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Dental Laboratory Essential

Making the right choice

Dentists have numerous options when choosing a dental laboratory in respect to quality and type of services offered, size and capacity, ethics and fees.

At times proximity, word of mouth and discounted rates is taken into consideration rather than the quality of work. However, it is important to prioritize and make a well informed choice.The following guidelines can help you in.


Quality should be the number one factor while deciding the laboratory. This depends on skilled and knowledgeable technicians. Dentist work and records must reflect the standard of work expected from the technicians. Factors affecting quality:

  • Technicians must have an aesthetic sense and artistic abilities.
  • Technicians must be able to interpret and correctly apply the laboratory prescriptions.
  • Dental prosthesis constructions require a complete knowledge of occlusion, articulators and functional requirements of occlusion.
  • Technicians who can handle pressure at work are a necessity when choosing a laboratory. Keep in mind, that there is no frequent changes in the personnel.

A reliable indicator can be certifications for quality e.g. ISO.

Variety of Services

Question your requirements. Consider if your practice focuses on removable or fixed prosthesis, is your prime area of concern orthodontics or you need implant related work. This will help visualize and outline your prime areas of work and hence streamline your choice of laboratory.

Services Needed

Work, ethics, policies etc are equally important. Keep in mind the following while choosing your laboratory:

Communication/Cooperation: A good rapport is must for flow of information between the dentist and the technical team. Visit the laboratory and interact with the technicians to find if the technicians meet your requirement.

Ownership and Responsibility: Check the accountability of the management for the work and technicians.

Promptness and Efficiency: Most laboratories have a functional system which ensures speedy pickups and delivery.

Location and Proximity: Ideally choosing a laboratory at short distances can help avoid unnecessary delay and inconveniences.

Work Policy

This is important for decisions regarding clinic time, delivery protocol and payment details. Constant up- gradation of skills is must for both the management and staff in order to stay abreast with technological changes.


Select a laboratory that emphasizes high standards of technical performance and business ethics.


Although costs of services are an important yardstick for measuring the quality of service but this must not be presumed, because higher costs do not always mean higher quality.

Work Parameters and Scheduling

Most laboratories have established work schedules indicating the amount of time required to complete each laboratory procedure. Review this prior to establishing your appointment schedule. Seek the opinion of other dentists to gain an insight on the feasibility of working within the laboratories schedule.

Role you play

It is of utmost importance that the dentist and his laboratory work in sync. The dentists contribution to this effective working relations is outlined below:

  • The dentist must provide accurate impressions/models/occlusal records to the technician.
  • The written instruction should always be provided with details of work to be performed, materials to be used etc. The handwriting should be clear and legible. A duplicate copy of instructions should be retained with the dental office.
  • The dentists should identify, as appropriate, the crown margins, post palatal seal areas to be relieved and denture borders and designs for removable partial dentures.
  • Photographs, drawings and shade instructions can be used to supplement the optimal fabrication of different prosthesis.
  • The dentist should clean and disinfect all the impressions/models as has been outlined in the infection control protocol.

Role of the technician

The technicians play an important part in ensuring smooth delivery of dental prosthesis. The technicians should follow all the instructions provided by the dentist.

  • The laboratory should provide customized printed forms including the name of the laboratory, address, telephone numbers and fax. There should be ample space for the dentist's written instructions, patients name, delivery date etc.
  • The laboratory should inform the dentist on receiving the work, if there is any reason for not proceeding with the work.
  • The laboratory should guide the dentist on the materials present in the case and may suggest methods on how to properly handle and adjust the material.
  • The laboratory should clean and disinfect all incoming items from the dental office.
  • The laboratory should not under any circumstances bill the patient directly or divulge any information on business arrangements between the dentist and patient.
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Indian Dental Association
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