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Whip Mix Blog

Whip Mix Insights: The Little Things…

I just finished reading the August, 2017 edition of Inside Dental Technology, entitled Upheaval on the Horizon.

There are many interesting comments there, but the most interesting to me were statistical comments made by Dr. Gordon Christensen. “…net dentist income is at about the 1997 level and stagnant”, and over the past ten years, “average laboratory fees have reduced by about one third”, “and they will undoubtedly be lower”. All of the factors that are contributing to these disastrous events in the industry certainly cannot be covered here, but you can make the comparison for yourself.

When I started managing a dental lab in 1980, the cost to the dentist of a PFM with NP alloy was $50 and the average dentist charged $350. Now the FCZr crown is $100 (much more than a one third reduction) and the Dentist is charging somewhere over $850 a unit (just had one done two weeks ago). Digital technology is going to help the lab to produce more in the same time frame, but at lower total billings, so we are moving into an era where volume will need to make up the difference in laboratories’ gross sales. The question is…will all that volume come from new crown sales and implants and the remainder of the high dollar products that can be produced digitally? I think that laboratory owners are going to also need to find the little things, such as incremental sales, that will help to fill the void of the reducing profits of the high dollar products.

Soft relines have largely moved into the clinical realm in the same time period with labs reporting less than two to five liners per month. Many of these reline materials however, are failing at less than two years, and many in only several months. As a patient, would you be happy about that? You would be in a position where you need to return for another appointment and another charge for another reline which you know will fail shortly. The worst part is that the industry accepts this as a normal thing. What if the lab could offer the patient a better alternative? What if you had a product that would last on average for 4-6 years? What if that product could be used for restorative solutions that other materials could not withstand? What if you could save the patient from having to completely replace that implant bar or post because parts were no longer available?

It may not be a large volume of cases, but it might just make a difference. We have been using the Preference Soft Denture Liner for just those types of cases adding life and stability to prosthetics that make patients happy. With a few of those ‘little things’ billed out each month, would it make a difference in slowing the tide of the race to the bottom?

If you are interested in the cases we have done, please contact us in Technical support. Let us open your mind to another product that just might make that difference to you, your doctors and your patients. A denture product so easy to use, even a crown & bridge guy can do it….

Craig Pickett, CDT, RG, TE

Craig A. Pickett is NBC certified in Crown & Bridge with Technologist designation. In 2014, Craig was the recipient of the NADL Excellence in Education Award.