Burbank Dental Laboratory (BDL) is constantly making
improvements to keep up with materials and technology
advances. Herein, we talk to David French, Vice President of
Marketing, to learn more about the lab, its new Smart 1 fee
structure and what the future looks like for the Los Angelesbased
Burbank Dental Laboratory's story is a classic
American success story. Can you tell me a little about
French: For more than 65 years the Sedler family has been
dedicated to excellence in dentistry. Beginning in the former
Soviet Union and continuing for more than 34 years in the
U.S., today Southern California is home to Burbank Dental
Laboratory, Inc., The Advance Technology Center and the
Oral Design Laboratory of Los Angeles. All three of these labs
are a result of the Sedler families' passion for dentistry. The U.S
journey began with Burbank Dental Laboratory, founded by
Ilya and Irina Sedler in 1979. In 1984 their son, Tony Sedler,
took over and began to develop the lab into the nationally
known and respected lab it is today. Tony began to transition
the lab into a modern, full-service cosmetic laboratory, building
on the existing product line of conventional PFM and denture
restorations. He began by embracing the best of the new
all-ceramic restorations and training and recruiting the most
talented technicians in Southern California. The development
took another leap in 2008 when Andrew Sedler, Tony's son,
joined the Burbank team to work on the development of
CAD/CAM and digital dentistry.
In 2009, in the middle of the nation's economic turmoil,
Burbank began to plan for major investments in technology and
infrastructure to prepare for the next decade. Tony and Andrew
wanted to stay on the cutting edge of technology. However, they
were quite adamant that as the technology developed, aesthetics
and craftsmanship remain a key focus. As always, the numberone
priority remained, to deliver maximum support of our customer
needs. Their mandate was that technology must facilitate
an increase in quality, consistency and technicians' ability to
develop individual artistic elements for each case. This was the
beginning of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), a facility
that houses our implant abutment, bar milling center and our
state-of-the-art education center.
Along the way, while networking internationally, Tony met
and created a strong alliance with Willi Geller, one of the greatest
ceramist in the world. This relationship allowed Tony to spin
off a boutique lab on the campus of USC, the Oral Design
Center of Los Angeles (Willi Geller's Exclusive Lab Brand). That
is when Yana, Tony's wife, joined the team as the on-site manager
and liaison at the USC laboratory. Yana had a rich background
in business management and a family tradition in
dentistry as well.
How has Burbank grown as a company yet managed to
keep the one-on-one relationship with the dentists and
French: The customer service concierge team was developed in
order to assure a one-on-one relationship with our clinical teams.
These teams consist of three key contacts for our dental offices:
account representatives, technical advisors and personal customer
concierges. The job of this team is to communicate, coordinate and
assure the delivery of consistent results. With these teams in place,
each office's preferences and personalities become well known by
the members of the concierge team. It is like a small mom and pop lab feel for the clients and the results reflect the individual attention
of an intimate, high quality lab.
Dentistry is changing and evolving so rapidly. How
is Burbank facilitating the clinical team in keeping
up current trends in restorative materials and
French: Dentistry is changing at an ever-increasing rate.
Technology and materials are being introduced continuously.
Education is the bridge to this rapidly approaching future of
new materials and techniques. In 2009, in order to assist clinicians
in keeping up with the need for information, Burbank
built a state-of-the-art education facility named The Advanced
Technology Center (ATC) for dental education. For nearly four
years we have hosted some of the best and brightest teachers in
dentistry like Dr. Brian LeSage, Dr. Ed McLaren, Dr. John
Sorensen, Dr. Ara Nazarian and Sandy Pardue, just to name a
few. We wanted to make the move into the future of dentistry
with our doctors as a team. Our educational facility is one way
that we are accomplishing this goal. The topics include a variety
of implant programs, practice management in today's world,
CAD/CAM and virtual solutions, cosmetic dentistry, digital
imaging and dental marketing concepts.
Dental implants are growing in usage. What has
Burbank done to address this growing need for
French: We recognize that the dental implant market is a
huge growth area for our doctors. In addition, we acknowledge
that it can be intimidating to jump into clinically, as well as
aggravating to work out the costs and steps with the laboratory.
Smart 1 is Burbank's all-inclusive fee implant restorative solution.
The Smart 1 approach to implant abutments, bars and
restoratives has been designed to simplify both the technical
processes and the lab fee experience. In many instances, a case
will have one line item on the invoice that includes everything
for a completed implant case. The greatest advantage is the clinical
team can begin to accurately estimate the lab fees before
they develop a treatment plan and give a patient a quote. With
Smart 1 the clinician can focus on the patient's treatment and
not be concerned about lab fee surprises.
We are currently in production of zirconia, titanium and
chrome cobalt; abutments, bars and hybrid frames. It is a very
exciting thing to be able to manage and control our whole
implant restorative effort in-house.
What is Burbank doing to facilitate its clients'
French: We are developing chairside guides to make sure
the clinical team and our laboratory team are on the same
page. Currently we have two guides produced: Implant Lab
Fee Calculator Worksheet and Cosmetic and Restorative
The Implant Calculator is a form that can be used as a chairside
tool to build an estimate of what the laboratory fees will be.
It uses Smart 1 all-inclusive fees and then builds on them with
line-item upgrades for each case's special needs. The goal of this
calculator is to give the clinical team the ability to quickly and
accurately estimate what the lab fees will be on any given case.
It tends to estimate high so that when all is said and done, there will be no surprises on the lab bill, unless it is happily lower than
the calculator projected.
The Cosmetic and Restorative Success Guide is a laminated,
two-sided, step-by-step guide for each appointment. It includes
the steps, records required and what the lab will deliver. We
want the clinical teams to know what records we need and what
they can expect back from us. Chairtime is valuable, so we don't
want doctors to waste an appointment time just to collect a
record that was missed in order to complete the next step. We
believe that this guide will increase efficiency and multiply
As a growing laboratory, how do you maintain such a
high level of quality?
French: Excellence and five-star customer service are core
values of Burbank Dental Laboratory. Those core values have
been the guiding light for the entire history of the lab.
Additionally, eight years ago Burbank embarked on a mission
to become one of the very few labs that have a Quality
Management System in place, governed by the International
Standards Organization (ISO). This is a rigorous system that
involves external third-party auditors, mandatory internal monitoring
and tracking to assure the highest quality materials and
What are some of the advances in laboratory materials
and techniques that Burbank is offering today?
French: Zir-MAX.M is Burbank's proprietary full-/monolithic-
zirconia and is one of America's leading full-zirconia
restorations. Full-zirconia and CAD/CAM restorations are certainly
the biggest growth area for us as a lab and are the most
exciting in terms of clinical results. The whole industry is transitioning
to CAD/CAM restorations, and Burbank is “all-in”
with its commitment to this technology. Burbank does not
want to just go with the flow though, we want to be a positive
trendsetter. We did not want to merely offer a bland zirconia
restoration, we wanted it to be distinctively better than the
mass-produced zirconia crowns we saw on the market. We
initiated an ongoing global search for the best zirconia we
could find. Zir-MAX.M was born and has received a positive
response from our customers and many industry representatives
because of its translucency, beautiful color blends and
vitality. In the past four years, Zir-MAX.M has evolved and
improved, and now we have a second tier - Zir-MAX.M
Smiles By Design (Z-SBD). This restoration has color infiltrated
by hand in a strategic transitioned manner. This method
yields a layered look that has depths up to 1.5mm. This benefits
our dentists because the color will not be adjusted away if
there is occlusal adjustment required. The Z-SBD restoration
is also a polished restoration, which complies with what most
clinical research defines as delivering the best wear rates for
What is in store for the future at Burbank?
French: We are sourcing materials and technology from all
over the world. Virtual, cloud-based solutions are definitely part
of the comprehensive plan for the future. There will be implant
planning solutions that will allow the Burbank team to collaborate
with general dentists' teams and surgical teams. Make no
mistake, the technologies are only a means to an end. The gold
standard for Burbank is and always will be to remain customercentered
and to create raving fans using technology, artistic
craftsmanship and delivering world-class customer service.
For more information on Burbank Dental Laboratory,
or call 800-336-3053