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Is this the next Generation Zirconia: Results, Part 2

This may look like an ad, but it really isn’t. We are all simply very excited about a company that promised both strength and esthetics in zirconia, and delivered what they promised. So, read on, and if you agree, you’ll have a new tool to help your practice, your lab, and your patients. And one more thing. The company, Nacera US, is the only company helping private practitioners and dental labs become more competitive. To us, that is important.

A few months ago, a new zirconia from Germany came our way for testing called, Nacera. This is an update to an article we published last month on the experience of two lab members. We pointed out that Nacera claimed to be a higher grade of 1400 MPa zirconia purity with more translucency and improved esthetics. We determined after a few months of testing that the esthetics was better than any 1400 MPa full contour zirconia we had seen, with the potential to rival lithium disilicate, but stronger. In the photo below, you can see the unusual vitality that this full strength zirconia provides.

Roberto U Molar


There are two molars in this photo, one a finished full contour zirconia, the other, a newly sintered full contour zirconia. All samples in the photo are Nacera zirconia. The finished Nacera molar, provided by Roberto Rossi, MDT, was only lightly stained.

OPT-In lab members working with Nacera have commented on the improved margin accuracy and how true the shades are. That is not the case for all zirconia brands. Another aspect of Nacera zirconia is purity. Some brands have impurities that form pits on the surface during finishing, and also risk areas of weakness, internally. Other brands are naturally weaker and unpredictable because of faster and less thorough compression during compaction. We know better about Nacera.

To see a short video about Nacera manufacturing, click the below. When it ends, click it off or it will continue to other topics.

Nacera Video

This month, we visited the Nacera factory in Dortmund, Germany. The parent company, Doceram, is actually an industrial engineering company that routinely designs parts to meet sub micron tolerances. They then manufacture parts in zirconia  and test them to make certain those same tolerances have been met. This same precision approach is applied to dental zirconia, with constant testing and measuring. In fact, they test each zirconia batch, individually, and then measure each separate individual zirconia disc prior to packaging, printing the measurements on the label. Nothing is left to chance.

Visit Nacera US at Chicago Lab Day, Booth L-22

For information on Free Hands-on and Lectures, visit

Nacera US

The one word that kept surfacing during our visit was, Certainty. Dentists can now offer patients both strength and esthetics without paying more. However, if the need arises, a Certified Nacera Lab can also deliver the highest level esthetics when only veneered zirconia will meet a patient’s needs.

Ant Germano Rossi

Germano Rossi produced these outstanding results by veneering Nacera zirconia copings  with ceraMotion® (Dentaurum). CeraMotion® is used as a very thin, colored paste with a built-in glaze. When applied, it stays in place and finishes with only one bake. The thickness of the veneered surfaces are 1 mm or less.

Nacera US is a dental company. Dedicated to patients, dentists, and dental labs, Nacera US offers “best products” suitable for all dentists and dental labs who care about dentistry, regardless of the markets and patient budgets they serve.

We tested it, in fact, our lab members and their dentists are testing it daily. They, also, have come to the conclusion that What’s Inside Matters. That’s why OPT-In is proud to be a Nacera partner.

If you would like to try Nacera for your patients, contact us for a Certified Nacera Lab referral that fits your practice. Each was trained in November in how to consistently obtain the very most from Nacera. Having Certainty is always good. Having Nacera Inside takes Certainty to a higher level.

Almost forgot…the pink in the bottom photo, that too is Nacera!

Visit Nacera US for more information

Contact OPT-In for a Nacera Certified Lab

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OPT-In Tests a New Zirconia: The Results

A few months ago a new zirconia from Germany came our way for testing. It claimed to be a higher grade of 1400 MPa purity with more translucency and improved esthetics. Sound too good to be true? We thought so, however, after a few months of testing, we became believers.

Doceram Medical provided a couple of our labs with various samples of Nacera® zirconia, including Pearl 1 (white), and various value shades capable of reproducing 16 vita classic shades. After making the necessary adjustments to sintering and glazing times and temperatures, the results were in, all exceptionally positive. Nacera® zirconia was kinder to milling burs (lasted up to 15% longer), milled more precisely and smoothly, had less shrinkage variations (each lot/batch has its own shrinkage factor), and was more translucent than other high strength zirconia.

OPT-In member, Dennis King, CDT, has used the full line of Nacera® zirconia, including the multi shade pucks that come in A, B, C, and D shades. He has successfully provided several large full mouth cases of full contour Nacera® restorations that included anteriors, one case for a dentist’s wife. Dennis noticed that Nacera® mills far easier than e.max® and other zirconia, and that his burs have been lasting longer. He also stated that fit is consistently better due to more predictable shrinkage and smoother milling. With his successes fully documented, other OPT-In lab members have also commented positively on the same points.

Top photo of Nacera® Pearl 1.5 (A2), with  ceraMotion®, is courtesy of Master ceramist, Roberto Rossi, MDT, who has echoed Dennis’ comments. In a month of testing several different pucks and ceramMotion® (Dentaurum), Roberto noticed more translucency without sacrificing higher strength, better margins with less effort, and predictably better esthetics when compared to competing products. Of particular note, single-step stain & glaze ceraMotion®, distributed by Nacera US, not only improved esthetics, it saved time by requiring only a single stain & glaze bake.

Doceram Medical is establishing the Nacera® brand through a new US subsidiary, Nacera US. OPT-In members are excited about working with Nacera US through a special pricing program, exclusive for OPT-In members. Additionally, the Dental Lab Group, in Staten Island, will provide special Nacera®  outsource pricing [only] for those members without milling machines, as well as for custom milled titanium abutments.

Nacera US will be at booth L-22, Lab Day, Chicago, and provide continuous seminars in a private suite. Guests at the suite will enjoy food and beverages, and be able to test stain & glaze the new ceramMotion®  on samples of Nacera® zirconia. Roberto Rossi, and others, will be guest lecturers and guiding hands-on experiences. Nacera US has also promised important announcements in February, including the launching of their new website. For inquiries and more information about the entire line of Nacera® products, visit: Doceram Medical. For immediate questions, or to register for courses in Chicago, please call Nacera US at, 215-345-5283.

etched porcelain

All-ceramics and Self-adhesive Cements: Is it a Good Idea?

In spite of the inherent brittleness and limited flexural strength of silica-based ceramics, final adhesive cementation with composite resin increases the fracture resistance of the ceramic restoration and the abutment tooth.

Bonding to silicate-based ceramics is usually obtained by two simultaneous mechanisms: 1) micromechanical retention provided by acid-etching of the ceramic surface, and 2) chemical coupling by the application of a silane coupling agent.

During acid etching (above photo, left), the hydrofluoric (HF) acid reacts with the glassy matrix that contains silica, dissolving the surface to the depth of a few microns. This glassy matrix is selectively removed and the crystalline structure is exposed. The silane coupling agent presents bifunctional characteristics, promoting a chemical interaction between the silica in the glass phase of ceramics and the methacrylate groups of the resin through siloxane bonds.

It has been demonstrated that silane primers may confer a resistance to the degradation of the ceramic-resin bond exposed to moisture and intraoral thermal changes. Etching and silanization increase the surface energy and the wettability of the ceramic substrate.

RelyX™ Unicem can achieve high or comparable bond strength to other investigated cements without any pretreatment steps such as etching, priming or bonding. However, other studies observed higher shear bond strength values after etching with HF acid and silanized. In a study by Kumbuloglu et al. RelyX™ Unicem showed lower shear bond strengths than the other resin cements investigated when no pretreatment of the ceramic surface was performed. In the study by Reich et al., only the RelyX™ Unicem, in contrast to Variolink (Ivoclar, Vivadent) and Calibra (DeTrey Dentsply, Konstanz, Germany), was able to survive the whole thermocycling procedure in the case of no pretreatment. This indicates that besides mechanical interlocking, additional bonding mechanisms with RelyX™ Unicem to the ceramic surface are possible.

The specific phosphoric acid methacrylates have the ability to provide physical interactions with the ceramic surface and are able to provide strong hydrogen bonding with hydroxyl groups present on the ceramic surface.  An increase in the bond strength after pretreatment with hydrofluoric acid and silane was also observed. This is in agreement with the study by Piwowarczyk  who reported that, in comparison with 10 cements from different classes, only RelyX™ Unicem exhibited high shear bond strength after 14 days of water storage followed by thermal cycling. In the same study, it was reported that the light polymerization of the self-adhesive resin cements enhances shear-bond strength when compared to auto polymerization.

The above doesn’t take into account, self-adhesive bonding to dentin and enamel. That is a related, but a separate consideration.

 

Zirconia, Cleaning Contaminates: What Works?

As most of us know, zirconia crowns and bridges are healthy, esthetic, and nearly indestructible. However, in certain conditions, long term cement retention can be unpredictable. This is especially true if the internal surfaces have been exposed to saliva. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about the best ways to eliminate contamination. Below, we try to bring more clarity to this topic.

Aladag, et al conducted research to determine the effect of saliva on the cementing surface of untreated zirconia. They reported that different cleaning methods, water spray, sodium hypochlorite, or Ivoclean® produced few improvements to bond strengths. The first point to note is that in this investigation, the tested zirconia surface was not air abraded.

Tunc’s team obtained different results from Aladag’s. Their research included Ivoclean, phosphoric acid, alcohol , water rinsing, steam cleaned, and air abrasion (after) saliva contamination. Their findings proved air abrasion to be best followed closely by Ivoclean. But that doesn’t answer the question about saliva contamination after zirconia has been air abraded.

Wille’s prosthodontic team from Germany tested the affect saliva has on zirconia surfaces that have been air abraded prior to contamination. Their testing included silicone disclosing agents, GC Fit Checker white or GC Fit Checker II for checking the fit of zirconia copings. Uncontaminated zirconia surfaces used as controls were compared to contaminated copings cleaned with “…water spray or ultrasonically in 99% isopropanol or using a newly developed cleaning paste (Ivoclean® from Ivoclar) .” Their findings showed that using a secondary application of isopropanol increased reduction of carbon residuals on the zirconia surfaces, more so than did an additional application of Ivoclean. However, none of the cleaning agents or additional applications removed all the silicone contaminants. This could be due to air abrasion increasing retention of the contaminants.

Feitosa’s group also looked at saliva contamination, but included the effects of aging on resin bond strengths. Their investigation included “one hundred and eighty zirconia specimens sandblasted with 50 μm aluminum oxide particles, immersed in saliva for one minute (with the exception of the control group, [C]), and divided into groups according to the cleansing method, as follows: water rinse (W); 37% phosphoric acid gel (PA); cleaning paste (ie, Ivoclean®) containing mainly zirconium oxide (IC); and 70% isopropanol (AL).” Resin SBS was evaluated “…after 24 hours, 5000 thermal cycles (TC), or 150 days of water storage.” The results”…showed that PA < AL and W < IC and C. SBS ranged from 10.4 to 21.9 MPa (24 hours), from 6.4 to 14.8 MPa (TC), and from 2.9 to 7.0 MPa (150 days). Failure analysis revealed a greater percentage of mixed failures for the majority of the specimens and a smaller percentage of adhesive failures at the ceramic-resin cement interface,” and that Ivoclean® was able to sufficiently clean saliva contaminated zirconia surfaces to maintain acceptable long term bond strengths.

Kim, et al’s research, in 2015, also examined saliva contamination of air abraded zirconia surfaces. Their testing included cleaning with “…water-spray rinsing (WS), additional air abrasion (AA), and cleaning with four solutions (Ivoclean® [IC]; 1.0 wt% sodium dodecyl sulfate [SDS], 1.0 wt% hydrogen peroxide [HP], and 1.0 wt% sodium hypochlorite [SHC].” A sample with no contamination (NC) was used as the control. Each zirconia sample was bonded to resin with Panavia F 2.0 prior to aging with 5000 thermocycles. Their results showed “…groups NC, AA, IC, and SHC had hydrophilic surfaces. Groups IC and SHC showed statistically similar bond strengths to groups NC and AA (P>.05), but not groups SDS and HP (P<.05). For groups WS, SDS, and HP, blister-like bubble formations were observed on the surfaces under SEM. Test results reiterated the cleaning effectiveness of Ivoclean®, and also supported the use of sodium 1.0 wt% hypochlorite.

Dentists Feeling Global Slowdown: What’s it Mean?

Thanks to falling oil prices and increased employment, consumer confidence is improved and pent up demand is in bloom. They have also adapted to a new socio economic normal: economic stability with less income. Unfortunately, in 2014 the middle class earned 4% less than in 2000 (Pew), and fell from 61% of earners in 1971 to 50% in 2015. Similarly, the US Census Bureau reported that median income fell 9% from 2007 to 2014. That means, heading into 2016, confident consumers may be working their way up from negative territory. But, there’s more to this story.

As a risky undercurrent to consumer confidence, the economic pullback in China has led US manufacturing and exports to contract, other economies to slow, and raised fears of a new global recession. While the US economy is believed to be less affected than others, the now stronger dollar is impeding exports and causing some to wonder if layoffs are far behind? While there is little belief the US is on the brink of another recession, there is plenty of disagreement about the economic strength of 2016 going forward.

The New Consumer

The recent recession shaped consumer attitudes and habits into a new normal: “If my income is flat or less, then what I pay must be flat or less.” With support from the digital age, price conscious consumers expect and demand discounts in everything they buy. Moreover, with the internet, consumers are faster, better, and more efficient at finding value, making most everything a commodity.

The new normal caused 2015 retail sales to drop 8%, and prices to fall 2.9% from 2014 levels (Bureau of Economic Analysis). Additionally, mid priced retail stores are losing sales to “off-pricers,” such as Kohls and Marshalls.  Meanwhile, “fast design,” high production, low cost chains such as H&M and Forever 21 are expanding. Is dentistry seeing the same price pressures? This past Christmas, online shopping grew 20% while retail bricks and mortar sales fell 10%. In response, Macy’s will close 40 stores in 2016, and open 6 new low cost discount stores. Radio Shack, Staples, and Sears/KMart are closing a combined 1,800+ locations. Yes, in some ways, this is very similar to what we are seeing in dentistry: changes driven by consumers are forcing retailers to change or close.

Impacting Dentistry

Today, new technology provides consumers with consistently higher quality, mass produced (non distinct) products at lower costs. While we see this kind of innovative technology aiding dental labs, commoditized private practice dentists continue to operate without cost-saving scalability. Meanwhile, consumers often tell dentists the very same things they tell retailers: “Yes, expensive is nice, I would like it but I don’t need it, can’t afford it, and I’m not going to pay for it.” For many, dentistry has become a reluctant victim of consumerism’s commoditization.

The market, in general, isn’t as wealthy as it once was and doesn’t see dentists as it once did. Because the market is always 100% correct, dentists and lab owners need to see themselves as their markets see them and either provide what their markets want, or together, convince consumers they need and deserve better. That means, some dentists and lab owners might need to adjust their approach to how they deliver services and set fees. But remember, people pay for what they want. Dentists and their labs can provide what many consumers want, commodity care at a lower cost, or, help them to want something better. It’s entirely up to the professional team.

With pressures never before experienced, dentists, lab owners, manufacturers, and distributors need to look at new ways of collaborating and working together. To help, OPT-In is leading the way in building an alliance community of stakeholders. Nacera US, known for its high quality zirconia products, was first to provide financial support for the OPT-In national public relations campaign supporting private practice. We invite all dentists, laboratory owners, manufacturers, and distributors to contact us and participate.

Assessing Implant Torque Device Reliability

Does Steam Sterilization affect Accuracy of Spring- style Implant Torque Devices?

When accounting for complications over a 5 year span, Mashid et al reported that “screw loosening has been stated as the most common complication in implant” dentistry. One leading cause could be torque driver reliability.

Torque drivers include “toggle-type or friction-style,” and “beam-type or spring-style.” Many believe spring-style offer more accuracy even though accuracy becomes suspect after steam sterilization. To test the effects of steam sterilization, Mashid’s team tested 5 each from Nobel Biocare, Straumann [ITI, photo at top], and Biomet 3i [3i]). The “peak torque” of each was measured before and after steam sterilization.

Materials and Methods

All devices were tested ten times at 35 Ncm prior to steam sterilization. Sterilization of each was managed according to manufacturer directions: “Nobel Biocare devices should be dismantled for disinfection, cleaning and drying and then the parts should be assembled before sterilization. In the ITI group, dismantling of devices is proposed. Each component should be disinfected, cleaned, and dried, but sterilized separately. For 3i samples, dismantling of the device is not proposed and disinfection of the outer surface is the only protocol to be considered.” The recommended protocols and sterilizations were repeated 100 times at 134°C for 18 min, and then measured 10 times for torque accuracy.

Results

Before steam sterilization, all the tested devices stayed within 10% of their targeted torque values. After 100 sterilization cycles, there were no significant difference in the Nobel Biocare and ITI devices. There was, however, an increase of error values in the 3i group, which showed more than a 10% difference with a maximum difference of 14% in 17% of torque measurements. The authors also reported that 3i torque devices had developed “corrosion of the spring in the handle” that may have contributed to its inaccuracy.

Different research by Santos et al, tested Biomet 3i, Nobel Biocare, Straumann, and Conexao at 20 Ncm and reported 62.5% were within 10% of the tested value. However, when tested at a 32 Ncm target, “only 33.3% of all values from each manufacturer were considered accurate,” with ITI being the most consistent in accuracy for both values. During the Santos testing, each torque device had been in clinical use for less than 2 years. With the amount of use and “sterilization protocols” unknown, their findings might better reflect the real world of clinical dentistry than would a highly controlled, laboratory testing protocol. The reports reinforce the need for manufacturer recalibration with frequency matched to use.

implant screws

Preventing Implant Screw Loosening

Screw Loosening, a Frequent Problem?

Implant screw loosening is a major concern for both dentists and dental technicians. Unfortunately, the literature indicates it is a frequent problem, with loosening rates as high as 12.5%. Today, there are new ways to decrease its frequency.

Forces keeping screws tight include the “friction between the threads, between the head of the screw and the abutment, and between the implant and the abutment. The force that clamps two screw-tightened components together is called the preload and it depends on the composition of the materials, the texture of their surface and their degree of lubrication.”

Some screws have special surface treatments that “reduce the friction coefficient” and increase the preload to keep screws tighter, longer. One example is TorqTite® (Nobel Biocare Holding AG, Balsberg, Kloten, Switzerland), which uses a “diamond-like, carbon” lubricant.

Using the two types of screws described above, Saliba et al, tested the amount of torque required for screw removal that would simulate how and why an entire implant system would loosen, clinically.

Materials and Methods

Testing was performed on 20 Neodent titanium implants (Osteointegráveis, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil), with 4.1 platforms, similar to the original Branemark design. Their hexagon bases were removed so abutments could be “rotated on the implant platform during the loosening of the fixation screw.”

Ten relied on an abutment held to the implant with non treated M2.0 titanium screws (Neodent). A different set of ten screws were covered with TorqTite® (Nobel Biocare). “The abutment was attached with a screw, first using a hexagonal 1.2 mm digital wrench (Neodent), followed by tightening with a prosthetic ratchet torque wrench (Neodent) to a torque of 32 Ncm.” Then, the screws were unthreaded to record the highest torque values “required to completely loosen the abutment.”

Results

Titanium screws covered with solid lubricants performed better than plain titanium screws in maintaining the prosthetic implant-abutment junction. The results showed that their unscrewing torque value was higher than the torque applied during seating.

Implant screw chart

Which Screw to Use

Which type of screw, titanium or gold, is another variable worth exploring. In trying to better address loosening, Farina, et al compared gold and titanium screws. Testing for loosening values after simulated mastication included 20 dentures with eight different groups representing passive and vertical misfits with gold or titanium screws. Their results were based on “(1) 6 months of use, torque loosening, re tightening, another 6 months of use, and loosening torque; and (2) 1 year of use followed by loosening torque.”

Their research findings concluded, “After 6 months and another 6 months of clinical use simulation, titanium screws showed higher loosening torque values than did gold screws for the same fit level (P <.05). After 1 year of clinical use simulation, titanium and gold screws in passively fit dentures showed higher loosening torque values than they did in misfit dentures (P <.05). The titanium screws presented a decrease in the loosening torque after 1 year in misfit dentures.”

Above chart and image at top of page:

Biomechanical considerations for the screw of implant prosthesis: A literature review; J Korean Acad Prosthodont. 2010 Jan;48(1):61-68. Korean; Authors, So-Min Im, et al

hand in dominoes

Private Practitioners Raising the Competitive Bar, Changing the Trends

National Public Relations Campaign Underway

Thousands of consumers are selecting a new dentist each day. Because they can’t measure quality, their decisions are based on hopeful trust. Because consumers are often drawn to brands, private practices with weak brand presence are losing patients to large regional brands, representing more than $100,000 in lost revenues, annual . In response, a public relations campaign is being launched to help private practices compete more effectively.

Developing the Consumer Message

The first ever, Private Practice, national public relations strategy session took place on November 12, at the corporate headquarters of Braithwaite Communications. The three hour meeting, sponsored by OPT-In Dental Advantage, identified consumer concerns, why they exist, dental industry strengths and weaknesses, and storylines to be used. At the start, efforts were made to keep all messages positive. However, after sharing their own negative dental experiences, the Braithwaite team decided that too many bad things are happening too often, and that consumers need to be made aware of not just what to look for, but also, what to avoid. The discussion topics included potential advantages and disadvantages of different practice models and philosophies, insurance transgressions and competitive opportunities, and new structures to promote OPT-In member labs’ and dentists’ strengths over competitors’ weaknesses.

An Industry-wide Challenge

By the end of the meeting, enough storylines had been identified to keep the public relations campaign rolling for several months. In the meantime, OPT-In Dental Advantage members have received financial support from manufacturers, distributors. OPT-In dental laboratory members are playing a key role,  and are also earning manufacturer support, with many seeking ways to address the same problems. Dental laboratory owners are essentially in the same boat, in that, what happens to private practitioners happens to dental labs. Currently, OPT-In laboratory members, listed here, are the only dental laboratories investing in their private practice customers.

Storytelling, an Important Advantage

Braithwaite will be weaving stories for release through major news outlets that will help consumers understand the importance of seeking dental care in trustworthy settings. The importance of storytelling was highlighted in an article published in the Harvard Business Review, online. In the article, Keith Quesenberry, a researcher at Johns Hopkins, states, “People are attracted to stories because we’re social creatures and we relate to other people.” The article also points out, stories can open doors to emotional decisions that are closed to cold facts. We can use “data” to influence thought, “but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul,” states author, Harrison Monarth. The team at Braithwaite will be providing this expertise through national outlets such as, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

An Industry Working Together

Time is of the essence. With the number of non Medicaid dental patients remaining flat, revenues lost to competitors, and patient loyalty, are difficult, even impossible to regain. Additionally, patients need to be educated about the real cost of insurance company tactics to deny care and benefits. Addressing these issues, the OPT-In national public relations campaign is being launched because enough dentists and lab owners made it possible. Through broader cooperation, manufacturers, distributors, dental technicians, and dentists could accomplish even more, faster.

For more information, visit our website, OPT-In Companies, or call, 855-321-OPTN (6786).

branding

How to Brand Your Uniqueness

What is brand power?

Apple iPhones sell like crazy. In fact, the Apple brand has created a community of users that is the envy of major companies around the world. Why is that? Their phones aren’t actually better than others.

Apple stands for something, a purpose that generates raving fans, while competitors just make cell phones. That’s brand power. Whatever dentists see and believe about you is your brand. It tells your market what you stand for, what you believe, and how you should be perceived. It also tells them what to expect from you. Your brand, just like Apple’s, should set you apart from others who do what you do. For the most part, your local competitors market themselves as being identical to you, a dental lab. Your brand should sell your uniqueness.

But I have a logo!
Many believe a brand is a logo, but a logo is only a graphic representation of your brand. In fact, some branding professionals believe logos are overrated. This is especially true when they don’t project an “image” expressing a story. When used properly, C. Whan Park, director of the global branding center at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, points out they can be effectively used by emboldening their name – IBM, presenting a friendly image – the duck from AFLAC, or simply provide a meaningful visual, such as used by Apple – a bite from the Apple (maybe that fell on Newton’s head to spawn ideas). However, Park cautions, “We also do not suggest that brand logos themselves automatically create meaningful positive associations between a brand and consumers.” Very often, the logo needs to be reinforced with a clever tagline and advertising to provide more meaning.

How do I create a great brand?
What would your customers say about you? Would it be a generic answer, or, would they be a raving fan? “Oh, my lab does decent work,” doesn’t describe a brand. A better response would be “My lab work always falls right in. That saves time and makes for happy patients. I always feel that they really care about my practice and prevent problems. I thoroughly trust them when they give advice.” After you identify your brand attributes, identify every dentist contact point, and make sure your strengths are creating customer experiences.

Another aspect of establishing a brand is having an area of expertise that targets a specific market. For example, if you want to attract implant cases, focus on disseminating new implant research and product information that solves problems. Theodore Levitt, a former Harvard marketing professor once wrote, “People don’t want a ¼” drill, what they really want is a ¼” hole.” Focus on being an expert in offering what your customers really want, and then package it in your branding message.

How important is branding online?
Neilson research indicates 61% of consumers will search online for services. According to branding expert, Debbie LaChusa, visitors to your website “…don’t have the opportunity to come into your place of business, meet you, and experience your business environment and personality in person.” Your website provides a first impression and should separate you from other labs. To make a good first impression and establish trust, graphic design, photos, and content need to immediately connect with a visitor’s concerns. The ability to quickly and effectively tell your story often requires the help of experts. They don’t make crowns, and most of us make lousy graphic artists.

Summary

Take the time to identify your strengths and target market. Then, create a brand message that resonates with the dentists you are trying to attract. Work with your team to incorporate outstanding brand experiences into every touch point. Your customers will trust you, become raving fans, and spread the word.

passing-the-baton

Become More Competitive

Understanding the Real Competition

Your customers are facing stark and increasing challenges. Understanding them and how to help will better prepare and position your lab for this new environment and the future.

 Dentists Compete with a Triad of Insurance Companies, Dental Chains and Unethical Offices

Three Challenges facing private practitioners and what to do about them.

Challenge #1

Insurance companies have lumped dentists together in nondescript lists for consumers to choose from. Consumers think all dentists are the same and should charge the same low price set by insurance. How will your customers convince patients to trust them, more, and their insurance company, less?

Challenge #2

Branded large dental chains are stealing about $150,000 in revenues from each private practice (and your lab), annually. How will your customers attract new patients to their practices instead of losing them to better branded competitors?

Challenge #3

It has been alleged that patients are being deliberately mislead, daily in the name of better deals. But nobody is telling patients what to look out for. How can your customers help consumers understand why their practices are different and trustworthy?

 Be Noticed for the Right Reasons

The Triad influences consumer attitudes on a large scale, tells consumers what they want to hear, and makes your customers (and you) pay for it. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Triad survives for two reasons: uneducated consumers and, unorganized dentists incapable of educating them.

OPT-in Dental Advantage is helping private practice dentists be noticed for the right reasons. We are educating consumers, daily, about the value of ethical private practices, the important role of the dental lab, and the potential risks of misplacing their trust.

We separate ourselves as being trustworthy because our members vow not to Break Laws:

  • Running sham practice ownership schemes.
  • Using non dentists to design treatment plans directly or indirectly.
  • Diagnosing conditions that don’t exist.
  • Performing unneeded treatments.

We also educate consumers about routine violation of:

  • State insurance codes and good faith statutes
  • Professional Ethics and to look out for sub standard care

 Because Nobody is Forcing the Issue,

The Public is at Risk, and not being Protected

If you want to win a battle fought in the desert,

Take away the enemy’s water supply.

 

How should you respond?
The public is loath to have their trust violated. With OPT-In Dental Advantage and our national public relations campaign promoting private practice, your customers will be noticed for the right reasons, help educate consumers, and make breaking the law less profitable.

For more information about how OPT-in labs are changing the market and, how you can get involved, visit optincompanies.com, and, visit our consumer website, optindentaladvantage.com. While you’re there, look into joining OPT-In Dental Laboratory Cooperative. We are saving our members money each month, helping them grow their businesses, and helping their dentists save money and grow their practices.

There’s never been a better time to work together to make the world of dentistry a better place for everyone. Contact us at info@optindentallab.com, or call us at 855-321-OPTN (6786).