One of the areas not often talked about in dentistry is the communication between dentists and lab technicians. This connection is vital not only for efficient workflow, but also for making sure patients receive the best treatment.

Let's examine the dynamics of this key relationship by addressing the top three breakdowns in communication.

Problem 1: Expect miracles and get upset when your technician cannot deliver. Why is this a common problem? Dentists can sometimes forget the talent and focus of technicians as they conduct their daily work. Many times those in the lab are not provided enough reduction of tooth structure or are given impressions that are difficult to read and improperly prepared margins.

What effect does this have on technicians? In some cases, this can cause technicians to compromise in certain areas, such as, substructure thickness, veneer thickness and even provide shades that may not be the best match.

It's essential to have an open dialogue with your technician so that he or she has the ability to call you and be honest about specific cases.

Problem 2: Treat your technician as a subordinate rather than an important member of your team. When countered with a differing opinion from technicians, dentists often become defensive talking about their own work. It’s crucial to realize that technicians can be important resources in the area of material selection and esthetic outcomes.

Dentists should make a point to involve technicians from the very beginning of the treatment planning process. Be open to suggestions for material selection, prep design, as well as, critique of the prepared case and impressions. When dentists and technicians work in tandem it yields better results for patients.

Problem 3: Expect your technician to rush every case. Make sure that you give technicians enough time to complete cases based on a realistic timeframe. Certain types of cases or materials take more time than others. Some esthetic cases may need additional attention and require a lengthier process.

Talk to your technicians; get to know their workflow. Find out how long it takes your technicians to perform different fabrication procedures. An open line of communication will ensure that both you and the technicians you work with provide the best treatment available to your patients.


Commenter's Profile Image Carlos Mas Bermejo
January 10th, 2013
This article describes a reality in terms of communication between dentist and technician. I agree with full article. Congratulations
Commenter's Profile Image Barry Polansky
January 10th, 2013
Nice blog post Martin. This is one of the most critical areas in dentistry. A great dentist - technician relationship one of the master keys to success. Your point #2 above is something that the profession must get rid of -- it's an old paradigm that doesn't exist anymore, especially with the newer technologies. That is the start...but really it is a matter of the dentist understanding his or her role---as the leader. And as the leader they have the responsibility to create treatment plans that make sense, and to provide the necessary information to the technician. As the leader, the dentist must have a practice that clearly and effectively communicates to the patients what the objectives are, how much the work will cost , the time involved. It is the dentist's responsibility to provide excellent provisionals---so there is no time time crunch. A book could be written on this subject---and should be-- because it reveals many of the problems inherent in the field. Barry Polansky