Dental appliances

Outsourcing Dental Appliances? Beware Who You Choose

Are you outsourcing dental appliances yet? If not, you might be missing out on major benefits, all without sacrificing the quality you demand. That is, as long as you find the right dental lab for the job.

There’s no doubt we’re all living in a state of higher prices and inflation. Even simple trips to the grocery store or gas station can leave you clutching your heart and wallet at the same time.

In difficult financial times, you need to find ways to survive. To that end, it might be time for you to consider outsourcing dental appliances.

Let’s take a look at what’s happening in the industry, how outsourcing can save you both time & money, and explore some of the important considerations surrounding the practice.

The Problem of Rising Costs

Prices of everything are rising, and every day you’re tasked with learning new ways to overcome challenges. Making things even tougher, recent inflation hasn’t left the dental industry untouched, either.

In fact, costs have risen to historic highs not seen in more than 25 years. A recent pricing index shows prices for dental services rose 1.9% in June.

To put that in context, it’s the largest change for those services since 1995, when  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording these numbers.

Digging further, the numbers don’t appear much better. On an annual level, prices are currently up 9.1% since this period last year.

The dental market is changing. How you adapt will make all the difference.

What does this mean for you?

These unexpected price spikes create several problems for dental practices everywhere.

For example, 35% of dentists involved in a recent survey reported rising costs and inflation as their biggest concerns at the moment.

It’s a warranted worry to have, with dental equipment prices increasing across the board. Some dentists even report even basic necessities, like gloves, have tripled in price.

But, inflation isn’t just affecting your supply costs.

Apart from supplies, many dentists worry how they’ll manage to pay their staff enough to get them through trying times, as well.

While it’s important to care for your team, it creates a tough situation for many business owners. Some simply can’tto provide extra funds to their workers, while others lose money while trying to do so.

It’s a difficult situation, with few easy answers. This is where outsourcing dental appliances comes into play.

dental equipment
Related: The Market is Changing. Is It Time to Upgrade Your Dental Equipment? (click image to read more)

The benefits of Outsourcing Dental Work

When economic problems plague the industry, you need to find solutions to ease the pain.

Outsourcing the manufacture of dental appliances, for instance, remains one of the best options to keep in mind. And no, it’s not a bad thing.

Outsourcing is one of the most effective ways to provide your patients with quality care at an affordable price.

Outsourcing is simply when a business turns to others for help. While it’s always been a great option in the dental industry, it’s becoming more common as costs continue to mount.

Yet, it provides more than just cost savings.

It also opens up a much wider variety of services and products you can offer you otherwise couldn’t provide. After all, not every dentist can afford – or even want – milling machines, 3D printers, CAM/CAD systems, and more.

More often than not, outsourcing dental appliances is the best possible choice.

The Dental Lab you choose matters

Dentists commonly send appliances (mouthguards, nightguards, dentures, implants, etc.) for repair or fabrication. While that’s no secret, and well within normal routine, the key is with which lab you trust with your reputation.

For example, you might be think about sending an appliance to a different country to save you and your patient some money. It’s tempting, right?

While the temporary savings might sound appealing, you need to consider a few key points.

If you’re going to outsource dental appliances, whoever you choose must be forthcoming and honest about their practices, equipment, standards, and materials.

Before deciding if it’s the right decision, examine their practice to see if it aligns with your expectations and goals.

For example, while some crowns, implants, and bridges may be acceptable for use in other countries, higher standards exist within the United States.

Do your research, hold important conversations, and adjust accordingly.

Although you might find the right candidate on the first try, prepare yourself to deal with several. Remember: outsourcing dental appliances involves more than just your patients’ smiles.

It involves your reputation.

five questions to ask your dental lab - First Choice Dental Lab
Related: 5 Questions to Always Ask Your Dental Lab (click image to learn more)

Beware inferior materials

Another thing to remain cautious of when outsourcing is knowing exactly what is being put into your appliances, material-wise.

If you choose to outsource to countries like China, India, Vietnam, or any others, the quality of your work might suffer. While US-based dental labs might cost more, the standards of quality are generally much higher.

That being said, even many dental labs in the US outsource work to foreign countries. As a result, your crowns, implants, or other devices could end up made with inferior materials, result in a poor fit, or even worse – contaminated with toxic substances like lead.

Make sure who you hire provides the same quality service you would if you could do it in-house.

Keep in mind, different countries maintain different rules and regulations, making communication crucial.

When choosing who to outsource your work to, ask about materials used. Ask if your dental lab outsources anything, or if they use in-house work only.

And, when in doubt, ask your fellow peers what their experiences were when outsourcing dental appliances of their own.

After all, the safety and satisfaction of your patients is always your number one priority.

Final Thoughts

Of course, if you’re able to complete all of your work in-house, then you’ll probably go that route.

But, for most dentists, it’s simply not an option.

Outsourcing dental work is a fantastic way to offer more options to patients, while keeping your costs well within reason. The key is choosing the right dental lab to trust with your work.

Overseas labs rarely maintain the same quality control used in the US, and though the savings might be tempting, the concerns remain very real.

Even in the US, not every state requires their lab to disclose certain information (if they outsource any work themselves, for instance).

That’s why you always want to ask important questions, like material use, further outsourcing, quality guarantees, etc.

When you find a lab you can trust, you’ll be glad you took the time to find out.




About First Choice Dental Lab

First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.

At First Choice, we do all of our work in-house, with the finest quality materials.

We welcome any questions you might have, because we’re proud of our work, our craftsmanship, and our reputation.

We believe there’s nothing more important than establishing quality, long-lasting partnerships, creating as many smiles as possible along the way.

So, how can we make you smile today?

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