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Thoughtful Commentary from the Industry on Tough Issues
Nowadays software is everywhere, it has taken over every scenario of our lives.
Throughout my 34-year career as a technician, lab owner, manager, consultant and denturist, most of my problems have been the doctors' lack of training and experience in fixed and removable appliances. Since many dentists graduate with minimal lab experience—especially in removables—they get very frustrated by denture cases. In Indiana, technicians, assistants and other dental professionals can work directly with patients under the dentist's supervision and over the years I found myself spending more and more time working chairside...See more
Dental photography is important to us as technicians. It's a useful tool for communication, marketing, self assessment, learning, etc. It can be a little overwhelming in the beginning but I've learned you don't have to be a professional or even know a lot about your camera to get some really good consistent results with only an elementary understanding and some basic bits of knowledge.
Knowing what you know doesn't mean you know more than others know, or those others know more than you know. Maybe they don't know what you know, so what you know might not be what you need to know, because another one could not know what others know, including what you know. At the same instance to know you know what you know "Because you must know". Jack G. In Dental technology, we found different types of knowledge. Don't discard the thinking of those who might seem humble and lees aggressive. Sometimes those great cases came...See more
In this game called "LIFE", is not really about how you fall down, is more about how you are picking up yourself without touching the ground and continue with the so called "process", until the pieces are together once more. Until then, just make room for little mistakes, deceptions, ups and downs; no matter how far you see the shore, there is always a shining star lighting up your path and faith, in yourself, who else? Jack Garcia. For us technicians, our passion is recognized by those who benefit from our products. I'm...See more
I read an article about placing patient identification in acrylic dentures. May labs were discussing the best way to cold cure the ID into the denture and what materials to use for the actual ID. I heat cure the denture ID into the denture and it will never yellow or fade. Here's how, 1. perform your wax up, boil out, and separation in the usual method. 2. using the "mini-ident" product, type the information then apply a thin film of super glue to the type so it will not be affected by the monomer. 3. Choose the thickest area on the denture...See more
There's always a lot of great technical talk here, but I would love to participate in some conversation about the trends taking place in the industry and how they affect us. I started Dale Dental 12 years ago as a way for labs to get access to the restorations they needed to grow their business. To me however, Dale was always about more than the restorations or the cad/cam or anything else like that. Dale was about a paradigm shift in the way labs work. I believed then, as I do now, that labs needed to focus more on what they make, rather than...See more
I find the China debate to be very interesting yet perplexing. Some continue to believe that the problems faced by today's lab owners are in some measure due to the Chinese. This is akin to standing at the plate and taking a called strike while swatting a gnat. If we don't keep our eyes on the ball, the game will be over before we realized what happened. While some dental laboratories might be adversely affected by offshore products, pricing pressures are occurring industry-wide and are mostly coming from the insurance industry. Specifically,...See more
I'm a dental assistant with expanded functions in prosthodontics. I learned a long time ago that technicians have so much to teach assistants and doctors. I've worked with many of them to keep communication open between the lab and the office and promoted [the importance of communication] in an article I wrote with T.G. Hornischer. I'm passionate about small business and regret the slow demise of dental labs. In the U.S. our labs are dwindling while more students graduate from dental school and more dental schools are opening. In flipping through...See more
In response to Claus Dampmann's letter, Labor--Not Material Costs--is Key Factor Driving Selling Price of Chinese Crowns, in your June/July issue, please allow me to point out some things he failed to mention. While it's true that ProLab Solutions, Inc. and many other offshore labs are FDA-, ISO- and DAMAS-compliant, many of the American labs that buy crowns and bridges from them are not. Also, even though ProLab Solutions is "very supportive of full disclosure" the same can't be said for a great number of its lab customers. Dampmann is...See more
A counter viewpoint to those who have concerns about the materials being used in China.
Hi, Being a reseller of CAD CAM equipment we have found it to be very interesting that many decision makers in dental labs want help figuring out if it's the right time to buy. From a business perspective it's all about return on investment (ROI). So, for the sake of this exercise let's look at the cost of borrowing $10K over 5 years. Based on 21 manufacturing days in a month the $10K turns out to cost about $8.50 per day. So, a $27K scanner will run a little less than $25 per day. That said, if you are outsourcing models and the model base...See more
The NBC has been asked for CAD CAM credentialling. I know it sounds good on paper. But practically, how would you envision a CAD CAM test to be, that would credential this skill set? What would we test candidates on (designing?), how would we evaluate it and what tools would be required? Keeping in mind that each test facility would likely need to have the process(s) on site? Or, would each candidate bring a lap top with software? would there be a production element? Also, the industry does not have one universal open-architect system that...See more
Dear LMT: A recent issue of Dentistry Today featured an article, "Dental Lab Registration: Dentists Leading the Way", written by attorney and NADL Chief Staff Executive Eric Thorn, who points out some interesting trends in states that are creating legislation or proposals requiring dental lab registration (including Virginia, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, California and Washington). Thorn says that, in many cases, the reason for the growing push for lab registration is the leadership of dentists and state dental associations. I wrote...See more
Dear LMT: A number of months ago, I went to a Georgia Work Ready meeting in an attempt to be a good participant in my local government. Georgia Work Ready is a government-funded program that creates programs to improve job training and marketability of Georgia's workforce. I was shocked to see that only three businesses were represented. Due to the low turnout, I had plenty of airtime to voice my concerns in regard to the dental laboratory community. I explained that many restorations are fabricated outside the U.S., which is taking jobs away...See more
Dear LMT: Why is everything made in China? Here are some possible reasons: 1. People in China work for very little money. 2. The Chinese work ethic is extremely strong. 3. The fundamental cost to manufacture products in the U.S. is much higher than China due to: health insurance for employees, business insurance, minimum wage requirements, taxes, and regulations from OSHA, EPA, FDA, NLRB and countless other government agencies. 4. U.S. trade barriers are much lower than Chinese trade barriers. 5. Chinese currency is artificially...See more
For the last three years, I've been involved in titanium research and development with Precision Milling Center in West Valley City, UT, and read with interest Luke Kahng's recent article on titanium (How to Fabricate an Esthetic Porcelain to Titanium Restoration, LMT November/December 2011, [Click here to Read](/articles/700)). The piece is well written and supported with excellent photography. However, I'd like to add some technique recommendations that are critical to the success of processing porcelain-fused-to-titanium restorations: - When...See more