Although Friendship Dental Laboratories, Inc.'s first case was fabricated in 1973, it wasn't until 2006 that it implemented the efficient, computerized tracking system by Labtrac. This October, it logged in its half-millionth case!
Jerry Ragle, CDT, owner of Ragle Dental Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois, has the unique distinction of being the first laboratory in the U.S. to become a regional production center for milling Cadent models based on data from the Cadent iTero digital impression-taking system. LMT talks to Ragle--a long-time advocate of digital technology--about his latest foray into the digital world and the future of milling.
LMT: How did it come about that you're the first laboratory to become a Cadent model milling center?
Ragle: I'd been using the Cadent iTero Digital System since its launch in early 2007 and was immediately sold on the value of the system and the clinical results. I've always been fascinated by automation and how it impacts production. I became curious as to how the Cadent models were made and approached Cadent's COO Tim Mack about my interest in becoming a milling center.
Cadent's headquarters is based in New Jersey and last year when gas prices were rising, the costs to ship...
Open last April, Ragle Dental Laboratory\'s Cadent model milling center is milling about 5,000 polyurethane modelsâand recycling 2,500 to 2,800 pounds of polyurethane wasteâeach month.
Frank Munzenmayer, CDT, explains how to fabricate an overdenture implant bar without soldering, casting, laser welding or milling using the pre-fabricated SFI Bar from Cendres+MÃ©taux.
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 changing things quickly. Since 2011, the percentage of laboratories who offer 3D printed metal restorations has tripled (from 8% to 24%) and the percentage with a rapid prototyping system for wax has more than doubled (from 8% to 17%), according to LMT’s Digital Technology Surveys.
Owners: Randy & Daxton Grubb
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: employees get $100 if their department reaches its monthly sales goals, or $200 if it exceeds its goals by at least 10%. In addition, performance-based incentives are given every three months; Daxton allocates a percentage of the previous quarter’s profit to bonuses based both on production goals and intangibles like teamwork and attitude.
On top of the bonuses, an employee recognition...
These last nine years have witnessed many losses within our small laboratory community, and I'm grateful to have this page in LMT on which I can express my gratitude for those who've touched our lives
Like many young artists, Rebecca Wade found joy in expressing herself on canvas. Now that canvas is a crown.
An aspiring painter and sculptor who was working toward a degree in computer graphics in 1997, Wade responded to an ad for a part-time position at a dental laboratory only because it mentioned 'artistic ability.' She was hired as an opaquer and—due to her obvious potential and ability to learn quickly—was moved into the ceramic department within just two months. It wasn't long after that she opted to leave school and focus her energy on her newly discovered career.
For the last 10 years, she's been using that talent and energy at DSG Clearwater where she now runs the Ceramic Department. "My number one goal in my role here was to create a true team and we've really done that," says Wade, whose 11-person team worked together to implement Lean Manufacturing principles in the department and meets weekly to discuss challenges. "We lift each other up."
Wade credits Laboratory...
Confronted with daily reports of a declining economy and mired in the unpredictability of what it means for their businesses, itâs not surprising that some laboratory owners are postponing plans
Reed Nunnally spent five years building his own highly successful construction and real estate business buying, renovating and flipping properties in Louisville, Kentucky's historic Highlands area. But after a couple of years nursing a bad back, he knew he needed to switch gears.
His father, David Nunnally—interested in finding an operations manager to help run the business—jumped at the chance to get his savvy son on board at his lab, Derby Dental Laboratory, also in Louisville. While Reed had never planned to join the family business, he saw an opportunity to use his marketing degree and business experience at the 62-person operation, so he took his father up on his offer.
"Before making any changes, I spent countless hours in each department, learning every aspect of the operation and getting an understanding of the technicians' mindset," says Reed. After gaining that insight and researching new technology, Reed knew the lab could benefit from increased automation and...
If you don't charge for remakes or at least have some acceptable guidelines in place, your laboratoryâs bottom line could suffer. Monitoring, prevention and communication are key to minimizing remakes.
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China has implemented new labor laws and environmental regulations and is changing tax incentives in an effort to pacify citizens and encourage an exodus of factories.
At the Cal-Lab Meeting in Chicago, Safelink's Gary Morgan, CDT, offered an update on various regulatory issues, including OSHA, the FDA and the Medical Device Tax. Here's an overview:
OSHA has revised its Hazard Communication Standard. "This is a major change you need to be aware of and address right now," said Morgan, noting that OSHA is making enforcement a priority and laboratory inspections and penalties are on the rise. As part of the new standard:
Laboratories must update their hazard communication plan which details how staff should safely work with chemicals. "You need to figure out what you have: conduct an assessment, determine safe practices, create a written program and label all chemicals with their contents," said Morgan.
OSHA has also adopted a Global Harmonization System (GHS) that requires images or pictograms on dangerous, corrosive or toxic substances. Manufacturers and distributors are required to label original containers and the lab should either provide the same...
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.
Are digital dentures coming our way? Also, to meet the growing demand for removable restorations, several manufacturers introduced new teeth and other accompanying products to enhance function, esthetics and efficiency.
Fifty percent of the removable laboratory owner/manager respondents to LMT’s State of the Industry 2015 survey rate their current workload as “booming” or “good,” with another 38% saying it’s “stable.” And half go so far as to say removable prostheses are recession proof.
“There will always be that socioeconomical segment of society who won’t be able to afford implants or crowns and for whom dentures are the most logical solution; it’s that simple. Patients would rather spend their hard-earned money on other things,” says Tony Deangelis, CDT, Owner, Depot Dental Lab, Wood Dale, IL.
A laboratory owner from Pennsylvania agrees. “During my career, when the economy is poor, the amount of denture work has always increased. Patients still need teeth but can’t or won’t risk their savings.”
In the past five years, the removable prostheses for which there have been the most significant increase in dentist...
Forget what you've heard about a bleak future for the removables market. Laboratory owners say the market is thriving and the future is bright...
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The removables market continues to thrive thanks to a growing demand from an aging population, increasing consumer awareness of esthetic dentistry, and product and technological developments. Two of the marketâs key growth areas are implant-retained
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Renfert marked nine decades of supplying the dental laboratory industry with high quality, German-made equipment, instruments and materials. On the exhibit hall floor, the staff celebrated with a 90th birthday cake that it shared with attendees. The Renfert staff pictured above includes (from l. to r.): Zoran Pantelin; Bill Larson; Bob Hurl; Felix Fontanez; Traci Spier; John Meeks; and Sören Hug, who will soon assume the role of company President.
In June 2006, Steve and Greg Killian, brothers and co-owners of Killian Dental Ceramics, Irvine, California, realized a long-time dream. After over 20 years of renting space for their laboratory, they purchased a new building that would be their new
Hindsight is 20/20: Laboratory owners who have designed new facilities share the things they would do differently if they were building again.
In the fall, Congress extended the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit Program through 2011. In addition, there are other key changes to the program that may make it more advantageous for labs.
The R&E Tax Credit rewards companies investing resources in the development or improvement of its products, processes and techniques. If you qualify, you could receive a credit of $25,000 to $50,000 per year depending on your situation.