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Still Growing, California Laboratory Always Looking for Next Advantage
Premium materials and digital scan files help produce high-quality restorations
G&H Dental Arts, Inc. was built on the principles of service and consistent quality, so it should not be surprising that the company’s first customer is still a client today. G&H looks much different today, though, than it did when co-founders Glen Yamamoto, CDT, and Hiro Kuroda started it as a small laboratory in 1982 out of the spare room in Yamamoto’s parents’ house. With Yamamoto now serving as Owner and President, G&H operates four other facilities in Southern California and Las Vegas. G&H in Torrance, California, is a full-service laboratory offering a complete line of metal-free, crown-and-bridge, implant, and removable products and services. Most recently, G&H acquired Cushman/Buttress & Associates Dental Lab last year, and the company is open to acquiring additional laboratories in the future.
“Our company has been able to grow and be successful because of our continued dedication to service and quality,” says Brian Smith, Vice President – Marketing Development for G&H.
In its early years, G&H hired highly skilled technicians from Japan, many of whom are still with the company today. More recently, the company has utilized CAD/CAM technology to serve its clients even more effectively.
“Our CAD/CAM department is a true strength of our laboratory,” Smith says. “Our laboratory and our technicians embrace digital technology, and as a result, the knowledge that we bring to our customers is superior to most because we can make a product the way it was intended to be made. It is easy to simply design a restoration and mill it, but was it designed correctly? Was it milled correctly? Not enough people ask those questions. I am proud that we are one of the leading laboratories in that regard.”
Advances in digital technology also have helped G&H scale its operation. The company’s Advanced Cosmetic Team, made up of expert ceramists trained in cosmetic restorative techniques, is available for cases that demand premium esthetics, but CAD/CAM has helped raise the level of quality for more competitively priced restorations, as well.
“Highly skilled dental technicians are difficult to find, so being able to use technology to manufacture the same quantity without the dependency on human labor was a great opportunity for us,” Smith says.
After trying several materials, G&H identified LavaTM Plus High Translucency Zirconia from 3M as an exceptional material for fabricating esthetic restorations. The material combines superior esthetics with strength and an efficient sintering cycle.
“Our team of CAD/CAM technicians embraced it quickly and loved it,” Smith says. “It really enhanced their production capabilities and allowed us to make a beautiful product. The level of translucency that this material was engineered with is very impressive. The color accuracy is significant as well; being able to achieve an accurate shade without having to use much stain is very helpful.”
Lava Plus High Translucency Zirconia is available in 98-mm discs, another benefit.
“Having the material in disc form allows us to batch more units from each one, which results in a lower cost per unit,” Smith says.
Dentists throughout the country frequently request 3M Lava restorations for cases in which premium esthetics are of paramount importance, he adds.
“I have always referred to the Lava brand as the Mercedes-Benz of metal-free restorations,” Smith says. “It provides exceptional color and fit. Our technicians love stacking porcelain on it.”
In order to maximize the technicians’ abilities and the material’s characteristics, G&H encourages dentists to use the 3MTM True Definition Scanner. Because digital cases allow the laboratory to eliminate the cost of producing a model, G&H offers discounts to dentists who send their cases via a scanner.
“We prefer digital files over analog cases mainly because of the accuracy of the digital impression,” Smith says. “The dentist can see the preparations on a 22-inch monitor and make modifications to the preparation, scan the margin, and make sure it’s captured before sending to the laboratory. The files that we receive are crystal clear. We can start designing, manufacturing, and finishing the restoration in a matter of hours, not days.”
The 3M True Def System also offers the unique 3M Margin Marking Software, which allows technicians to wear 3D glasses to enhance the view of the margins.
“The margins are clear, and we feel comfortable working with the software and marking them,” Smith says.
Having an open system is important as well, as G&H deals with dentists all over the country who use various systems. 3M offers several unique propositions in this regard, including Trusted Connections, which allow True Def Scanner digital-impression files to be easily converted and imported into several popular CAD software programs.
“We look forward to even more Trusted Connections being added,” Smith says. “They allow us to focus on the details of the case, rather than expending effort on the information transfer.”
G&H plans to continue to be on the cutting edge as new advancements are made. While its first client is nearing retirement, many other longtime customers have become accustomed to G&H’s service and quality.
“We are always looking for ways to improve and offer a superior product for our customers,” Smith says.
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