Corporate Profile: Burbank Dental Laboratory by Benjamin Lund, Editor Dentaltown Magazine

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 dental lab.

Burbank Dental Laboratory's story is a classic American success story. Can you tell me a little about its history?
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 their teams?
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 techniques?
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 dentists?
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'
successful results?

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 Success Guide.

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 successful results.

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 final output.

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 full-zirconia crowns.

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.

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