Keeping your ceramicist in the loop

This month, Manrina Rhode stresses the importance of communicating effectively with your ceramicist as an aesthetic dentist – from shade taking to feedback when things go wrong.

Today I’m going to talk to you about the importance of good communication with your technician.

A dentist is not an island. We are a community and we need to work as a team to create really brilliant results. If you’re doing work that requires a technician, you can only be as good as the ceramicist that you use. And your ceramicist or your technician can only be as good your communication with them.

So firstly, if you’re sending impressions, make sure you’re sending beautiful clear impressions with beautiful margins that are not distorted. If you’re sending a scan, make sure you’ve had a look at it and you’ve made sure the margins are really clear. You can’t blame unclear margins on your technician if you’ve not sent them some really great work to use and to integrate.

Shade taking

Shade is also really important. If you’re not sending your patient to your ceramicist to take a shade, then you need to become really good at shade taking yourself.

Make sure you’re taking your shades in a natural light. If you’re not good at shade taking or you have any colour blindness, make sure there’s someone in your practice who can help you with shade taking. This may be your nurse, receptionist or treatment coordinator – whoever it is who can come in. You want to get the shade of the end product, but you also need the base shade.

I always take pictures of my preparations. I let the the ceramist know if there’s a darker area or differences in shades. Again, the technician can only be as good as what you communicate to them.

Building a relationship

When it comes to smile design, the more information you give your ceramicist about this patient, the more wonderful a wax-up you will get to create your temporaries. You can’t blame ugly temporaries on a ceramicist if you’ve not given them the information.

I think you get what you pay for. If you go to a ceramicist who’s not done very many cosmetic cases and isn’t very familiar with smile design, they might not be the best person to use for your cosmetic cases. So make sure you’re using the right person for the job.

Make sure you get on with your ceramicist. It’s good to build a relationship with them so they know the way that you work. It’ll make your work life much easier, just like it is with all your in-house team.

So write a really clear lab docket, make sure you’re sending shades over, take photos and send them over too. I’ll send a full file of photos, then videos. I just send them by we transfer to my ceramicist so they have as much information as they might need to create a really perfect result for me.

Pitfalls to avoid

If things don’t go right, if you get work that isn’t exactly what you were looking for, then also make sure you’re communicating that to your ceramicist. That’s how you’ll learn to work better together. So tell them what wasn’t perfect, and let them tell you why that may have happened. It may be something you’re not aware of. Then you can make sure it doesn’t happen in the future moving forward.

Also, make sure that you’re temporising your patients and you’re temporising them well. You can’t blame your ceramicist for something not fitting if you’ve not put a great temporary on and the tooth is over-erupted or moved slightly in that time. So your temporary restoration while the work has been made is really important.

Make sure you’re giving your ceramicist enough time to do the work. Don’t overload them. I’m guilty of trying to overload my master ceramicist with making too many veneers for me. Make sure they’ve got enough time to do things comfortably for you. They can only give you their very best if you give them the time to do the work.

Maybe book your work in advance, so they know how much work is coming in and they can make sure they’ve allocated time. Especially if there’s a specific ceramicist that you want to use for the work that you’re doing.

Basically, make sure you’re you’re treating your ceramicist as part of your team. They’re a really important part of the team.

Catch up with previous Aesthetic Dentistry Expert columns:

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