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Inside Dental Technology
March 2023
Volume 14, Issue 3

Evolving Options

Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT |

As technology and material options evolve, it is increasingly important to commit to constant, lifelong learning to keep abreast of relevant advancements. Not all restorative materials are alike, and they each offer a unique set of attributes that could potentially provide best-in-class solutions for different cases. No two patients are alike, and therefore we must address each and every patient's restorative challenges and needs with consideration for all material options. This inquisitive and solution-oriented mindset, in my opinion, provides the greatest opportunities for the dental laboratory professional. Our clinical counterparts are focused on clinical matters, and material science is evolving so quickly and robustly that it can be difficult to keep up, which is where the opportunities for the dental laboratory truly reside. We, as a dental laboratory community, are experts in technology, esthetics, and material science, and should function with a consultative approach in order to become an integral part of the dental restorative team.

Ideally, all restorative cases should be evaluated and discussed with all members of the dental restorative team—general practitioner/prosthodontist, surgeon/orthodontist/endodontist, and dental laboratory technician—so a treatment protocol can be implemented based on the patient's physiology, function, and esthetic expectations. This approach will not only allow for a viable and long-lasting prosthesis, but will also create a more fruitful relationship between the dental clinician and the dental laboratory. Our cumulative restorative workflow decisions can drive outcomes proactively toward success, rather than reactively.

Furthermore, clinicians receive a tremendous value proposition if they can rely on their dental laboratory partners for support, acumen, insights, and expert perspectives about material options and the correct indications or counter-indications, because these are continuously evolving. In turn, that consultative positioning elevates the prominence of the dental laboratory within the restorative dental team, which breeds greater respect, more appreciation, and higher compensation due to the nature of service and the elevated value potential to the clinician and their patients.

In this issue, you can see how accomplished and knowledgeable dental laboratory professionals weigh the plethora of variables when discussing restorative material options. It is certainly a different approach from the traditional filling of a prescription, and one that surely yields great success for our clinical clients and ultimately their patients. The more we contribute to the successes of our clients in their restorative solutions, the more success for the laboratory will follow. I encourage all dental laboratory professionals to strive to attain great knowledge of restorative material options, so that you too can run your dental laboratory with this very rewarding and successful process.

It is my great pride and honor to elevate and inspire with knowledge.

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