Adding a 3D Print Lab: the Path to More Independence at Your Practice

In the ever-evolving landscape of dentistry, the shift towards in-house lab work represents a significant step forward in achieving clinical excellence and operational independence. As dentists, our primary commitment is to provide the best possible care to our patients.

This commitment not only involves staying updated with the latest dental techniques and technologies but also encompasses how and where our dental restorations and appliances are made. Traditionally, dental practices have relied on external laboratories for the fabrication of dental prosthetics, but the tide is turning. Here’s why your practice should consider moving more lab work in-house.

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Control and Customization

The foremost advantage of in-house labwork, especially 3D printed lab work, is the unparalleled control it offers over the fabrication processes. When prosthetics such as crowns, guides, or dentures are crafted onsite, the dentist has direct oversight over the materials and techniques used, ensuring each piece meets the practice’s standards. This control extends to customization; adjustments can be made on the fly, reducing the turnaround time and increasing the precision with which adjustments are handled, thus ensuring a perfect fit and aesthetic match for the patient.

Huge Benefit: Never have to tell a patient, “We’ll have to send that back to the lab” again!

Speed and Efficiency

One of the most tangible benefits of bringing lab work in-house is the reduction in turnaround times. Traditional models where labs are outsourced often involve lengthy back-and-forth communications and shipping delays. With an in-house lab, the workflow from digital impression to final production is streamlined. Technologies such as CAD/CAM milling and 3D printing enable us to produce restorations and appliances within a single patient visit, a far cry from the weeks it might take when relying on external labs.


While the initial setup for an in-house lab can be an investment depending on the setup you use, the long-term savings are considerable. By eliminating the need for third-party lab fees and reducing material costs through bulk purchases, practices can decrease the overall cost of production. Additionally, the reduction in redo’s due to increased accuracy and immediate adjustments contributes to cost efficiency, providing significant savings over time.

Patient Satisfaction

The immediate results possible with in-house labs are a significant boon for patient satisfaction. The convenience of same-day services cannot be overstated—patients appreciate the efficiency and the reduced need for multiple visits. This not only enhances the patient experience but also bolsters the practice’s reputation as a cutting-edge facility committed to patient-centered care.

Professional Growth and Team Collaboration

Incorporating lab tasks within the practice offers tremendous professional growth opportunities for the dental team. Dentists and team members who share the labwork load can collaborate closely, sharing knowledge and techniques that enhance the team’s overall skill set. This collaboration fosters a deeper understanding of the materials and technologies used, which translates into better care and innovative practices.

Benefit: Your team actually understands what goes into making a crown or denture and it makes every step of the process better for you, them, and the patient.

Market Differentiation

In today’s competitive dental market, having an in-house lab is a significant differentiator. It positions the practice as a leader in dental technology and patient care, attracting patients who are looking for top-notch, convenient treatment options. This competitive edge is crucial for growth and sustainability in the increasingly technology-oriented landscape of dentistry.

Huge Benefit: More same day dentistry equals more case acceptance plain and simple.

Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency

Finally, the concept of sustainability and self-sufficiency cannot be overstated. In an era where supply chains can be unpredictable and external factors can affect the availability and cost of outsourcing, having an in-house lab ensures that your practice is as self-reliant as possible. This independence from external labs not only secures your operational capabilities but also instills a sense of confidence among patients, knowing that their dental needs are fully managed under one roof.

As we look towards the future of dentistry, the integration of in-house labs is not just a trend but a necessary evolution towards better, faster, and more personalized dental care. It’s time for dental practices to embrace this change, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the dental industry while providing unparalleled service to their patients.

This is your chance to be on the cutting edge as the trend spreads across the profession.

About the author, Chris

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