“The models that we were outsourcing were not as accurate as what we are getting from our Stratasys printers.”
– Cody Iverson / CDT | President, Iverson Dental Laboratories
Precision Pays Off
It’s no secret that a fundamental tenet of business success is to take care of your customers. Businesses that embrace this belief are usually the ones that grow, thrive and attract new customers. That seems to be the recipe Iverson Dental Laboratories has been following since its start in 1991. A key ingredient is 3D printing, which gives Iverson Labs the speed, cost reduction and accuracy to grow their business by focusing on the needs of their customers.
Growing With 3D Printing
Iverson Dental Laboratories of Riverside, California, is a full-service lab, specializing in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and digital dentistry. The accuracy and opportunity afforded by digital impression systems was recognized early on by the company. However, it initially outsourced the models generated from the scans because it wasn’t feasible to produce them in the early days of the technology. Although the models generated from these systems ultimately resulted in more accurate dental appliances, the outsourcing turnaround time wasn’t optimal.
As digital dentistry continued to grow, Iverson’s business volume grew as well. At the same time, the ability to 3D print models from digital scans became more practicable. A tipping point was reached where it made sense to bring the work in-house, and Iverson Labs purchased its first two Stratasys Eden260V Dental Advantage 3D Printers.
With 3D printing capabilities now in its own hands, Iverson Labs has cut the overall turnaround time required to make appliances and restorations, and produces them at a lower cost, creating the opportunity for growth. The company also began to make surgical guides in-house and greatly expanded its partial dental framework business. According to Cody Iverson, company president, “Our price point is a lot better because we can produce (the appliance) a lot cheaper than when we were outsourcing,” a savings that is passed on to customers. Iverson says the removable partial denture business has experienced the most growth. “We’ve been able to cut down on our fees to our clients as well as cut down the turnaround time significantly, so that product’s growing really fast,” said Iverson. This combination of increased capability and a focus on passing the efficiencies to its customers has allowed Iverson to gain more clients.
Accuracy is a Key Component of Success
A dentist’s greatest expense is the time spent with the patient, known in the industry as “chair time.” One driver of chair time includes fitting patients’ restorations and dental appliances. Chair time is minimized and the patient benefits when little to no adjustment is needed. In contrast, ill-fitting appliances and restorations require “remakes,” meaning the lab must make physical adjustments or remanufacture the appliance. This results in another patient visit, more chair time and the additional time and cost for lab work.
According to Iverson, one of the main benefits of 3D printing is the accuracy that’s achievable. “The models we were outsourcing were not as accurate as what we are getting from our Stratasys printers,” said Iverson. He continued, saying the accuracy of the Stratasys 3D printers “helps us maintain one of the lowest average remake (rates) in the industry,” because an accurate restoration starts with a precise 3D printed model.
As a result, Iverson Labs customers report that it takes less than five minutes to seat crowns and bridges due to the accuracy and overall quality of the restorations. Less chair time means dentists can see up to five more patients per day on average, adding revenue. Iverson said, “Doctors can actually make more money by having things more accurate, (and 3D printing) plays a key role in that.” This ultimately helps grow Iverson Labs’ business because of the customer-centric and quality-focused reputation it portrays within the industry.
Patients are a dental firm’s greatest asset, and quality service usually results in patient retention and referrals. This same model applies to dental labs. As Iverson Labs has demonstrated, a focus on quality, combined with the accuracy of 3D printing means it can provide its dental practitioners a level of service that solidifies its reputation in the industry, leading to additional business opportunities. According to Cody Iverson, 3D printing helps the company serve their customers better, and that means improved accuracy, turnaround time and cost.