Patient Education

The Role of a Dental Lab

Rarely are patients familiar with the role of the dental lab in dentistry because we work in tandem with dentists behind the scenes.  In simple terms, dental labs fill prescriptions that a dentist submits to them so the lab will fabricate whatever appliance, restoration or prosthesis the dentist requests in writing.  But, it is so much more than that.  We are essentially creating body parts for patients. 

Types of Dental Labs

In general, there are several different types of dental labs:

  • Crown and Bridge/C&B (single teeth and bridges)
  • Removable (full and partial dentures)
  • Full-Service (does both C&B and removable)
  • Ortho (retainers and appliances)

Most labs today have also incorporated implants into their offerings because they are the new standard of care.  The thing to note about full service dental labs is that everyone can’t be an expert in everything.  C&B and removable are two distinctly different disciplines.  In most full-service labs, typically one area suffers.

Differences Among Dental Labs

Like any other industry, all dental labs are not created equal.  There are three distinct factors that differentiate what a lab produces for you the patient:

  • materials/processing used
  • craftsmanship/technique/experience
  • level of expertise

The Reality of Dental Insurance

It is important for patients to know that dentists are being limited by dental insurance these days.  This can often lead to the dentist avoiding the best options for patients because they have to make choices based solely on price.  The cheapest dental restorations are not typically the best.  Costs are saved by using less expensive materials and processing as well as less experienced technicians to fabricate the products.  As a patient, you need to be aware that dental insurance is not a typical insurance plan that would cover everything.  Dental insurance is simply a maintenance plan that covers your basic maintenance like cleanings and fillings. 

How To Get Great Lab Work

It is important for patients to know that in addition to the prescription, your dentist submits your records for labs to work from.  Your entire case depends on these records.  Records come in the form of impressions, photos and bite registrations.  The more information the lab has the better.  It is critical that these records are accurate for the lab to be able to create restorations that fit properly.  This is the most important step in the process because it dictates your final result.  Time spent upfront on records and case planning saves time, money and frustration.  Be patient while your dentist takes your records.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist About the Lab They Choose

  • Which lab would you use for my case?

  • What do they specialize in?

  • Why do you use that lab or what do your base your decision on?

  • How long have you been working with them?

  • How many years have they been in business?

  • If the impression is inadequate, will they send it back to be redone?

  • What type of material will my restoration be made out of?

  • If I was your mother/father/sister/brother, what would you recommend?

  • Where does the material come from?

  • Is the material FDA approved?

  • Which implant system will be used and why?

  • Is this an aftermarket implant system of a brand name implant system?

  • Is this a reputable implant system that will be around should I have an issue down the road?

  • Are you presenting the best possible treatment option to me or what my insurance can cover?

Restorative Ladder of Function

Implant Restorative Ladder

Why Wiand Dental Lab?

  • Experts in removable and implant supported dentures

  • Accountability to ensure accurate records from your dentist

  • Partnership with your dentist for the life of your case

  • Technicians trained in-house “The Wiand Way”

  • Best materials, equipment and processing available

  • Passion to get it right the first time

Our laboratory is unique in that we have specialized exclusively in removable (dentures) and implant assisted or supported dentures (dentures secured with implants) for nearly 25 years.  Everything we do here at Wiand is custom-made in-house by hand.  This requires great skill and dedication.  All of our technicians are trained in-house to our standards, standards that surpass each one of our competitors.

We decided long ago to specialize in one area, removable because we know you can’t be an expert in everything.  Removable is a very complicated discipline because it typically treats an entire arch at one time.   Those of us who truly understand and know removable are a rare breed today.  

We work hard at holding our dentists accountable to provide accurate records.  In today’s busy world, most labs will push inadequate impressions and bites through and hope for the best.  Not at Wiand because we know your entire case depends on these records.  Our ultimate goal is to make sure the patients we help to treat look great and function properly.  We work with your dentist until everything is right throughout the life of your case.

At Wiand, we believe in proactively beginning with the end in mind.  You can’t get to where you want to go if you are not deliberate about the steps you take.  This is why we make ourselves available to our dentists to lend our expertise to help them as they are planning their cases.  We ideally like to have a strategy conversation for each complex case we do to properly set the course for the case to get the outcome the patient is looking for.  Not all dentists are fluent with removable prosthetics for a multitude of reasons, so we do our best to educate them and walk with them through each case as they need us.

All-on-X Patient Information

As technology advances, we continue to evolve our products and add new options to our offerings.   While we have always specialized in implant supported restorations, we have more recently  incorporated the All-on-X® treatment option into our product offerings.  Traditionally, implant supported cases would need to be staged over a couple of years to allow time for healing. It was a long process for the patient.  But now with the All-on-X® treatment option, teeth can be immediately placed onto the implants day of surgery in most cases.  This means you never have to go a day without teeth!  With these cases, we fabricate a temporary set of teeth (implant supported hybrid bridge secured by implants), assist the surgeon chair side to custom fit this temporary set of teeth the day of surgery and then fabricate a final set of teeth (implant supported hybrid bridge secured with an implant bar).  It requires a great amount of detail and follow-through to orchestrate this treatment.  With over 1,500 happy patients to date, we have mastered this process.

To learn more about All-on-X click here.