The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) has released the results of its 2015 Costs of Doing Business Survey, which polled the group’s members, certified dental technicians, recognized graduates, certified dental laboratories, and subscribers of the group’s publication, JDT Unbound.
“We’ve created this survey to give dentists a better sense of what kind of labs are out there,” said NADL president Dena Lanier. “There are many lab owners who invest in making sure their staff is highly skilled, educated, and trained, and we praise those laboratories. However, we want to make dentists aware that not all labs are following quality standards.”
The survey questioned respondents in 9 areas: demographics and laboratory characteristics, payroll and salaries, benefits, fees by product line, sales, remakes, clients and profit, outlook/layoffs, and outsourcing. According to the data, lab owners and managers are concerned about pricing, computer-aided design and manufacturing technology, certification, regulation, and offshore outsourcing.
“Since outsourcing labs often don’t register as laboratories, more outsourcing is done than reported,” said one of the respondents. The most cited reasons for outsourcing include price, requests from dental clients, labor savings, overabundance of work, and outside expertise. Also, 80.2% said their labs weren’t inspected by government agencies.
“It is crucial that dentists are informed about where they are getting their dental restorations from to ensure the health of the patient,” said Lanier. The NADL’s “What’s in Your Mouth?” campaign aims to raise awareness among dentists and the public alike of regulations, standards, transparency, safety issues, and the role that the lab and the technician play in oral healthcare.
“The dental industry needs to be less focused on the price aspect,” said a lab owner who participated in the survey. “Expertise, quality, and artistry are more important in the creation of dental restorations.”
The NADL urges dentists to find out if their state requires minimum dental laboratory standards, stay up to date with legislation, and find out if the laboratory they work with is certified to ensure that their patients are getting the quality restorations they deserve.