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5 Questions You Need to Ask a Dental Lab Before You Send a Case

Dental technician checks his work in the lab

We have said it before and we’ll say it again – communication is vital to your relationship with a dental lab. If you have just opened your dental practice or you are thinking of working in a different lab, you should be able to discuss important issues with your prospects before you start a business relationship.

To make sure that you cover everything important, we have rounded up five questions that you should not forget to ask a dental lab before you send your first case.

“How do you do quality control checks?”

Of course, you appreciate a quick turnaround time. But if it’s really fast, you might want to ask the lab owner how they will be able to do quality checks for their work. Find out if they do one after every step, how the work is performed. Is quality control check done in their lab by regular employees or do they have subcontractors who do it?  If the lab lets subcontractors come in after their work hours to do some of the work, consistency, and quality may be compromised.

“Do you use CDA-approved materials?”

You want to be sure that the lab you choose to work with uses materials that are manufactured by reputable companies. If a lab offers their products at a price that sounds too good to be true, it is probably because it is. Find out if the lab is an authorized lab for brand-name products that they offer. If they promise to give you crowns of a specific company at a much lower price compared to other labs, chances are what they’re offering is not even the same thing.

“Does your laboratory use genuine parts and hardware from the manufacturer for the implant restorations that you offer?”

It is highly important that genuine parts are used on implants that are provided to you and your patients. Why? It is because even in this industry, there are copycats. Some laboratories use imitation parts to cut cost. They often get away with it because the dentist is not specific with their questions and requirements. But if you, for example, ask for a FOREVERimplant™, and the laboratory uses an imitation, that’s a serious problem. After all, if the implant caused a problem, you will be the one responsible for dealing with the patient and covering the full cost of the remake.

“Do you send any of your work offshore?”

Don’t hesitate to ask this straightforward question. There’s no reason a lab owner should be offended if they’re not doing it. It’s just that there are many labs out there who send their work to countries with a much lower labor and production costs. They even do it without informing the dentists. The problem is that other countries may not have the same compliance laws that we have to make sure that we’re using the safest and highest-quality materials for restorations. Do not be tempted by low prices, because it’s possible that they are able to offer incredible rates because they send their work overseas and pass them off as their own. You would do well to get this issue discussed with a lab owner before you make your decision.

“When can I inspect your laboratory?”

This should be no problem if the lab is confident about their services and their facilities. Meet not only the lab owner but also the staff. Ask to be taken on a tour around the lab. This way you can see if they are able to maintain an establishment that is clean and professional-looking. Surely you’ll prefer that over a lab that is dirty and messy. While you’re there ask to see some impressions to know if they are up to your standards.  Check the pans as well as the implant hardware that they use.

Asking these questions and taking time to get to know the laboratory you’re considering to work with is one of the best ways to know if it’s possible that you’ll have a good working relationship. If you’re going to work together for a long time, you should be able to discuss everything honestly. Remember, communication is key. If the person you’re talking to already has problems answering any of the questions above, chances are you won’t be able to talk about problems in the future.

Looking for a new dental lab to work with for your dental practice? We could be what you’re looking for! Contact Dental Laboratory Associates and find out more about our lab and our services!

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