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Inside Dental Technology
January/February 2024
Volume 15, Issue 1

Technological Assessment

Where are you now and where will you be in the future?

Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT |

Happy New Year! In recent years, we've progressed by leaps and bounds in dental innovation with the help of digitization in workflows and manufacturing protocols, and we've witnessed growing efforts to provide best-in-class service and restorative excellence to our dentist clientele and their dental patients. Now, we are ushering in the next phase of technology and innovations—a phase that will focus on elevated value propositions and further use of the technology at our disposal—software, hardware, and materials. Most current technologies on the market have matured, and now there are significant efforts being made to find enhanced solutions and to think outside the box, thereby providing greater efficiencies, scalability, profitability, and more. A prudent dental laboratory owner and manager should assess all their technological capabilities. Are we using our technology to provide us with the greatest benefits?  Is there something else we can do with the technology on hand? For instance, could the laboratory offer new product solutions and thereby increase their revenue stream and the services available to their dentist clientele?

This type of technology assessment should be discussed with your team and/or decision-makers monthly so that you and your laboratory may reap the greatest benefits from the strategic investments you've made in your technology. If you are utilizing additive manufacturing but are only printing models, consider what else you might print to increase your offerings and create new streams of revenue. Perhaps you can print night guards, which have great potential for profitability. How about digital dentures, flippers, and surgical guides? If your laboratory does not offer these or similar offerings to your client base, one of two things is happening. Either they are sending the work to another laboratory, simply because they think you do not offer these services, or they themselves are not offering the services to their patients. Either way, beginning to offer expanded services is a win-win for all, but you must communicate your offerings to recapture the lost revenue from your regular clientele. Consider a splint or a night guard, as an example; if they do not offer these currently, perhaps facilitating these products will encourage your clientele to offer it to their patients, thereby increasing both of your earning potential while providing the patient with a better treatment protocol.

Furthermore, pay close attention to software capabilities and important updates, including AI. Everyone is focused on making things faster, better, and revenue positive. Keep an eye on these developments, because through technology we can do what we've always done, but better and faster, while maintaining greater scalability and profitability. AI is currently facilitating this and becoming more robust as new iterations arrive. The sole purpose of machine learning is efficiency, whereby the machine learns the best process to deploy for the best outcome. Use the power of technology, now and in the future, and learn how it could provide the greatest solutions.

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

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