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Posted by: The Probe 5th November 2018
It goes without saying that both private and NHS dentists need to collaborate with a laboratory that suits their style of work. However, due to the often demanding nature of NHS dentistry, if your practice offers these services you need to ensure that your lab is giving you the best support possible.
Throughout the last couple of years it has been recorded that over half the English population sought NHS dental care, and this number is likely to keep increasing as more people seek an affordable solution to their problems.[i]Therefore, it’s a good idea to assess the laboratory you work and see how it compares with others in case you can make a switch to one that is more beneficial to you.
As with many things in life, quality is the key for successful dental prostheses and restorations. After all, even if your current laboratory offers fantastic prices and fast deliveries, if they can’t provide you with good quality products your services will suffer. High quality restorations mean precision of fit first time and fewer re-makes, giving you peace of mind that you can achieve consistent treatment results.
One way to ensure your laboratory is offering the high quality you require is to check whether they are registered with the Dental Appliance Manufacturers Audit Scheme (DAMAS). DAMAS is a quality management system that ensures laboratories are functioning within legal guidelines as well as providing quality products. This registration is annually reviewed and is therefore a good indicator of a laboratory’s current and on-going abilities.
Working with technicians who can communicate with you effectively is vital in order to ensure that your patients receive efficient quality care. Are the technicians you work with readily available? Do they give you the information you need, when you need it? It’s important to be able to contact the laboratory easily in case anything needs to be addressed immediately, and this also encourages faster turnaround times as any issues or additional needs can be sorted directly. If your laboratory is often difficult to speak to or cannot give you pertinent information easily, this could be hindering the service you offer your patients.
By contacting or visiting alternative laboratories you can get a feel for how efficient their communication is and whether their technicians can give you the information you require. This also gives you an opportunity to explore what technology these potential laboratories have available in order to assess whether they can effectively communicate with the systems that you have in place in your practice. You can also see if they offer the relevant materials for NHS restorations and see the quality of product they deliver.
Value for money
When providing NHS services it’s always a good idea to ensure that your laboratory is offering you a competitive price per unit. Of course, price comes secondary to quality, but by calling around and finding out prices from multiple labs you can see how yours compares. This is a good opportunity to explore whether you can benefit from lower costs without having to compromise on quality.
Furthermore, it’s also worthwhile to see what additional benefits laboratories can provide, as some will offer perks which your current laboratory may not such as free postage or even corporate accounts for larger practices. This added value can make a huge difference in helping to keep costs down without compromising on quality, all the while ensuring that you receive a speedy, effective service.
A trusted track record
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to evaluate whether your laboratory is the correct choice for you is by comparing it with others via reviews. Many practices review their laboratories online and these are a good way to gauge whether they offer services that dentists can depend on. This means you can easily see what each laboratory can provide in terms of NHS-relevant services and skills and make the switch if you find one that you think will better suit your practice.
Originally founded in 1977, CosTech Dental laboratory is an established business with technicians who are very familiar with NHS demands. The laboratory has dedicated NHS Crown and Bridge technicians, is DAMAS certified and can offer practices perks such as free delivery in some areas of the UK as well as competitive pricing, making them a suitable option for people looking for a lab that can offer them more.
Make sure your laboratory suits you
Checking that your laboratory offers what’s best for your practice can be a straightforward process. By evaluating whether they provide satisfactory services, high-quality products and added value, you can see whether it’s beneficial to stay with them or make the change to another laboratory. This will benefit your NHS patients most as you can ensure they receive the fastest treatment times, best quality restorations and most trusted support available.
For more information about CosTech Dental Laboratory, please visit www.costech.co.ukor call 01474 320076
[i]NHS Dental Statistics. NHS Dental Statistics for England, 2017-2018, Second Quarterly Report. Link: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/nhs-dental-statistics/nhs-dental-statistics-for-england-2017-18-second-quarterly-report[last accessed May 18].
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