with Ceramco 3. They know what it’s going to do.
“It’s like an old friend. You know how good they are but you don’t always value it until you take the time to think, ‘What if I had problems with this every day?’” Diacoloukas said. “It’s a performer, it’s tried and true.”