Dean Ward, director of Innovate Dental Laboratory, shares what he likes most about his job, where he sees dental technology going in the next decade, and his top tips for running a lab.
Please introduce yourself
My name is Dean and I’m the director of Innovate Dental Laboratory in Oldham.
I am a certified trainer for Ivoclar and I’m also currently studying clinical dental technology at University of Central Lancashire.
Can you please tell us a little about how and when your lab was created?
Innovate was born in 2014.
I purchased a small, failing NHS dental lab, and, with investment and our fantastic team, we are now fully private.
How has the business grown since then?
The business has grown from NHS to 100% private.
What renovations/additions/changes have you made to your lab and why?
The lab had a full rip out and refurb during lockdown. It was all designed and fitted by Latem Metals.
What type of work does your laboratory carry out?
We offer prosthetics, implant retained dentures and ‘teeth in a day’.
In addition, we have a van which we have kitted out as a mobile laboratory. This is where we carry out our ‘teeth in a day’ cases.
What kind of high-tech equipment/technology do you use at the lab?
The lab is fully digital, so we are slowly incorporating this into our daily workflow.
All dentures are processed using Ivobase machines.
What have been the biggest challenges in establishing and running the business?
Covid-19 was our biggest challenge without a shadow of a doubt.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Changing people’s lives on a daily basis is what I enjoy most about my job.
What are your future aims?
My aim is to become a clinical dental technician and push the boundaries of dental technology to try and improve workflows and quality in this industry.
Where do you see dental technology going in the next decade or so?
I see digital equipment being incorporated into every lab.
I don’t think this will mean the skills and knowledge will be replaced, I just see it as another tool in order to improve results for our clients and patients.
What are your top tips for maintaining a successful laboratory?
Have the correct team with the correct attitude so everybody is working together.
In addition, work with clients that work with the same vision and demand the best in what we can offer.
Pushing comfort zones on a daily basis also maintains steady growth in skills, as I believe the biggest killer in our trade is complacency.
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