About Our Dental Lab

For us, there is no better satisfaction than a happy patient smile. Our mission is to construct the finest crowns and bridges with talented hands. Therefore, our dental lab will not go anywhere. Furthermore, we will continue to outsmart machines with our hand skills, talents, and intelligence, incorporating everything we learned from our formal training education. Hence, if you need a dental lab to support your exclusive dentistry, iDental Lab is the answer.

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We are transforming one smile at a time!

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High Technology Combined High Skilled Technicians

What if we pair the best machine with the best technicians? The result will be second to none! That’s what we do here at iDental Lab. Our CAD-CAM machines are the latest technology and have superior precision and accuracy.

iDental Lab offers various choices for porcelain laminate veneers:

  • IPS e.max layered cosmetic porcelain veneers for strength and aesthetic.
  • Empress Esthetic cosmetic porcelain veneers for superior aesthetic.
  • Feldspathic razor-thin cosmetic porcelain veneers for a natural look.
  • Aesthetic diagnostic wax-up.

At iDental Lab, Our Goal is:

  • Every crown should be as close to perfect! In most cases, you should spend less than a few minutes cementing a crown.
  • We are among a few labs that follow the textbook.
  • To will earn your trust with each case until you retire.

How do we achieve consistency?

  • We use a 10x microscope during the fabrication, especially around the margin.
  • Finish QC inspection under a 10x microscope.
  • Adoption of a quantitative method to measure interproximal contacts
  • Detail anatomy to match existing natural teeth
  • Consistently uniform bite

An Elite Cosmetic Dental Lab

iDental Lab is an elite dental lab specializing in full-mouth rehabilitation. Unlike general laboratories, iDental Lab specializes in cosmetic and implant restorations and employs world-class techniques and styles.

Above all, we are consistent in our products and services by striving to provide the same work ethic you give your patients, solidifying the relationship with you and your customers and increasing your trust in us. Moreover, each of our expert lab techs here at iDental Lab is trained and updated on the latest trends to assist us in providing top-notch restoration services. In addition, we ensure that our process exceeds industry standards to maintain quality, especially in our crowns, bridges, and laminate porcelain veneers.

Our Ceramists are Hidden Treasure

No CAD-CAM can substitute our experienced, educated, skilled technicians, especially in cosmetic restorations.

iDental Lab is a cosmetic dental lab servicing prominent cosmetic dentists worldwide. Unsurprisingly, finding a matching dental lab is like finding a hidden treasure. It’s true nowadays more than ever before. For example, many experienced and skilled dental ceramists and technicians retired, especially during the pandemic. Besides, replacing skilled ceramists is not viable since dental technology training is almost extinct in the United States. So, recruiting or even finding a good ceramist is challenging.

Our artistic, talented, experienced dental technicians are hidden gems. For this reason, one of our renowned cosmetic dentists, an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) Fellowship Accreditated, treats our ceramists as his partner in his dental clinic. He provides us with design instructions, photographs, conditions of patients, and exact measurements for every patient, even after 15 years. Since we don’t see your patients, communication is the most effective way to minimize hassles and frustrations.

Does one design fit all?

Customizing every smile design to fit the patient’s unique condition is critical for our laboratory. For example, the sex and age of the patient, facial structures (oval, square, round, oblong, diamond, or heart-shaped), and the smile line. Since everyone is unique, so every smile case should be unique.

Some of the indications for cosmetic porcelain ceramic veneers are:

  • Alignment
  • Diastema Closure
  • Peg Laterals
  • Fractures
  • Staining and Fluorosis

A happy smile is priceless!

As a laboratory, we hope to put a smile on every patient. However, we can only achieve this challenging task by being informative. Thus, we need every specific smile design. For example, a smile design includes aggressive design, dominant, enhanced, cover, focus, functional, Hollywood, mature, natural, oval, softened, vigorous, or youthful design. In addition, we need the exact length and width of anterior photographs, drawings, and diagnostic wax-ups. Please be as realistic as possible. Finally, educating and informing your patients of the limitation is recommended.

Why is a Dental Lab Important?

A dental laboratory is a behind the scene of every family dentistry. They customize to replace missing teeth as crowns, bridges, inlays, onlay, veneers, implants, dentures, partials, and other dental prosthetics or appliances. As such, dental technicians strictly follow a prescription from a licensed dental professional or a dentist. Therefore, the laboratory bears no responsibility for the treatments or the outcome of the dental products.

Every successful family or cosmetic dental clinic needs dependable support from a dental lab.

The trust of the patients, the confidence in a best practice, the staff’s pride, and the reputation may depend on a laboratory. Beyond that, based on many years of research, the best marketing strategy may be word of mouth from satisfied patients. Although spending millions of dollars on digital marketing, social media marketing, mass mailing, advertising, and other channels, may render a successful result, nothing is as effective as when patients introduce a dentist to their families and friends. In fact, partnering with a reliable laboratory can boost your patients’ satisfaction. As a result, they will return to you year after year and bring their friends and family to your practice.

The Best Cosmetic Dental Lab

It’s no secret that a single laboratory can’t satisfy every dentist. Therefore, there is no such thing as the “best lab.” Hence, you must find the best laboratory for you and your patients. Some lab ceramists attend courses for accreditation or certification. In turn, they charge exorbitant fees. Not to us. No matter how good we are, we are only good as your happy patients. In addition, if you are accredited or certified by an institution such as Las Vegas Institute (LVI) or AACD, provide us with what you need. For instance, we need information such as the exact measurement of anterior centrals, bites, embrasures, canine designs, or styles. 

What is a full-service dental lab?

Typically a large-sized laboratory would have two departments within the laboratory: crowns & bridges (C&B) and removable departments. In fact, small to mid-size laboratories rarely offer full services because having two departments are too burdensome. Instead, they specialize in either C&B or removable. Although iDental Lab started specializing in crowns and bridges, we have separate technicians that handle removable. For instance

  • Valplast or flexible partials and dentures
  • Cast and immediate dentures
  • Nightguards or mouthguards (soft, hard, or hybrid)
  • Digital surgical guides

Crowns & Bridges (C&B) Dental Lab

C&B, also known as the restoration laboratory, restores missing teeth with artificial or prosthetic teeth. Also, they are fixed restoration instead of removable partials and dentures or other appliances. They are permanently “cemented” or “bonded” to your natural pontic and cannot be removed without intervention. However, from time to time, they can come “off” or “loose,” requiring re-cementation.

Here are some examples of fixed restorations:

Crowns & bridges. A crown is a single-unit “cap” to cover the enamel parts of your teeth to protect against further damage to the tooth structure of dentin. If one or more crowns are splinted together, it is called a “bridge,” or some refer to as fixed partials.

Cosmetic restoration can be of two types: cosmetic or medical reason. Even though it is called a cosmetic procedure, a veneer to restore damaged enamel, misalignments, or cracks is a medical condition.

Implant restoration involves restoring a prosthetic “root” or “abutment” and artificial teeth. Three main types of materials are used in artificial roots: titanium, zirconia, and gold. However, you can combine them to produce a hybrid abutment. It is only possible with CAD-CAM technology.

Here are the materials our dental lab utilizes:

  • Titanium Abutment
  • Zirconia Abutment
  • Full Gold (UCLA) Abutment
  • Anodized Gold Titanium Abutment
  • Titanium Base Zirconia Abutment

Which above material is the best for abutment?

Because one material works best for a patient, it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Depending on the patient’s conditions and affordability should determine the material.

Implant Specialists

Typically, implant-specializing dentists such as periodontists or prosthodontics place dental implants through surgery. Afterward, general or family dentists or prosthodontics restore the “root” and artificial teeth by working alongside a dental lab.

Abutment Specialty Laboratory

Nowadays, most larger dental laboratories have a technology to fabricate implant abutments. In addition, they outsource to specialty laboratories for specific manufacturers such as ZimVie (formerly Zimmer Biomet), Straumann, and Atlantis. These manufacturers offer outstanding products and services, including a lifetime warranty.

What is a Surgical Guide?

As discussed above, periodontists or prosthodontists specialize in dental implants. However, thanks to advanced technologies, general dentists increasingly engage in dental implant placements. A dental lab can assist by providing surgical guides with sleeves. By sending a model, a laboratory can fabricate a surgical guide to locate the approximate location of the implant. For a better result, CBCT scan images are strongly recommended.

What is a digital dental lab?

A digital lab can manufacture artificial teeth via digital means instead of physical impressions. Dental clinics no longer need to take or send PVS impressions to the lab. They can scan using a 3D intraoral scanner and transmit it to their lab. It is no difference in how email works. Except for some scanners, the images are first routed to the scanner’s manufacturer, then forwarded to the lab. For example, Align Technology. This process can take longer than the other that transmits directly to the laboratory. For instance, 3Shape Trios. At iDental Lab, a digitally advanced dental lab can fabricate crowns, bridges, veneers, implants, and other appliances from digital files from various intraoral scanners.

There are two types of intraoral scanners: open and closed.

Open intraoral scanners adopt the standardized file format: STL. For example, Medit, Carestream, Straumann Cares, VivaScan, and more. A “closed” system may or may not use the standardized STL file format. However, a license is required to utilize closed system files. For example, Cadent iTero by Align Technology, 3Shape Trios, 3M True Definition (Midmark), and CEREC by Dentsply Sirona. iDental Lab can mill zirconia and e.max from digital files. In addition, we can print 3D models to construct PFMs, gold crowns, veneers, inlays, onlays, dentures, and partials.

Digital Dentistry

Dentistry is moving fast to digital technology. Moreover, digital 3D intraoral scanners have come a long way in the last decade. Scanning, designing, and milling veneers in dental clinics are now becoming the industry norm. For instance, the one-hour or same-day crown is the new technology in dentistry today. Thus, no need to wait for weeks until the dental lab fabricates a permanent veneer in the day past. Better yet, you can skip fabricating a temporary crown. Everything in dentistry seems completely digitalized except for high-aesthetic or high-quality restorations.

Handmade Craftsmanship

For example, most of the manufacturing processes today are robotic or automated. From the auto industry to pharmaceutical drug media filling, machines replaced human jobs. However, those machines or automatic manufacturing processes are limited in what they can do. Human has senses: sight, taste, feeling, touch, hearing, and smell, plus feeling! None of those human senses are incorporated when the machine is utilized. Therefore, handmade products still exist today! For example, the luxury cars are handmade. The finest watches are handmade. Even the most expensive designer handbags are handmade. The bottom line is that no machine can replace human hands. Therefore, only handmade skilled technicians can produce high-quality crowns and bridges.

IPS e.max ZirCAD and Dental Lab

As a cosmetic lab, we continually research, test, and educate the best materials for dental cosmetic veneers and full mouth rehabilitation. As such, we tested IPS e.max ZirCAD MT for full mouth rehabilitation.

Our dental lab ceramists have skills and techniques in Ivolar products such as IPS e.max Pressed and ZirCAD, specifically e.max Pressed since we can layer with e.max powders for outstanding natural translucency and esthetics. However, some renowned cosmetic dentists need stronger, superior aesthetic materials for full mouth rehabilitation. That’s where IPS e.max ZirCAD MT comes in handy. Alternatively, we considered IPS e.max ZirCAD Prime Esthetic due to gradual shade and translucency gradient. However, we picked IPS e.max ZirCAD MT because “high mechanical stability, thin restoration walls, and natural-looking esthetics are of the essence.”

What is IPS e.max ZirCAD MT (medium translucency)? 

According to the Ivoclar Vivadent company website, IPS e.max ZirCAD MT is the material that combines sound mechanical stability, 850 MPa, with esthetic properties as a result of an optimized raw material mixture. In addition, it lends itself to various processing options and offers high flexibility. Also, the A-D shade system enables efficient fabrication of esthetic monolithic or layered restorations. The A-D Colouring and Effect Colouring Liquids for maximum customization prior to sintering. The IPS e.max ZirCAD MT comes in a disc with a diameter of 98.5 mm. Please get in touch with our dental lab if you have any questions or suggestions.

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Digitalizing the Last Industry – Dental Laboratory

It seems everything we do these days is digital. The dental lab industry is slowly transforming into a digital world. It may be the last industry to digitalize. In the early 1990s, digitalizing began, starting with digitalizing documents and photography. Then, the Internet and email slowly took over books and how we communicate. I believe the first victim of digitalization is the photography industry, such as photo film processing or photo studios. At the same time, I think one of the last victims of digitalizing dental laboratories is a small niche within the dental industry.

About the dental lab industry

Dental laboratories use molds (also called impressions) to custom-made dental prosthetics to replace the missing teeth in the form of crowns or bridges (two or more crowns splinted together). Also, dental laboratories construct porcelain veneers to cover the existing teeth for cosmetic or medical reasons. Usually, a dentist takes an impression to replace a patient’s missing teeth and then sends it to the dental lab of their choice to fabricate crowns, bridges, or veneers within a few weeks. For example, polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) is one of the materials used to take the impression.

Introduction of 3D Intraoral Scanner

However, about 20 years ago, a few high-technology dental clinics invested in an intraoral 3D scanner to transmit digitally formatted impressions instead of non-digital polyvinyl siloxane impressions. At that time, a few dental laboratories were technologically advanced enough to accept the work with digital files. Twenty years later, only a few percent of dental practices have gone digital, mainly because many mom-and-pop laboratories cannot afford such advanced technology and expensive CAD/CAM machines. Not to mention they don’t know how to use one of them. In other words, many dental laboratory technicians are not computer savvy.

Therefore, switching from analog to digital is not a matter of time or training but entirely a different line of work.

Some older dental technicians could not transform their laboratory to digital, taking an early exit. Still, the dental laboratory industry is one of the least digitized industries today. We know other industries are not digitized, but those sectors may not be as crucial as the dental lab industry. Over the last few years, many dentists have purchased a 3D intraoral scanner. Because small laboratories are not digitally equipped, these dental clinics work with larger or more technologically advanced digital dental laboratories.

Laboratories Mergings

Until around the late 2000s, it supposed there were about 25,000 commercial dental laboratories in the United States. You could find at least one dental lab in every dental professional building. Since the mid to late 2000s, this number significantly reduced since digital dentistry was blooming. The same business analogy we witnessed with the pharmacy retailer in the United States around the 1990s. Every commercial or professional medical building had at least one mom-and-pop pharmacy. Then, when larger discounted detailers penetrated every town, all these small pharmacies around the corner were forced to bow out. Well, at least pharmacists could get a job with large retailers. Not so with old-school dental technicians. Since they didn’t have the knowledge and skill of digital technology, they were forced to retire. Furthermore, they could not afford to update and convert the analog lab to a digital lab.

Offshore Laboratories

The trend of outsourcing to Chinese laboratories in the 2010s did not help domestic labs. However, with advanced digital technology, it’s slowly returning to the United States because the high and robust technology brings the price much more aligned to overseas labs. As a lab owner, the way I see it, there are only two options for future dental laboratories: either you are high-end enough dental lab to provide specific dentists or large enough to withstand the fierce competition. If my prediction serves correctly, then any labs in between will be obsoleted in the near future.

A specific, high-end laboratory will service dentists who prefer particular styles, quality, and specifications.

Finding a laboratory that matches their specific and unique dental restoration needs can be challenging for these dental clinics. For example, we are a small laboratory but fortunate enough to have long-term based clients with distinguishing requirements. These clients have been with us for at least ten years or more, trusting with day-to-day crown restoration.

High Maintenance Cost

Sometimes a small dental lab may afford to equip some digital technology. However, running constantly without any backup equipment is also risky. The high cost of maintenance and downtime also may contribute to subpar quality, delayed turnaround time, and, worst, more unexpected expenses. Therefore, a small lab cannot compete with large labs, especially with pricing.

Standardizing Dental Software. Dental software must adopt a standard in the dental industry.

For instance, every brand of digital intraoral scanner has its own software or license. Some of them are not affordable for a small lab. Thus, they can only accept limited technology, losing hard-earned valuable clients to a larger laboratory. Even though the lab purchase a brand new, expensive, and high-technology CAD-CAM machine, it doesn’t mean you can work with any digital format scanned files. If a dental clinic uses a specific digital scanner you cannot accept, you will have to invest significantly to add software to be able to work, or you will lose the client. For its survival, a smaller laboratory may spend all its savings upgrading to a digital lab. However, their clients, who have been servicing them for the past ten years, decided to purchase a 3D digital scanner that they cannot accommodate. Then you are most likely to lose that client to your competitors.

How do you select an out-of-town dental lab?

In the past, dentists only used laboratories in the same or close proximity to their dental practice, or at least in the same general commuting areas. It is understandable for the convenience of their dental clinics. For example, sending over patients for shade matching, same-day repair or adjustment, discussing upcoming complex cases, communicating with technicians for any issues, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps they don’t like packing and shipping to the out-of-town dental lab, among other frivolous reasons. However, during the last decade, many small pop and mom laboratories have closed since they cannot afford to keep up with technologies.

At iDental Lab, we established a systematic approach to meet your concerns. 

Once you are accustomed to sending us, you will quickly realize we are as convenient as your local labs. In fact, thousands are already doing it. It makes sense, especially with digital technology. Whether your lab is next door or a few thousand miles away makes no difference. Need to remake or adjust? No problem. We already have the file, and the replacement is on its way within a couple of days. Our purpose is not to put local laboratories out of business but to prepare when your local technician decides to retire, and you are left without a laboratory partner. In fact, myself is a local lab owner, so I am a big advocate for local labs. About a few years ago, I realized that more and more dentists are using out-of-town dental labs.

In order for us to be in the business, we had no choice but to establish a functional, systematic way to service out-of-town dentists. About 80% of our clients are from out of town. Still, only a fraction of them are digital. The rest are mail orders.

When you are looking for an out-of-town laboratory, here are the top 10 items to check:
  1. Remake or adjustment. Ask them about their remake or adjustment rate. Our remake rate is less than 2% which it should be.
  2. Digital custom shade ability. If they have a systematic approach to handling custom shade by digital technology.
  3. Offers free shipping. It will accumulate over time if you pay for the shipping either way or both ways.
  4. Also, do they use express shipping methods or no tracking methods?
  5. Do they know who you are when you call? When you call them, but they don’t know who you are, that indicates what you will be dealing with in the future.
  6. Read the actual dental lab testimonies. Be aware that some of them are generic and made out by a digital marketing agency. Check with website testimonies or even call to verify.

In addition, other criteria will help you to assist in your selection:

  1. Select a digitally advanced lab in preparation for the future of digital dentistry.
  2. Pricing: not too overpriced but not too cheap. If it’s cheaper than anyone else, it might be an indication they are not highly qualified dental technicians. Since highly qualified dental technicians are not cheap in the United States. High-end laboratories like us usually pay even six figures for skilled technicians. At the same time, try to stay at an average price for a long-term partnership.
  3. If quality is good but not affordable, your partnership will not last long.
  4. Work consistency. If you sent five cases, but they differ in style, anatomy, or fitting, then you know they are not being handled by the same or similarly qualified technicians. With a high-consistency lab, all your crowns should fit very similarly, be it the first or the 100th.
  5. Genuine parts. Do they use the original parts or materials, for example, e.max products? Quality and durability could be compromised when substituted with generic versions.

Digital Technicians.

Ask if the CAD/CAM technicians are actually dental technicians with training and experience. Even CAD/CAM technicians should be ceramists, not just”computer guys.” For example, we trained and converted our ceramists to CAD digital designers in our lab. Our actual experienced dental ceramists design and contour all our crowns and bridges, including zirconia, e.max, and PFM.

Using the above suggestions, you may want to expand your search out of town to find a good quality, high-consistency dental laboratory. High-quality and high-consistency dental labs are hard to come by these days.

During the Pandemic & Future Forecast

Furthermore, the pandemic did not help a small dental lab. Some dentists took this opportunity to move their services elsewhere, mainly to a larger lab that offers more digital products, or even purchase a digital milling machine for their in-house use, eliminating using day-to-day lab altogether. Since this is just the beginning of digital dentistry, it will get worst. Since the late 2000s, when iPhone was introduced, many professional photographers were slowly facing out their business. Today, there are not as many professional photographers as pre-smartphone period. With a smartphone, you can take as many as 100 photos to get one picture you like, which is even better than hiring a professional photographer. However, some of the most talented photographers are still in business and doing well. Similarly, talented and skilled dental technicians will be around in the future.

Old School Dentists

Converting to digital dentistry is not as easy as for some old-school dentists. Rather than facing this challenging transition, some opt-in this opportunity to retire early. In order to be fully digitalized, dental clinics and laboratories have to be digital-ready, but both require the same technology and compatible format.

Here are some of the main benefits of digital impression

  • Transmitting an impression to the lab is just like an email. The lab can be on the other side of the world—no hassle of pickup or shipping to the lab.
  • Patient comfort. Making a non-digital PVS impression uncomfortable to some patients, if not irritating.
  • Prevent retaking impressions due to impression material-related issues such as bubbles, voids, distortion, etc.

iDental Lab, A Digitally Advanced Dental Lab

At iDental Lab, we selectively choose to work with a few quality, patient-minded dentists worldwide. It is the reason why our clients stay with us until they retire or sell their practices. Our clients who have been with us for many years retire yearly. Therefore, we are looking for similar, high-quality-minded dentists to replace them.

Challenges & Obstacles

Dental laboratory businesses in the United States face many challenges. First, lack of properly trained technicians and capital expenditures related to catching up with digital technologies. Second, followed by steep competition from offshore laboratories. Honestly, most small dental lab businesses are struggling with its existence. It’s sandwiched between large laboratories and digitally equipped dental clinics, constantly threatening our trade. Ultimately our only survival is our skilled technicians since no large dental laboratories or machines can replace or compete with us. No matter how advanced the technology is, we will exist for many decades as we have done for four decades.

Do We Need More Regulations?

Of course, only strict regulation by a government agency will help fend off competition from offshore companies. But do we really need more regulations? In most small laboratories, like iDental Lab, we strictly rely on the raw materials, components, and parts approved or cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, we comply with FDA’s manufacturing guidelines. For example, investigating the root cause of product failures and taking appropriate corrective actions. Therefore, more regulations are not the answer to a dental lab business. In addition, any other regulations are not feasible as dental laboratories must follow precisely licensed dental professionals.


This article discusses the dental laboratory industry in general, including challenges, future survival, digitalization, globalization, and more. It’s not to be a particular lab or laboratory. However, it’s based on a few decades of experience as a dental lab owner. Furthermore, the writer bears no responsibility for the contents. It’s written solely for your entertainment as one person’s opinion. In addition, all claims are unsubstantiated or unsupported. Please consult with experts and professionals. All contents are original. Coping, tempering, or using any parts of the contents without written permission is prohibited by federal law. Contact us if you have any questions.