Why Every Dental Lab Needs More Communication with Dentists
All dental lab technicians know they need months and months of training and practice to make lifelike prosthetic appliances patients are proud to wear. Most often enter the field already skilled in art and technology, and in the best dental lab tech programs they learn how to master the materials of the trade. When you become a dental lab technician, you’ll learn how work wonders with wax, ceramics, and metal, but you may not think of a fourth ingredient that can take dental prosthetics from good to great: communication.
The truth is, you can make the best crowns, veneers, and dentures out there, but if you’re not communicating properly with your dentist clients, your work will suffer. When the ultimate goal is to provide the patient with the best dental care as possible, the dentist/lab relationship becomes symbiotic, and effective communication is at the center. Here’s why.
Communication builds a better relationship
Communication is the foundation of a good relationship, and building a good relationship is the essence of being a successful professional. This couldn’t be more true for the dentist/dental lab technician relationship.
As a DLT, part of your job will be customer service. Not only are you responsible for creating a functional, beautiful prosthetic for a patient, you’re also catering to the needs of your customer, the dental practice. Establish expectations and communication standards with your dentists right off the bat. Since compatibility is so important, let them get to know you and your lab. If they know the ins and outs of your workflow and operation, they’ll be more comfortable giving you more work if the fit is right. Respond to requests as soon as possible. If you make a promise, follow through on schedule. Be proactive. Take responsibility for mistakes. Solid communication skills will take you far, and are even more critical if you want to open your own dental lab someday!
Related Resource: 7 Qualities Every Dental Lab Technician Needs
Communication for better patient care
There is a lot that goes into a great smile — color matching, precision, aesthetic detail. If communication between the DLT and dentist is broken or fractured, the patient’s dental appliance will suffer. Patients expect accurate, natural prostheses, and it’s up to the lab and dental practice to deliver a product that makes the patient happy and comfortable.
Remember too that good communication can make your work easier. It’s easier and faster to correct a contour or color while you still have the bridge or crown in the lab, whereas sending the piece back and forth cuts into your time and production output. In the past few years, there have been a multitude of new digital tools to help facilitate collaboration and reduce human error. While turning to technology can aid communication efforts, high-quality products start and end with teamwork.
Related Resources: A Day in the Life of a Dental Lab Technician
Communication builds respect
Knowing the communication preferences of your dentists will go a long way. Sometimes less is more, especially since some practices don’t want to be bothered more than they have to. On the flip side, some professionals appreciate frequent check-ins and want to know what’s going on. They want that one-on-one personal connection and are ecstatic when you remember birthdays or send them a personal note thanking them for the business. Every dentist is different, so paying attention to the small things like individual preferences shows that you value and respect the relationship.
Ameritech College of Healthcare is the only accredited dental lab technology program in Utah, and we work hard to prepare all of our DLT students to handle anything with professionalism, skill, and precision. Have any questions about our dental lab technician program? Don’t hesitate to contact us — we’d love to hear from you!