It’s easy to forget that dentistry involves more than going to a dental clinic and having a particular issue fixed. People appreciate the importance of dentures and other such dental appliances without giving much thought to how and where they come from. Without a good facility like Burbank Dental Lab, many dentists would find it difficult to get many of the things needed to properly do their jobs.
What is a Dental Lab?
This is a place where many crucial dental necessities are produced. Things produced in a dental lab include dentures, implants, orthodontics, ceramics, and crowns, among others. Usually, a dental lab will get an order from a licensed dental practitioner like a dentist or orthodontist to make one of these items. This ensures that a patient gets exactly what’s suitable for their dental needs. While a dentist tends to get all the praise for their expertise in tooth restoration and other such treatments, dental labs act as the silent factories that produce the appliances needed to make that happen. Among the tools available to dental lab technicians is computer-assisted manufacturing (CAM), a technological advancement that ensures they can produce precision dental appliances.
Types of Dental Labs
Generally, dental labs are grouped according to the kind of dental appliances they produce. For instance, some specialize in producing only removable dentures. However, most of them manufacture fixed dentures as the main products, with some accompanying orthodontic appliances. Because most dental labs are private entities, they’re able to tailor their production according to customer needs. For instance, if a dental lab is located in an area where cosmetic dentistry has a high demand, they’ll likely produce the specific items required in many such procedures. Of course, dentists will usually place the order for such dental appliances.
The main types of dental labs are:
i)Big-Sized Dental Labs: These are big facilities whose production capacity can range anywhere between 10 000 and 20 000 porcelain teeth monthly. They can have as many as 200 people or more as part of their staff, usually working on different shifts 24 hours.
ii) Mid-Sized Dental Labs: These are smaller, typically producing less than 10 000 dental appliances a month. Their staff can range from between 50 and 150. Some have two shifts a day divided between all staff members.
iii) Small-Sized Dental Labs: These small facilities mostly cater to your local dentist’s clinic. Because of their small size, they tend to take on small orders from small dental clinics. With an average capacity of less than 2000 dental appliances produced monthly, they employ a small staff of fewer than 50 technicians.
Importance of Dental Labs
1)Production of the Right Dental Appliances
A dentist would have difficulty performing dental procedures with satisfactory results without the right appliances. For instance, a patient that comes in with a badly damaged tooth may need a dental implant. Without the right size, any other implant would produce continuous discomfort and other oral problems. Dental labs help to ensure that a dentist has the most appropriate dental appliances for each dental procedure.
2) Ensuring Good Aesthetics
The process of having an attractive smile begins in a dental lab. While a dentist usually hogs all the credit, dental lab technicians play a significant role. Many dental appliances are manufactured not only to look attractive but also to match a patient’s natural tooth color. For instance, if a dental crown is required for a damaged tooth that’s adjacent to other naturally tinted teeth, the dental lab technician can see to it that there is no color mismatch later on. They do this by producing a dental crown whose color blends seamlessly with the other teeth.
3) Advising Dental Practitioners
Unlike dentists and orthodontists, dental lab technicians have to stay abreast of all the latest developments regarding industry standards of dental appliances, the best materials, and all other such details. For instance, some individuals may not respond well to implants made of metals like silver. Depending on this and other such considerations, a dental lab technician can advise a dentist about the best option for such a patient, thereby ensuring a satisfactory outcome for the patient.
All the above roles played by a dental lab technician help a dentist to have better control over patient treatment.
The American Dental Association (ADA) is the organization responsible for overseeing that accepted dental practices are followed. This includes approving the kind of dental appliances manufactured including the materials used. By adhering to these standards, dental labs contribute to the general improvement of dental care provided to patients.