#1. Where are they making their products?
A lot of labs claim to “check” materials as they arrive, but you cannot check the materials once the unit is made. You need to know beforehand that it is up to our code of health and standards of care.
#2. How long does it take for you to deliver each unit?
Delivery appointments should be quick, accurate, and effortless. A crown delivery should take five to 10 minutes with minimal adjustment. That beautiful snap from the floss in between each contact should be present, and occlusion should be accurate. If you are taking 30 to 45 minutes for deliveries, you need to analyze why, how often, and what is going on. That is a lot of chair time with no pay.
#3. What does your lab specialize in?
Some labs are better at fixed versus removable, some are more costly for aesthetic cases, some specialize in full-mouth cases only, and so on. I personally like the “one-stop-shop” approach. I have used multiple labs, but I have found one that is good with everything.
#4. What personal connection will your lab provide?
You will make a lot of money over the years. It is important to build rapport with your lab technicians and know who is making your work. If you have a dozen different people doing your work, you will notice poor consistency with all your deliveries. If you work with one lab most of the time, it will build a file of your likes and dislikes, and most likely assign you your own lab technician for consistency. Trust us, this makes a huge difference.
We like to stand behind our work and to do that we need to make sure our team is standing behind us. This team is our office staff and also our lab.
Know your lab, and know who is doing your work. Being able to stand by your work from start to finish will make you a more confident dentist, give you the ability to do more complex and more aesthetic cases, and also build trust with your patients. In the end, this will deliver referrals and grow your practice.