Inside Dental Technology
A Service that Exceeds the Dentist’s Expectations
Find an outsourcing partner that makes your goals achievable with ease.
There was never any question as to the heights to which Dene LeBeau, CDT, wanted to take his business or the type of clientele he wanted to serve when he opened his dental laboratory 39 years ago. LeBeau had learned long ago that life often takes you where you did not intend to go but where you unknowingly need to be. And, once there, you need to make the most of the opportunity. He knew getting to the top of his profession would be a challenging and difficult journey, but he was determined not to blend into the masses of the profession. He assessed his strengths and weaknesses and began taking any course or seminar he could to increase his technical and clinical knowledge of the dental profession as well as educate himself in the one area he felt most vulnerable—running a business. He threw himself into business classes on management, sales, and even hiring and firing employees to bolster his business acumen.
As his skill level grew and his understanding of the mechanics of precision dentistry increased, LeBeau realized that his artistic limitations would not allow him to reach his ultimate goal—to serve the highest-end clients in dentistry. So he scoured the world to secure a team he believed would take his business to the next level and allow him to deliver the dentistry and esthetics he demanded of himself. Then, in the late 1980s, when most of the market was immersed in porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), his laboratory took a risk with new all-ceramic concepts introduced to dentistry and was one of the first—if not the first on the West Coast—to begin fabricating veneers, inlays, and onlays. This put LeBeau on the map in the dental technology profession and taught him another of life’s important lessons—keeping your mind open to change and taking well-calculated risks to benefit business. LeBeau found himself compelled to provide hands-on study group courses for dentists and laboratory slide presentations on all-ceramic dentistry. It was at this point that he started meeting more of the clientele that he dreamed of serving. As his client base began shifting upward to meet his skill and knowledge level, LeBeau realized his values and expectations had outgrown those of some of his long-existing customer base. He had the difficult task of telling those customers—some of whom had become good friends—that the quality and fees for his work would continue to rise and, if needed, he would help them find the best laboratory service for the fees they were accustomed to paying. It was, LeBeau admits, one of the most difficult and miserable periods in his career, but it was necessary if he was to attain his goal.
When CAD/CAM technology and zirconia burst on the dental technology scene more than 10 years ago, LeBeau and his client base immediately recognized the benefits of the new material. LeBeau did not hesitate to invest in a CAD/CAM system that he believed provided him with superior design control, expanded functions, and 5-axis milling power. However, LeBeau quickly found that the rapid improvements and expanded design functionalities in CAD software often did not match the capabilities of the benchtop milling hardware. What you could design, you could not necessarily mill or mill to the exactitude of the design. And, as newer, more complicated products and materials were launched onto the market, those who had invested in milling technology were often left behind or forced to reinvest in newer equipment or expensive equipment updates. “Technology is moving so rapidly today that it is difficult for manufacturers of these benchtop mills to keep pace,” said LeBeau. “They can’t react fast enough to provide the latest updated software and hardware, nor can these mills match the precision of the million-dollar mills being used by some of this country’s outsource providers. For my money, I think it’s now a smart business strategy to leave the high cost of purchasing, maintaining, and updating capital equipment to those who can afford it.”
LeBeau began investigating outsource production centers that he believed could produce the products he needed and the demanding precision quality he expected. “When we made the decision to outsource rather than mill in-house, we began experimenting with different outsource providers to find the right partner,” said LeBeau. “When choosing to partner with a milling center, the most important aspect of the decision for us was determining whether the values and expectations of the provider could meet ours,” claimed LeBeau. “If they couldn’t, then we didn’t waste our time. We moved on.”
All the CAD restorative design work at LeBeau’s laboratory is done in-house with the digital files sent to the milling center for production. He tested 15 different outsource providers for his zirconia crown-and-bridge products before finding a milling center that could give him the product quality and service that he demanded. “The CAD software tools available to technicians today allows them to design the Rolls Royce of restorations,” said LeBeau. “The difficulty is in finding a partner that can actually mill exactly what you have designed and return that product in a timely fashion, plus listen and respond to your needs. As with any business partnership, it’s an earned trust that you are looking for in the relationship.”
When LeBeau sought out a milling center partner for a new highly technical implant abutment design he had learned from Dr. John Kois, he tested eight to nine outsource providers before he found one that listened, understood, and could deliver the complicated design. “GC Advanced Techologies milling center was the only production house that listened to what I was trying to achieve and truly understood the importance of this abutment design,” said LeBeau. GC Advanced Technologies Inc. (GCAT), he explains, is a subsidiary of GC America and holds to the same high standards as the global corporation. What makes this particular abutment design so completely different than others on the market, LeBeau says, is that it honors the biological science and math principles put forth by Dr. John Kois. It is appropriately named JKAD or John Kois Abutment Design. On anterior implant cases, the final abutment form mimics the cemento-enamel junction to create papilla support and facial root eminence whenever possible. In the maxillary posterior, the facial margin is placed ideally to allow the technician to fill the buccal corridor while maintaining a more congruent gingival architecture. For the past 4 years, LeBeau has been developing a custom abutment strategy and a CAD software system to successfully scan, design, and mill these abutments. This system is designed to improve the esthetics and longevity of implant cases for the patient, and efforts are underway to make it available to all dental laboratories.
Today, LeBeau works for top-end dentists all over the country and feels a responsibility to meet their exacting needs and expectations as well as those of their patients. “We insist on high quality and will work only with partners who listen to our needs, work with us to achieve those goals, and who are honest, open, and professional. My laboratory believes that the quality of service provided by GCAT will turn most laboratories into raving fans!”
The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Technology.
GC Advanced Technologies, Inc.
GC Advanced Technologies Inc., a subsidiary of GC America, is committed to proving the dental community with only the highest quality CAD/CAM Custom Abutments and Copings that the laboratories and their doctors are proud to use. GCAT’s Aadva™ line of custom abutments are available for most major implant systems and are offered in a variety of materials including titanium, all-zirconia, and blend (hybrid). GCAT’s all-zirconia and blend abutments are available in 10 different shades to help laboratories and clinicians achieve natural tissue esthetics, especially in the esthetic zone. GCAT is compatible and accepts scan and designed STL files from the 3Shape system. Also, GCAT accepts cases in a wide variety of ways. The laboratories can choose to send models, full-contour wax-ups, scan STL files (from 3Shape), or scanned and designed STL files (from 3Shape). The GC Advanced Tech-
nologies Inc. Milling Center and education facility is located in Alsip, Illinois.
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