By Steven Pigliacelli, CDT
Communication is key to your relationship with a lab. Here is a list of questions to ask a prospective new laboratory prior to starting a business relationship. Narrowing the list to five questions was difficult, but as you will see, there are many additional questions within each category. While some of these questions may seem harsh, most labs will appreciate your honesty and direct approach toward forging a new relationship by addressing these issues up front.
1. “Do you use ADA-approved materials?“
This is important in that you want to make sure all materials the lab uses are manufactured by reputable companies. For example, some labs “brown bag” metal shot from a guy on the corner who makes his own copy of another manufacturer‘s alloy for a fraction of the cost. When you ask for a high-gold crown and the lab gives you an incredibly low price, you must question how this is possible. Quite often, nonprecious or other substitutes are used and passed off as the alloy of request to keep the costs down and increase profits. To ensure you are getting quality alloy, request
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the IdentAlloy® sticker from the manufacturer to be applied to all the invoices to certify what was used on the case.
In the case of brand name crowns,such as the many different zirconia crowns on the market,you want to know if the lab is an authorized lab for that product and if they are using genuine material for that product. For example, is that a genuine Procera crown or Lava crown, or is it an imitation zirconia crown that costs a fraction of the price but is being passed off as the real thing? Always remember if the lab is offering a product at a much lower price than every other lab for the same thing, chances are it isn’t the same thing. The number of authorized Captek™ labs in the country could not produce the number of crowns being sold as “Captek.” Many labs will just cast yellow gold copings, bake porcelain on it, and call it Captek. You have the ability to call any company and question whether that lab is an authorized user of that product.