Finding the Right Lab Partner for Your Dental Practice

Finding a lab partner is a crucial step for success with growing your dental group practice. It’s important to establish a longstanding partnership with a dental lab to ensure that your patients are getting the materials and care that they need. 

Dr. Anna Berik has been performing cosmetic dentistry for over 25 years and is one of the country’s premier cosmetic dentists. She owns Newton Dental Associates, a unique team-based multi-specialty cosmetic and family dental practice based in Newton, Massachusetts. She partnered with Paramount Dental Studio, the fastest-growing, independent, national dental laboratory in the United States. 

Berik said, “Having the right lab is life or death when operating and scaling a practice. It is a true partner. In fact, a practice cannot grow until the details are properly handled. The right lab translates directly into three things that are critical for any dental practice, but in particular, when you are looking to grow your practice: reputation, chairtime, and overhead.” 

Building a reputation

In the world of dentistry, your reputation is one of your most precious resources. Many people look at the prospect of dental work with a sense of apprehension. A reputation for quality patient care will help to ease that apprehension, but it will be harder to maintain without the right lab partner. If your dental lab is creating materials that don’t fit, requiring more time in the chair, patients will be less likely to trust your practice.

Berik said, “So, patients might not understand how subgingival the doctor’s margins are, but they absolutely understand how the crown fits and how long they are spending in the chair. Fit and chair time directly affect your reputation.”

The reputation of your practice will make or break you. “The fit, look, and seating of the crown are instrumental in building a fantastic reputation and the lab influence in this aspect cannot be overstated,” Berik said. “If the restorations are poorly fabricated, you spend an inordinate amount of time adjusting – and in a really bad case, the restoration is so off that you would rather not seat it at all. You simply cannot build a robust patient base in this way.”

Saving yourself time and money

A weak dental partnership will not only cost you money, but could also cost you time, the most precious resource of all. With the wrong dental lab, you could have 45 minutes to an hour less of productivity during the day. If your lab is constantly sending bad-fitting crowns, that could put you behind the entire day, often without an opportunity to catch up. Your patients could be waiting for appointments that run over, and some may even have to reschedule to make it work for their schedule. 

“Chair time is money,” Berik said. “You cannot delegate a crown seating – it is always doctor time. If I have 45 minutes more in a day because crowns are seating immediately, then I have time to prep two more crowns. On the other hand, a doctor with the wrong lab partner has a 5-minute seating turn into a 30 to 45-minute seating.”

A doctor with the right lab spends the same amount of time at work as a doctor with the wrong lab. The difference is that the doctor with the right lab has an extra day of productivity a week. Even if your lab is rebuilding a faulty crown for free, it won’t restore your lost time with rescheduling. That lost chair-time is irreplaceable. With the right lab in place, every doctor in the practice is profitable and has extra time.

“When procedures are predictable and repeatable, you save doctor time,” Berik said. “And time is money. Of course, the price has to be right as well. Paramount has very reasonable pricing for the quality that we receive.”

Partnering with Paramount Dental Studio

Partnering with a dental laboratory like Paramount Dental Studio allows you to leverage the lab to scale your organization. By processing tens of thousands of cases every month, Paramount has a pretty good idea of which practices will excel in the future just by the way they approach lab work in general. 

Additionally, Paramount is prepping for the future by investing time and effort into practicing digital dentistry. Labs of the future will be proactive in fields like artificial intelligence, automation, and digital technology. 

Berik said, “Paramount is a fantastic lab. They perform very well on implant cases but our practice uses them for many kinds of restorations. They can process a large volume of cases, enabling us to remain with the same lab as we scale our practice, which is essential to maintaining continuity. Additionally, their leadership is very accessible and I can reach the owner of the lab to discuss issues if I need to.”