You and Your Lab: Focus on improved impressions

March 21, 2012

For the past 25 years, I’ve had a good working relationship with Pittman Dental Lab. Shane Treadaway and the rest of the group at Pittman are great people who strive for perfection in every piece of work they produce, just like I do. Of course, longevity is only one measurement of a successful relationship.

For the past 25 years, I’ve had a good working relationship with Pittman Dental Lab. Shane Treadaway and the rest of the group at Pittman are great people who strive for perfection in every piece of work they produce, just like I do. Of course, longevity is only one measurement of a successful relationship.

Another way to look at it is how you both adapt to industry change over time and how that affects your relationship. Change in and of itself often is stressful enough; however, some recent changes in digital technology have caused our relationship to thrive-going from good to great in the last 18 months as we’ve incorporated digital impressioning (3M ESPE’s Lava™ Chairside Oral Scanner C.O.S.) into our practice.

A good relationship is when your lab gives you a heads up that they are getting on board with a new digital impression technology and they want you to consider purchasing a new piece of technology. A great relationship is when you both discuss the technology together, as well as with a manufacturer, before making a decision. You each do your research and then come together about what you want to achieve by bringing the new technology into the practice/lab. Once your goals are aligned, you can successfully move to implementation.

A good relationship moves this idea forward with the doctor purchasing the digital impression system and everyone living happily ever after with accurate digital impressions. A great relationship is when both parties feel so strongly about the adoption of the technology they are willing to collaborate to make it happen. I’m happy to give my lab a certain level of business, and they, in turn, have developed a program for offering me a rebate that can be equivalent to what I would pay monthly for my new digital impression system. In either case, we both ride off into the sunset with highly accurate impressions. But in the second scenario, I was much more willing to commit to the purchase of the hardware.

Most dentists working with traditional impressions might think they have a good relationship with their lab if they are able to send in an impression, opposing impression and bite registration, have a phone conversation about the case if there are any questions, and get a crown back in 2-4 weeks that may or may not be ideal. A great relationship is forged when you can discuss a case with your lab tech and send over a digital impression. Within 24 hours, we’re communicating via e-mailed screen captures so we’re both able to look at the impression while we talk to make sure we understand what is expected in the case.

It seems apparent to me that relationships are built on communication. Equally apparent is that today’s options for communication are far better than they ever have been before; and, truly communicating with Pittman has led us both down a path of business success, clinical excellence and patient satisfaction. Is your relationship with your lab significantly contributing to precision-fitting crowns and bridges?