The Dentists’ Dental Lab Guide
Dentists have a lot on their plate. Not only do they provide patient healthcare on a daily basis, but they run a business, including working with their business partners, staff, and the laboratory. It is unrealistic to expect clients to know everything that the lab does, which provides ample opportunity for a lab to differentiate itself based on knowledge and expertise. A quick and easy way to provide this value is to create a brief but explanatory “what you need to know” guide. A checklist is a straightforward and non-confrontational way to detail what dentists need to do to make their workflow more efficient, which directly results in better patient care. In this day of extreme technological and material advances, and especially considering newly graduated dentists with limited lab knowledge, it is the responsibility of the lab to help guide their clients. Taking the time upfront to work through the details results in a win-win scenario for the lab and the dentist. Jerry Ragle, CDT, Ragle Dental Laboratory, Champaign, Ill., provides some examples of areas to highlight.
Whether the prescription is online or paper, it needs to be filled out completely. Do not write ‘Please Call” unless absolutely necessary. An RX is the lab’s guide and if it isn’t complete it will prompt a phone call which takes up valuable doctor/staff time. Too much information is always better than not enough.
Be thorough from the start and address any questions, requests, design info, etc. If a case is received and a few days later modified, the case could already be out of design causing the lab to backtrack or start over.
Scanners have a built in electronic RX but the restorative choices are generic and typically do not correspond with a lab’s RX. Ask the lab if they have a cheat sheet. We have cheat sheets available on our website that outlines the differences for each system.
-Time schedule (delivery date)
When an office schedules a case, make sure the person scheduling adheres to the lab’s working days schedule so not to short the lab which in turn will either prompt a call or add additional cost.
–What is typically overlooked
Restorative shade and especially stump shades. Today, the majority of restorative work is all-ceramic. The underlying color of the tooth can and will influence the final shade, therefore, the underlying color called a stump shade is equally important. Restoration material is also overlooked. Laboratories offer various types of material options. Become familiar with those materials. As an example, see https://ragledental.com/products/
Last but not least sign the RX whether it is by hand, a stamp or electronic. It is a requirement of The Dental Practice Act.
“If proper communication and diagnostics have been done prior to the start of a case then little communication during the process needs to take place,” said Ragle.