Inside Dental Technology
Business Ethics and Savvy Lead to a Successful Laboratory
This carefully crafted laboratory values its partnerships
Business success and business ethics can become estranged bedfellows when confronted by an economic downturn, global competition, and gray-market practices. That is, unless you have a higher commitment to fulfill in life and push back against the grain by building a holistic business culture that measures success not only by its ability to provide the best in patient care but also by stretching that caring culture into the social fabric of the community being served. It’s a business model that Conrad Rensburg, ND, NHD, believes is responsible for the high degree of success and business growth he and his partner, Drew Van Aarde, ND, NHD, have achieved since their 2004 purchase of North Carolina-based Absolute Dental Services.
Rensburg immigrated to the US from South Africa in 1999. Five years after being hired as a manager at Absolute Dental, Rensburg bought the 8-employee business with his business partner. In the next decade, the business flourished under their leadership, expanding in the number of employees at the Durham location and adding satellite facilities in Greensboro and Wilmington.
But success in business can take a backseat when presented with a life-threatening health problem. “It was a defining moment in my life and career,” says Rensburg. “I realized that there is more to life than running a profitable business.” They formed the Absolute Cares Foundation, an employee-run, community-based humanitarian nonprofit.
Rensburg’s business ethics also extend to “truth in manufacturing.” He takes pride in partnering with the best companies in the market and using their proprietary products, delivering only the highest-quality restorative finished products to his customers. It’s a philosophy Rensburg believes his customers value because the restorations he delivers save them chairtime, are highly esthetic, and are fabricated with guaranteed production transparency.
He works closely with manufacturer representatives such as those from Nobel Biocare on a mutually beneficial basis. “I realized early on that building strong symbiotic relationships with manufacturer representatives gives our laboratory referral access to new dental practices and specialists,” he says. Rensburg has built a reputation as an expert on dental implant cases and as an adviser to surgical clients on large, complex cases. Implant prosthetics was a future growth trend that he recognized early on and has been a stimulus to the laboratory’s carefully staged business growth strategy. “When we bought Absolute Dental, implant prosthetics was only a small part of our business,” says Rensburg. “Today, at least 45% of our business is based on implant prosthetics. I attribute that growth to my association with big-name implant companies.”
The growing edentulous population in the United States combined with myriad new treatment protocols such as the Nobel Biocare All-on-4 implant-retained denture concept has proven to be a significant business opportunity for dental laboratories and clinicians. “We have found the milled-bar fixed hybrid implant-retained overdenture to be a huge business-building opportunity for our laboratory and for our customers,” says Rensburg. The marketing strategy he uses for this segment of his business is to target oral surgeons. Through study clubs and meetings, he makes them aware of the many new treatment protocols available using the All-on-4 treatment concept. “Oral surgeons are in the same boat as the dental laboratory in terms of depending on referrals,” says Rensburg. “They refer me to their preferred referral base, and I refer them to mine. It’s an incredibly lucrative and symbiotic strategy for us both.”
However, this is not an arena laboratories can enter without possessing the working and technical knowledge to deliver such exacting cases. Laboratory technicians wanting to tap into this growing market need to partner with strongly positioned implant companies that are at the forefront of this technology. “Companies like Nobel Biocare have incredible technical and clinical educational resources that laboratories can use to acquire the knowledge base they need to speak to clinicians from a technical and clinical perspective to help them throughout the process.”
Rensburg uses CAD to design the implant bars using the NobelProcera CAD software with a technical precision that is matched only by Nobel Biocare in the milling process. “These are the most accurate, predictable, consistent implant products on the market today, and they result in a 100% fitting case each time,” says Rensburg.And, the profit margin can be five times that of a cast bar. “The advantage of NobelProcera is that you can use the software to design bars for Nobel Biocare implants or other implant platforms and get those milled bars back in only 3 or 4 days,” says Rensburg. “The service efficiency, ease of use, and turnaround time are the best in the industry.”
In addition, the introduction of NobelClinician Software with Smart Fusion technology allows all stakeholders in a case to collaborate on the planning stages of an implant case. “The team can evaluate the CT scan, a scan of the model, and a scan of the diagnostic waxup, combine and manipulate these three files, and then decide on the best placement for the implant for the restorative portion of the case,” says Rensburg. It also saves the surgeon from needing to double scan the patient to acquire the surgical template, reducing the number of patient appointments.
“Our industry is changing quickly,” says Rensburg. “If you don’t change with it, you will become obsolete very quickly.”
Disclaimer: 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.
NobelProcera® Implant Bar Overdentures
Nobel Biocare offers a broad range of NobelProcera CAD/CAM implant bar overdentures, including fixed and fixed-removable solutions. NobelProcera fixed solutions offer replacement of teeth and direct access to implants. Available implant-bar types include Montreal and wraparound bars, such as the new Hybrid fixed-implant restoration. The Hybrid bar combines optimal tooth support with the efficiency of a fixed CAD/CAM implant bar.
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