Preparing the dental laboratory for demanding cases is the most effective way to ensure the success of your fabrications.

There may be several reasons as to why more complex cases are challenging – it might be due to difficulties communicating with the dental practice, or due to the intricacy of the case, whether its challenges be aesthetic or functional in nature. Your main aim is to satisfy your client through successful prostheses, and ensuring that your lab is prepared to face any demand is the first step to achieving this.

Communication between the dental lab and the dental practice is the best place to start when considering how you can best manage demanding cases, and ensure reliable outcomes.
It can be challenging to establish an effective relationship with the practice, but successful prostheses depend upon a collaborative effort between the two.

Miscommunication can be infuriating for both parties, as time and money must be spent remaking or readjusting restorations. Certain communicative methods may be more effective than others – for example, various studiesi ii have noted that work authorisation forms/lab dockets alone have several drawbacks, including a lack of visual interactivity and inadequate information. Digital communication, however, allows technicians and dentists to interact and transfer a greater amount of information faster, as well as make decisions quickly throughout the treatment process.
You should consider taking steps to establish an efficient communicative pathway between yourself and your client – you could discuss together your preferable mode of communication, whether that be email, Whatsapp or over the phone. If you have any queries, or require additional information, it can be easily obtained with minimal disruption to your workflow.

Prioritising training is vastly beneficial, regardless of your experience level. Acquiring further knowledge can help you keep up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques that are emerging in the field; plus, you’ll be able to continuously assess your strengths and weaknesses and discover ways to improve.

Undergoing additional training will also help you to handle complex cases more confidently, as well as expand the capabilities of your laboratory. There are many training pathways that you could take, such as workshops, webinars and hands-on courses.

Once you’ve gained skills in new materials and technologies, you’ll be able to build a comprehensive portfolio and it may even help you to introduce new equipment into the laboratory.

Digital technology has aided dental professionals in delivering excellent care to patients with higher-quality solutions and more controllable outcomes. A surveyiii was conducted to ascertain dental technicians’ use of digital technology: it was found that whilst the majority of dental technicians who participated did employ some form of CAD/CAM in their workflow, high initial costs were noted as the most common reason for non-users. All dental professionals should certainly be mindful when deliberating on whether to go digital. However, digital technologies are an investment, so you should consider how you, your team and your clients will benefit in the long-run.

Research has shown that digital technologies can help to lower the overall laboratory time,iv v vi which in turn will help streamline the workflow between the lab and the practice. The use of 3D printing for dental protheses, for example, has been shown to be reasonably cost-effective, with the potential to streamline and modernise the dental fabrication workflow.vii The implementation of digital technology will be especially beneficial when dealing with complex cases; as well as improving accuracy and speed during design and production, digital technology has made sharing information much simpler, whether that be through photography, email, digital models or collaborative software.

The tools of the trade

The success of prostheses can also depend on the products you use in their production, especially for demanding cases. You’ll want to be conscious about the practicality of the products and components that you use – can they fit seamlessly into your workflow? Are they compatible with other products that you use? Do they facilitate a smooth restorative process for the dentist and patient?

The innovative Angulated Screw Channel (ASC) Flex from Medentika®, a Straumann Group brand, has been designed with demanding prosthetic cases in mind. The angled screw channel permits angulation of up to 25º, allowing for impressive restorative accessibility. The varying chimney heights, which reach from 6.5mm down to 3.5mm, allow you to adapt to the situation. Additionally, with an optimised emergence profile, the soft tissue can be supported and protected for clinical outcomes your clients and their patients will appreciate.
To ensure that complex restorative cases are successful, effective communication between dental technicians and dentists should be maintained. Plus, ongoing training and the adoption of digital technology should be considered, to better prepare the dental laboratory and ensure that the prostheses fabricated are accurate, aesthetic and durable.
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i Y, Cheikh, et al. “Study of Effective Dentists Communication with Laboratory Technicians in Removable Partial Prosthesis.” International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research and Engineering. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.
ii “Quality of Communication between Dentists and Dental Technicians for Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics.” King Saud University Journal of Dental Sciences. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.
iii Blackwell, E., et al. “Survey on the Use of CAD-CAM Technology by UK and Irish Dental Technicians.” British Dental Journal. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.
iv Mühlemann, Sven, et al. “Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Digital and Conventional Workflows for the Fabrication of Zirconia-Ceramic Posterior Fixed Partial Dentures. Part II: Time Efficiency of CAD-CAM versus Conventional Laboratory Procedures.” The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.
v Mühlemann, Sven, et al. “Is the Use of Digital Technologies for the Fabrication of Implant-Supported Reconstructions More Efficient And/or More Effective than Conventional Techniques: A Systematic Review.” Clinical Oral Implants Research. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.
vi Pavlova, Diana, et al. “Investigation of the Dental Technicians’ Readiness to Manufacture Dental Prostheses Using Digital Technologies.” Scripta Scientifica Medicinae Dentalis. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.
vii Anadioti, Eva, et al. “3D Printed Complete Removable Dental Prostheses: A Narrative Review.” BMC Oral Health. Accessed 7 Dec. 21.

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