Check out my first-hand look at Atlantic City!
When LMT Editor Becky Tyre visited Atlantic City this summer, there were too many things to see and do to fit in the June/July issue. Here are even more discoveries she found along the boardwalk and beyond.
Marius Vincze, CDT, MV Dental Studio, Wayland, MA, teamed up with Dr. Courtney Lavigne to design and build a 1,600-sq-ft dental practice and 120-sq-ft in-house laboratory. The duo works side-by-side for 60% of their restorative cases.
Marcel Fundora combines his experience as a technician and an artist to create beautiful paintings focused on dentistry.
When Massoudah Faiz opened her C&B laboratory in Atlanta a decade ago, she made working chairside a core part of her business model. Currently, she works chairside for 70% of her cases.
- December 2014
From the initial investment to the change in technique, getting clients on board with digital impressions can be an uphill climb. Here’s how one lab is slowly transitioning its clients into the digital realm.
- November 2014
- September 2014
As a result of rapid growth in its digital services, Albensi Laboratories was bursting at the seams. Now, its new building features a well-organized layout, energy-efficient systems and room to grow.
- August 2014
- June 2014
Coming from 11 countries and 26 states, over 1,600 laboratory owners, managers and technicians battled a heat wave to join LMT for LAB DAY West on May 16-17 in Garden Grove, CA.
- April 2014
St. Louis, MO
Owner: National Dentex Corp.; President: Larry Weiss
Open communication is a core value at Keller Laboratories. Every other month, President Larry Weiss holds “A Forum with Larry” where team members are chosen to join him for lunch and encouraged to ask questions or discuss any lab-related concerns. The unfiltered interaction and feedback keep Weiss in touch with the team’s needs and concerns and lets them know their voices are being heard. “Team members like having access to the decision maker and to know I’m listening,” explains Weiss. “I answer all the questions I can and for those I can’t, I promise to do my homework and get back to them as soon as possible.”
The lab also holds an annual State of the Lab Meeting—complete with dinner and drinks—where management goes over sales and unit growth, profitability and plans for the coming year. During the event, they also celebrate the successes of...
Lake Forest, CA
Owner: Mike Hill
Many labs call themselves“studios” but Mike Hill, Owner of 6-11 Dental Studio, makes sure his lab lives up to the name. Treating his technicians like artists is his number-one priority in his employee-centric laboratory.
To inspire creativity and productivity, each ceramist’s work area is a spacious 12' by 12' and set up like an individual studio, with divider walls to create a sense of privacy. The L-shaped workstations are twice the size of typical workbenches, giving technicians ample room to spread out, and the 19-ft-tall ceilings add to the roominess.
Technicians are encouraged to play their own music, burn incense or scented candles and really make their workspaces their own. Interruptions are kept to a minimum and, even then, non-technical staff and managers try to wait until there’s an obvious breaking point for the technician. “There’s an unwritten, although clearly articulated, rule that it is very...
Are you ready to take the plunge and invest in your own digital equipment? Going digital was the name of the game at NADL Vision 21 in Las Vegas in January where speakers offered tips on how to incorporate new technology into the laboratory.
- March 2014
Owners: Hal and Glenda Jones
“Hal and Glenda Jones are exceptional people first, exceptional employers second. I’ve been working here for 13 years and their genuine care for their employees shows throughout the company,” says Mikki Davis, Ceramist at Waco, TX-based Summit Dental Lab, echoing the resounding sentiment of the employees, a third of whom have worked there for a decade or more.
The Joneses believe that each employee’s character determines his ability to contribute positively to the team as a whole and enhances the quality of its products and services, as well as the work environment. So, in addition to providing a four-day workweek, outstanding benefits and hundreds of CE hours a year, Summit also offers personal development seminars on subjects such as health, financial management and character development. The package also includes the Employee Assistance Program, which includes visits from corporate chaplains as well as a...
Owner: Ron Humphrey
It’s a crisp winter day and the sun is shining on Cougar Mountain in Issaquah, WA…just another day of spectacular views for the staff at Northwest Dental Arts. The second-floor boutique lab features an open floor plan with huge windows on all sides. All eight employees have a view of Cougar Mountain including the deer, bobcats and many varieties of birds that live there, as well as Poo Poo Point, a popular take-off spot for hang gliders. Technicians sit at custom maple workbenches designed by Owner Ron Humphrey and a contractor, and clear Plexiglas shelves keep the view unobstructed. “My employees are the backbone of this lab,” says Humphrey. “They spend eight to nine hours a day here and I wanted to create an atmosphere of which they can feel proud.”
Owner: Mike Robertson, CDT
At Robertson Dental Lab, aspiring CDTs don’t need to take the journey alone. Eight months ago, inspired by technician Karlena Schutz, General Manager Tom Love created a CDT Study Club that meets once a week after the lab closes to help the eight technician-members learn from one another. The lab provides the study materials—including a visual dictionary from PTC and chapters from the Air Force manual—and each week the members take turns choosing a topic, leading the discussion and quizzing others on their grasp of the information. “Once the technicians took ownership of the club, they became vested and it really came to life,” says Love, who is also a member of the club and plans to take the CDT exam in June with the rest of the group. “As a result, we’ve cultivated a very supportive environment where we’re all challenging each other and supporting each other’s goal.”
Owners: Ira Dickerman, CDT, and Myron Dickerman, CDT
Once a technician starts working at Dickerman Dental Prosthetics, he has a tendency to stick around. Of the lab’s 26 employees, 62% have worked at the lab for at least 10 years and another 23% have been with the lab for over 30. “Working together for so long has created a strong bond between employees and an atmosphere where the days at the lab are as valuable as days off,” says Jim Pollina, C&B Manager and Dickerman employee since 1977.
So how does this third-generation family operation earn the loyalty of its staff? In addition to a four-day workweek that helps employees achieve a work-life balance, the lab’s willingness to be an early adopter of new technologies—such as digital technology and implants—keeps the staff motivated, interested and challenged.
For instance, in the 1980s, Dickerman was involved in fabricating the first Bränemark Hybrid Prosthesis...
Owner: Don Albensi, Sr.
When Albensi Laboratories says its employees receive a Total Rewards Program, it means total. Along with paying 100% of the staffs’ medical, vision and dental coverage, the lab also provides flexible working hours, life insurance, a 401(k) program with matching and access to a financial advisor. The laboratory even offers a 12-week Fit Camp—including aerobic classes, strength training and advice on healthy eating—twice a year and pays 50% of the cost for each employee.
Benefits like these are what led the staff to vote the laboratory one of the 2013 Top Workplaces in the area in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They also helped Owner and CEO, Don Albensi Sr., earn the newspaper’s title of Top Boss of a small business.
Albensi, who opened the lab in 1979, has grown the business from three to 94 employees by creating a positive atmosphere and acting more like a coach than a boss, according to Technical Manager Ernie...
- January 2014
The phrase “Like father, like son,” has never been better illustrated than at last year’s American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) meeting in Seattle. At the event, Bill Brown, CDT, Owner of Brown Dental Lab in Issaquah, WA, and his son, Kevin Brown, DDS, became the first father-son team to simultaneously receive AACD accreditation.
A technician for over 40 years, Bill has always been close with his kids. While growing up, Kevin and his brother, Craig, spent a lot of time in their dad’s lab, learning waxing techniques and becoming familiar with anatomy. Craig eventually joined the lab as a ceramist and Kevin opted to go to dental school. “One of the reasons I got into dentistry was to work with my dad,” he says.
After graduation, Kevin joined a practice close to his father’s lab and began sending Bill all of his ceramic work. “Dad’s lab is on my way home and I always stop by and help out with cases,” he says. “We...
- November 2013
It's a perfect storm heading straight for your bottom line: the economic crisis, new technology, profit erosion, offshore competition and the changing demographics among your dentist-clients...
Read More 6 minute read
- October 2013
In January, Vinnie Verderosa, CDT, MDT, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, spent nine days working with the Giving Through Smiles Foundation in Neltume, Chile, a remote logging village in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. He was the only technician in a 10-person team from New York, including prosthodontists and dentists. They joined forces with dentists and dental students from a university in Chile to fabricate 50 dentures and treat 150 children with rampant tooth decay.
A clinic was set up in the lunchroom of a school, along with two rooms for denture work. The volunteers brought materials with them from the U.S., including teeth and articulators donated by Ivoclar Vivadent. The equipment was provided by the Chilean dental school and was very limited, with some of the patients treated on school desks that substituted for dental chairs.
Dentists and students from the university met with patients ahead of time to perform exams and schedule appointments, so when the...
- June 2013
LMT explores the in-house business model which provides technicians with the ultimate opportunity to be an integral part of the dental team and experience the satisfaction of interacting with patientsâminus the challenges of business ownership. Plus: a dentist offers his perspective on the value of having technicians just down the hall.
When he's not in the lab, Paul Fink is in the dog house, but there's nowhere he'd rather be. Breeding and showing champion Yorkshire Terriers is a passion for Paul, Owner of A Dental Creation in Vincennes, IN, and his wife, Barbara, who also works in the lab.
Longtime Yorkie lovers, the Finks have several show dogs and the demands of caring for and showing them keep the duo busy. To become a champion, show dogs must compete in numerous shows each year in order to accumulate points and, since shows are held across the country, the hobby requires a lot of weekend travel. Luckily, their small, two-person, home-based operation gives them the flexibility to plan their caseload accordingly and even work longer hours in a four-day workweek so they can travel on Fridays.
At the shows, the dogs are judged according to the individual breeds AKC standard—including appearance and gait—and showing dogs requires significant training and grooming. For an AKC Champion, like the Finks' Murphy...