• March
  • Some Things Never Change: Inadequate Impressions Still Labs' Biggest Client Headache

    Laboratory respondents to our State of the Industry 2015 survey ranked clients’ impression-taking skills as their number-one client-related challenge, saying one quarter of the impressions that come into their laboratory are inadequate, a result of dentists not following manufacturers’ guidelines, delegating the task to assistants, or just not carefully evaluating the impressions before sending them to the lab.

    While 94% of laboratory-respondents say they’re comfortable calling their clients for replacement impressions, they often still hear those words that make most of them...

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  • 5 Trends on the Dentist's Mind

    A surge of digital technologies, the corporatization of dentistry and omnipresent insurance woes are just a few of the challenges impacting your dentist-clients. As part of our State of the Industry 2015 survey coverage, LMT polled 80 dentists from around the country to get their perspectives on these trends and more. Here’s what they had to say.

    They’re hesitant about digital impressionsAlthough 41% of laboratories are equipped to accept digital impressions, dentists have been slower to adopt the technology: labs receive digital impressions from only 6% of their clients. While many...

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  • Amann Girrbach and CAP Form North American Partnership for Sales and Support

    CAP is now Amann Girrbach’s premier partner in North America, selling the complete line of AG equipment, material and tools, as well as enhancing training and customer support.

    Maribeth Marsico
    March 5 at 9:46 am

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  • February
  • Rejuvenation Dentistry: Teamwork to Treat the Cause, Not the Effect

    Rejuvenation dentistry is an approach based on a model of health that considers not only a patient’s teeth but the entire masticatory system, including jaw joints, nerves and head and neck muscles, and maintains that problems occur when these components aren’t working in biological harmony.

    Maribeth Marsico
    February 17 at 9:22 am

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  • October 2014
  • LMT's Exclusive 2014 Fee Survey Report: In the 'Race to the Bottom,' Profitability is the Loser

    LMT’s 2014 Fee Survey respondents offer a mixed picture of their sales and profitability. On one hand, laboratory sales seem to be slowly improving. Profits, though, seem to be lagging behind.

    Maribeth Marsico
    October 14, 2014

    Read More 4 minute read

  • The FCZ Dilemma

    A 2014 Fee Survey participant from the Midwest—who prefers to remain anonymous—offers a thoughtful take on how the rampant price competition on full contour zirconia restorations is negatively affecting the bottom line of many laboratories.  Here’s what he had to say:

    In the early 1980s, the price of gold skyrocketed and non-precious alloy showed up on the scene. Since it was a cheap metal, most labs didn’t even add the cost of the metal into the crown fee. However, they weren’t thinking about the revenue they had been making on gold alloys—or about the...

    Maribeth Marsico
    October 14, 2014

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  • June 2014
  • Anatomy of an Acquisition

    Our industry is in acquisition mode. This month, LMT offers an inside look at D&S Dental Laboratory’s purchase of 10-person Hootman Dental Laboratory.

    Maribeth Marsico
    June 17, 2014

    Read More 7 minute read

  • May 2014
  • Chairside CAD/CAM the Right Niche for New Lab

    Tra’ Chambers had no actual laboratory experience when he opened Express Dental Laboratory in Norman, OK in December 2012.  Harnessing the efficiency of CAD/CAM technology, the lab touts a two- to three-day turnaround (or same-day for its mobile service) and generated over $300,000 in revenue during its first full year in business. Now, with a staff of seven, the lab serves 118 clients and 45% of its work is completely digital. Here’s more about the lab’s growth strategies:

    LMT: What made you decide to open Express Dental Laboratory without any prior laboratory experience?


    Maribeth Marsico
    May 20, 2014

    Read More 4 minute read

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  • April 2014
  • Arrowhead Dental Laboratory: the Technician/Dentist Bond

    Sandy, UT

    Owner: Dr. Dick Barnes

    240 employees

    With more than 200 employees, it’s no easy feat to get everyone focused on the same goal. But at Arrowhead Dental Laboratory in Sandy, UT, a singular mission gives meaning to the work day: helping customers become better, more productive dentists.

    “Dr. Barnes emphasizes building relationships first and building the business second; that’s really become our culture here,” says Peggy Nelson, the lab’s Director of Business Development. “In fact, the bond between the people who work here and our customers is what makes...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • Custom Arts Dental Lab, LLC: Right at Home

    Shreveport, LA

    Owner: Benjamin Hart

    27 employees

    A 50” HD TV. Ping-Pong tables. Sony PlayStation. Workout equipment. These are just a few of the amenities with which Owner Benjamin Hart has equipped the third-floor of Custom Arts Dental Lab.

    Designed as a recreational area for employees, the upstairs also includes a full kitchen, laundry area, and adjoining deck with patio furniture and large gas grill. After all, Hart believes his staff is his family, and when a family gets together, it should always feel right at home.

    Hart’s efforts, though, aren’t restricted to the third floor....

    Read More 1 minute read

  • March 2014
  • Excel Studios: Joined Together by a Commitment to Service

    Chatsworth, CA

    Owner: Dr. James Hartzel, CDT, and Edwin Fajardo

    35 Employees

    “One day, we knew we weren’t going to make the shipping deadline for a case for one of our larger  accounts on the East Coast. But we also knew we weren’t going to let that client down. The case was finished at 8:00pm and I was at the airport within an hour; 12 hours, four flights, two cab rides and a bunch of protein bars later, I was delivering that case to the dental office as the patient was walking in.

    To me, my travel experience speaks volumes about the culture of this laboratory: we will always...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • Ottawa Dental Laboratory: Award-Winning Healthy Workplace

    Headquartered in Ottawa, IL

    Owners: Luke Caruso Sr., Luke Caruso Jr. and Jim Caruso

    130 employees across three locations

    If you’re at an industry meeting and meet a group of people with blinking lights on their shoes, chances are they work at Ottawa Dental Laboratory (ODL).

    That blinking light would be an Actiped pedometer, a component of the laboratory’s comprehensive wellness program, which earned ODL recognition as one of the 100 Healthiest Workplaces in America for 2014, as well as the Healthiest Employer in Illinois for 2012 and 2013.

    In 2004—after a string of double-digit...

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  • BonaDent Dental Laboratories: Covering all the Bases for Work-Life Balance

    Headquartered in Seneca Falls, NY

    Owner:  Bruce Bonafiglia, CDT

    200 employees  across three locations

    Striking a work-life balance is a constant challenge for many of us. How can I squeeze in a workout? Who will watch the kids? When will I fit in a haircut or get the laundry done? And what’s for dinner tonight? If you work at BonaDent, all of those answers can be found within the four walls of its new, state-of-the-art facility in Seneca Falls, NY.

    BonaDent’s unique amenities truly make employees feel valued and taken care of: the in-house fitness center, onsite daycare, comprehensive...

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  • R-Dent Dental Laboratory: Boosting Motivation and Morale with Incentives and Recognition

    Bartlett, TN

    Owners: Randy & Daxton Grubb

    42 employees

    When Daxton Grubb joined his father Randy’s laboratory in 2002 after working at a Fortune 500 company, he had already learned a thing or two about employee motivation. “The company set unrealistic goals and only managers were rewarded for good performance. I was determined not to make the same mistake here,” says Grubb.

    While 20 to 30% of R-Dent’s managers’ compensation is based on their department’s net profit, Daxton also has sales and incentive programs for all employees. First, there are monthly incentives:...

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  • The Metal-Free Tipping Point

    Since their introduction in the 1950s, PFM restorations have been the bread-and-butter of C&B and most full service laboratories. In fact, as recently as 2005, only 17% of C&B workloads were metal-free. However, with the proliferation of metal-free materials and technologies, we’re nearing the tipping point: 45% of C&B workloads are now comprised of metal-free restorations, according to LMT’s 2013 Porcelain Survey.


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  • The Medical Device Tax Quagmire

    In 2010, the NADL’s analysis of the new healthcare legislation revealed that a 2.3% excise tax would be applicable to the selling price of completed dental restorations beginning in 2013.

    Vague terminology in the legislation indicated that the 2.3% tax would be payable by the manufacturer, producer or importer but didn’t specifically define those terms. Given the FDA’s previous classification of dental laboratories as medical device manufacturers, the conclusion was that the tax would apply.

    The news generated a growing alarm over the next several months as laboratory owners sought...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • "Full Z" Goes Full Speed

    The full contour zirconia trend began in 2009, with the launch of Glidewell’s BruxZir® Solid Zirconia crowns and bridges, marketed as a “virtually unbreakable” option for bruxers and grinders. Other manufacturers began to follow suit and introduce their own solid zirconia options and “Full Z” has become the fastest growing restoration in laboratories across the country.

    The restorations allow laboratories to offer a lower-cost solution, and the labor-saving digital process ensures better fits and fewer remakes. There remains concern among some laboratory owners...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • First Two States Win Fight for Disclosure

    On the heels of widespread media attention about offshore crowns containing lead, two bills that required laboratories to spell out the origin and content of dental restorations passed in 2008: one in Florida and one in South Carolina. Although both bills only required the lab to provide the information to the dentist—and not for the dentist to pass the information onto the patient—supporters felt it was a step in the right direction because the information would be placed in the patient’s file and would provide a mechanism for traceability.

    Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota have also...

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  • Lead Scare Brings Lab Work into the Public Eye

    Foreign Dental Work Put to Test, an investigative report about lead found in restorations made in China was the talk of the industry when it aired in February 2008 on Ohio’s WBNS 10TV. The story covered an Ohio woman who had experienced pain and infection in her jaw after her dentist placed an ill-fitting, three-unit PFM bridge the previous year. After learning the bridge was made in China, she had the bridge removed and tested for hazardous materials, and lead (160ppm) was found in the restoration.

    In addition, the TV station ordered eight PFM crowns from four labs in China and also had...

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  • Rapid Prototyping on the Radar

    The buzz at the Dental Laboratory Owners Association of California’s CAD/CAM Symposium in November 2005: rapid prototyping technology. First developed in the 1980s and used in the automotive and aerospace industries, the technology had laboratory owners enthusiastic about what was called the “next generation of CAD/CAM.” Advocates said the additive technology would result in increased efficiency and less material waste.

    Those forecasts were spot on. The technology continues to revolutionize the way laboratories fabricate waxups and metal restorations. And, like CAD/CAM, it’s...

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  • IPS e.max: Unprecedented Market Penetration

    Thanks to its physical properties, esthetics and ease of use, Ivoclar Vivadent’s IPS e.max—the first lithium disilicate on the market—penetrated the marketplace with unprecedented speed. Introduced in 2005, an estimated 75 million IPS e.max restorations have been fabricated worldwide. Also a contributing factor to the product’s success: the company’s strong marketing efforts to create brand awareness among laboratories, dentists and patients alike.

    “We had success with IPS e.max right from the start,” said Charlie Fager, BS, CDT, Owner, Fager Dental Laboratory,...

    Read More 1 minute read

  • FDA "Discovers" Dental Laboratories

    Historically, the FDA—long involved in overseeing the manufacturers of dental laboratory materials—paid minimal attention to dental laboratories. In 2004, due to the dramatic rise in imports from overseas laboratories, that changed. Concerned that these restorations might not contain FDA-approved materials, the FDA started taking a closer look at foreign laboratories and consequently, the domestic operations that imported cases from them. Several laboratories reported random inspections and, later that year, the FDA invited the NADL to a meeting to discuss its concerns about public...

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  • The Blurring of the Lines

    Laboratories—most notably Glidewell Laboratories—have long dabbled in the manufacturer/supplier realm. But in the past 15 years, digital technology has been driving a role reversal as manufacturers/suppliers have begun stepping into the laboratory’s shoes.

    Nobel Biocare was the first in the late 90s; now, there are more than a dozen manufacturer/suppliers that offer design and milling services for their laboratory customers. While some laboratory owners are concerned their suppliers are becoming their competitors, others aren’t bothered by the trend if the manufacturers...

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  • Implants Become Ubiquitous

    In the early 1980s, industry forecasters predicted a boon in implant placement, a prediction that was premature for a market still in its infancy. Inadequate education, inconsistent techniques and unpredictable results contributed to resistance on the part of many dentists and laboratories.

    However, by the time we entered the new millennium, implant treatment became the first choice in tooth replacement thanks to technical advancements, long-term success rates, and the abundance of manufacturer-provided education.

    The advent of CAD/CAM and cone beam technology further impacted the precision of...

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  • Tick Tock 2000

    Computer systems across the globe were at risk of failing after midnight, December 31, 1999 thanks to the “Millennium Bug.” For decades prior to 2000, computer software had been designed with a two-digit year code—“98” for 1998, for example—and the fear was that when computers’ internal clocks changed to “00” the computers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the year 2000 and the year 1900.

    Like business owners everywhere, some laboratory owners were concerned by what the “mother of all computer glitches,” would...

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