The dental practice/dental lab relationship is a funny one. Very few companies out there have the ability to see both sides of this fence. Since I started offering services in the dental industry to dental practices and went on to acquire dental offices I see both sides of this dilemma. Let me explain. The dental office is a busy place. There is a lot going on and the team in the dental office shouldn’t have much time to spend on things that are not aimed at providing the best quality dentistry and the best customer service for the patient. With that said, it becomes very easy for the office to blame third party companies for problems that arise in the practice. I know this because I’ve seen my own team in the dental offices do this from time to time. For example, if a patient doesn’t show up for an appointment but the patient was confirmed via a text messaging service, it is easy to come to the conclusion that text messaging services don’t work. I see people jump to this conclusion all of the time. Although this is irrational to think, we are all guilty of this assumptive approach to management at times.
The relationship with a dental lab is very similar. When I acquired my first few dental offices I heard from many of the doctors how terrible certain labs were and how great other labs were. Over time I would see these same doctors who praised a certain lab begin to send their lab work elsewhere. I couldn’t figure this out. I thought, “Well if the lab work is so great, why are we sending elsewhere”. After further discussion with these doctors I came to find out the quality of the dental lab work was inconsistent. As I thought about this process I realized that if the lab could give inconsistent work, maybe we could be sending inconsistent quality of impressions to the lab. It wasn’t until I jumped into the dental lab business that I realized this was true. My dental offices didn’t like the inconsistency of the quality of work from a dental lab but we were sending inconsistent quality of impressions. This is something the practice should consider as part of the issue when seating crowns.
Now for a look at the other side of the fence. I have walked through many dental labs and met with many dental lab owners. Every lab wants to get more new clients sending them work consistently. I found that when we would funnel a majority of our work to one dental lab we would see a decline in the quality. I figured this was a labor problem; that the lab struggled handling the influx in work. This turned out to be true. Even with consistent quality of impressions from a practice, if the lab does not have the labor force to handle the influx of work, the quality tends to go down until the lab can ramp up their team of technicians. Understanding this dilemma can help labs and practices look at what each of them can do to improve the quality of the dental lab product.
Vince Dilley- CEO Platinum Recall