Learn how effective communication can help you make perfect restorations and the strategies to promote open communication between dentists and dental labs.

Dentists are in essence dental care professionals, but they also are dental clinic managers and businessmen. They embody and perform these roles at various stages of running their clinic and providing quality service to their patients. With this fact at hand, dentists have a sprouting list of functions as they assess patients’ needs, treat patient and eventually build a reliable team including their staff and the dental lab to work on restorations and other cases. While carrying out these responsibilities, the dentist needs to manage his workflow to maximize efficiency, increase client base and grab every opportunity to provide topnotch services.

The kind of communication doctors and labs need

What is the secret in creating accurate restoration for your patients? It is the perfect communication between laboratory and clinician which is made possible by digital workflow and other latest technology and materials. Without perfect collaboration, you cannot produce cost-effective and impressive restorations in a speedy manner.

Replicating the complicated nature of human anatomy is not an easy task. The human cavity is unique for every person and little miscalculation can spell trouble. So, it is imperative both for the clinician and the laboratory staff to work smoothly and in a more organized manner.

Laboratories expect doctors to give them detailed information to avoid defects and the need to make adjustments. Doctors also appreciate organized laboratory staff who work in unison from the person who makes appointment to the one who is sending out the package. Teamwork is truly indispensable for doctors and labs but this will not be possible without a tool that would facilitate effective communication between the two.

How much information should the lab receive from the dentist to create a perfect design? It must be detailed enough to produce a restoration that fits. But it does not end on specifications. Lab clinicians also need pictures on the lab script. If you can specify it bit by bit so the lab can get as much information as it can, as if they are looking at the person’s mouth in person, the better.

Working with certain lab techs for years can help them know what you want, no matter how odd the case may be. But, if you are going to change labs you cannot expect them to give you the best results without proper communication, no matter how big or popular the lab is.

For the lab: Why working with a doctor you know can help avoid problems

It is easy to spot discrepancies in prescription, miscalculation and even real intentions behind mistaken description if you know the doctor personally. Doctors are humans too and they are not immune from committing typographical errors, taking inaccurate impressions or prescribing something other than what they have in mind.

Working with a certain doctor for a long period of time will help you understand the way he works, what he would have wanted despite the wrong information you received and whether it is unlike him to choose a certain material or not. Nurturing a good professional relationship with the said doctor through open communication facilitated by digital workflow can help you talk about appropriate materials, fitting issues and other matters.

What lab owners should do

Lab owners need to provide the necessary information to get the job done. You can send high-quality digital photos by email along with adequate lab slips and a good impression. Digitally-oriented laboratories can easily send appropriate photos with the necessary details.

Strategies for effective communication

As a dentist, the last thing you need is inefficient workflow that may result to retakes, remakes, costly materials and shipping, and dissatisfied patients. Therefore, as a dentist, you need to develop your skills in managing your workflow. This means using the right technology to manage your time, communicate with staff and dental lab, prioritize work, delegate tasks and continuously improve operation. Here are tips that you can try:

Take time to talk to lab techs and discuss the photos and specifications. Try to answer their questions and clear any mix-up.

Do you make hard to read impressions with improper margins? Did you check the reduction of tooth structure before sending it over to your technician? Poor communication with your technician can lead to compromised work like problems with veneer thickness and shades. But if you talk to your dental techs openly they can call you and honestly discuss with you some issues in your cases. This will not be a problem if you are using 3Shape Trios and other digital scanner because of the accuracy of digital impressions.

Update them with your case. Make sure that you send them the updated impressions, scans and other things you need to work on the case.

You cannot expect your technicians to complete the cases with confusing input from you. Make sure that they have a realistic deadline based on the types of cases and materials. You must also know how long it takes for them to complete different procedures.

Work with a lab full of people who have the same goals as you. You don’t scout for a lab that offers the lowest price, treat it as pure business and expect an output with good quality. When you don’t get along with the lab staff or you do not meet at the same wavelength, miscommunication would come in and that would reflect on your restorations.

Find people who understand you, think like you and share your concerns especially when it comes to your patient’s welfare. You may not agree all the time but when you have common goals in mind, you can expect them to give their best to finish your case.

Choose a lab you can count on for odd cases. Imagine the worst case scenario and think of a lab that can help you pull it out. That is the kind of lab you need.

Laboratories should act as a wing of your plane, a team member that you can call when odd situations arise and a useful source of advice. Doctors and laboratories should act as partners in providing quality care to patients and not just contractors who need each other’s money.

The lab must be able to streamline communication. Successful labs have digital capabilities that dentists can take advantage of. It is very important for dentists working with these high-tech labs to learn more about its digital capabilities to optimize communication.

Take time to read the lab resources. Labs usually send information packages to help you learn more about their services and design recommendations. These resources include methods in working with materials and other vital information that would help dentists work better on their cases. You may be an expert in your field but there is nothing wrong in receiving input from lab technicians especially when it comes to the types of materials you should use.

Oftentimes, laboratories take the initiative to introduce new products or materials to the doctors. They do this to maintain working relationship with doctors taking impressions. How? When doctors and their staff talk about the case and the possible materials to use, the laboratory sees that as an opportunity to take the lead in offering their new products.

How new technology can streamline workflow

Technology speeds up communication and helps labs meet the doctor’s expectations. As many labs started using CAD/CAM type restorations and digital impressions, doctors can expect faster and more accurate impressions.

If the doctor can send the case electronically while the patient is still in the dental chair, the lab can check the photos and clarify everything with the dentist. Upon opening your file, the lab techs can either accept or reject it. If they see a problem in your case they can easily contact you and give you a chance to correct it while the patient is still in the chair.

If you have been using traditional techniques, shifting to 3Shape Scanner can improve your workflow because everything is digital. This intraoral scanner helps you take digital impressions and see every aspect of the photo so you will not miss important details that would affect the case. Exchanging information with 3shape while the patient is still around can produce better than results than using a chair side scanner.

For example, a dentist uses 3shapeTRIOS to take digital impressions for his patients’ implant abutment cases and sends it to 3Shape labs that would make fitting customized abutments and the requested final restorations. This technology saves money on shipping and handling by dental lab.

Digital workflow like 3shape helps laboratories achieve streamlined workflow and receive cases and communicate with dentists faster and easier. It also saves time and effort as their digital workflow also receives the digital impressions automatically. Dentists can also take accurate digital impressions, prepare and validate the impression instantly and lessen the adjustment and grinding while seating. As a result, the patient can enjoy comfortable scanning as well as high quality and accurate restoration.

What you should look for in a dental lab

The dental lab must strive on using the most up to date technologies in providing topnotch customer service and working on its cases, like abutments and restorations. It must use a digital workflow to optimize communication with the doctors in order to fabricate cost-effective, consistent and accurate cases.

Labs using 3shape Trios digital workflow can instantly receive scans from dentists simply by pushing the button. Dentists using this intraoral scanner can enjoy accurate impressions as well as 3shape’s easy to use features. Not only that! The dental lab should also accept digital impressions from the lowest cost solution in the market-the 3M True Definition. This is popular to dentists because of its comfortable hand piece and exceptional customer support.

BYF Dental Enterprise uses 3shape Scanner, 5-Axis Milling Machine, in addition to the intraoral scanners mentioned above. It implements a digital workflow that guarantees effective communication with the doctors and responsive customer service.

Call us today at (800) 361-1659 to know how we can help you!