LMT Communications, Inc.
LMT asked dentist-participants in our 2018 Dentist Survey to rank the challenges they assume laboratory owners face. Interestingly, they were correct in choosing the top two, saying a lab’s biggest struggles are hiring competent staff (which lab owners ranked as their #2 problem) and making do with inadequate work by clients (which labs ranked as their #1 challenge.)
With regard to the challenge of hiring qualified technicians, some dentists expressed concern about the future of our community, citing declining educational programs and the aging technician base. “Let’s concentrate on actually supporting the dental technology industry with training programs, rather than pushing everything onto a computer,” says a dentist from Florida. “There is so much we cannot do digitally and we will need to have people who still understand this.”
Some dentists also commented on the difficulty laboratories have in dealing with subpar work from their clients, urging laboratories to hold them accountable.
“Feedback is crucial; don’t be afraid to tell us you need a better impression or more information. Any dentist who is too proud to receive feedback is not serving his/her patients and will not improve clinically,” says a dentist-participant from Tennessee. “Don’t be afraid to hold your dentists to the same standards as they hold you.”
Labs Weigh in
Similarly, laboratory-respondents to LMT’s 2018 Relationship Survey were asked: what do you think are dentists’ biggest challenges when running their practices? They were right on the money, not only choosing the same two problems the dentists did—dealing with insurance companies and hiring competent staff—but also in the correct order.
It’s possible laboratories were so easily able to identify a dentist’s number-one struggle because it has an effect on them. “Insurance reimbursement is the biggest issue; we have great clients who are constantly battling this problem,” says Kelly Pickworth, CDT, Owner, Ohio Dental Lab, Mason, OH. “The impact of this on our lab is huge: they are constantly requesting lower fees to deal with reimbursement problems.”