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How to Improve the Quality of Dental Lab Work

Great Dental WorkOur dental labs should be an integral part of our dental treatment planning process so that we are able to provide the highest quality dental solutions to our patients. A top-end dental lab will welcome as much information from the dentist as possible. In turn, it is also important for the doctor to have input from the lab during the treatment planning stage, as they are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team. Unfortunately, all too often our communication with them seems to break down, or is, at times, even nonexistent. To prevent this failure in communication, it pays to have a plan.

The communication process begins with the dentist committing to deliver exceptional dental treatment. The next step is to perform a COMPLETE DENTAL EXAM where we are able to gather much of the information about the patient that we will need. This exam must involve an interview with the patient, cancer screening, complete dental charting including periodontal probing, accurate mounted study models with centric relation bite records and face bow, a complete set of radiographs, and a complete set of photographs.

Once you are ready to move forward with treatment, send the case to the lab along with a detailed prescription, which should include the following:

  • Type of material
  • Highly detailed shade outline
  • Complete set of photos
  • Models of the patient approved provisionals

The complete set of photos and the models of the patient approved provisionals are the most important information to provide a dental lab. This information helps them provide you with the best possible results.

Additionally, be sure to ask your lab what communication tools they have that you may not be using. When working with Bay View Dental Lab for instance, they make “check lists” available to the dentist for each procedure and supply jump drives to include with cases in order to simplify sending the necessary photos – all of this works to ensure predictable, long-lasting restorations.

Making the dental lab one of your partners on the interdisciplinary team and communicating thoroughly will only raise the accuracy and predictability of your restorations, and will result in bringing down the stress of delivery day.

Dr. J. Stephen Hoard attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, for both undergraduate and graduate dental studies. He is a sustaining member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the North Carolina Dental Society. He also is a charter member of the New Bern chapter of the Seattle Study club for dentists. In Dr. Hoard’s spare time, he enjoys boating, golfing, and spending time with his wife Tina and two daughters, Lake and Nicole.