Join us for today’s episode of Kappler AND SurfCT Talks. Today we discuss the value of your own in-house dental lab and how to turn it into a production machine for your office.

Transcription below:

Paul Vigario: We’re ready, right? 

Holger Kappler: No, I’m not ready.

Paul Vigario: What’s the name of this one? What’s the name of this one?

Holger Kappler: That’s a good question. By the way. We’re live. That’s a good question was what is the theme today?

Paul Vigario: Designing a dental laboratory. In-house dental lab or something. Let’s just figure it out. We’ll keep it loose. Holger’s stretching his neck out.


Holger Kappler: Hey morning, Paul.

Paul Vigario: Good morning. Are you guys doing good?

Julia Kappler: Good! The stay-at-home order is finally over here in North Carolina.

Paul Vigario: Is it really??

Julia Kappler: Yes, Friday at 5:00 PM. 

Holger Kappler: Can you tell me how it is in California because I don’t know.

Paul Vigario: It’s still up! They actually extended it. So yeah, they extended it till September.

Holger Kappler: I think one important thing before we start, let’s try, let’s try to be under PG-13.

Paul Vigario: Okay. Okay.

Julia Kappler: I just won’t talk, we will try. We’ll try.

Paul Vigario: Well, I got a lot of comments last week on the, on the air muff joke. So people actually thought it was kind of funny.

Holger Kappler: I like, I like you doing this [motions to cover ears], this looks so funny. 

Paul Vigario: Earmuffs! My daughter is trained. I say air muffs, and she’s like trained to do that.

Holger Kappler: She’s well trained. I saw that. Yeah. It’s good. 

Julia Kappler: Apparently I’m not. 

Holger Kappler: So what’s the topic for today? 

Paul Vigario: So today we’re talking about dental office lab design. So bringing a lab into your dental practice. Should you do it? Should you not do it? If you do do it, how do you do it? I’ve seen so many doctors want to do it and it’s a different situation. I mean, some, you know the labs of the old days are small and messy. And that’s not the way it is now. And a lot of doctors don’t really understand that. For example, look at this first image here. 

Holger Kappler: You mean the closet? 

Paul Vigario: Yeah, exactly. It’s a closet. I mean, that’s not a lab, that’s a closet like the old days. And then for a more advanced lab in the old days, look at this dungeon over here. I mean, it’s like black and there’s like, pictures on the wall.

Holger Kappler: They have a lot to do! See that, they’re busy! They’re really busy like, hell yeah.

Paul Vigario: They’re busy, but look at that!

Holger Kappler: It’s just unorganized. 

Paul Vigario: Yeah, it’s unorganized and it looks like it’s in the back and that’s the thing, labs used to be in the back, and he used to be like, “Oh, we’re going to put the lab over here.”

But again, this is where technology is interesting. Like technology is educating patients that. To get good at aesthetics, not all the time, but a lot of the time you need to have the doctor and the ceramics work hand in hand and to, to shade match, you need to be like in like together, you need to collaborate with your ceramist.

And it’s hard to do that when your lab is not in-house, it’s away. And so doctors are now not only putting labs in their practice, but they’re actually taking them from the closet. They’re taking them from the dungeon and they’re making them fourth and center. And look at these over here.

Look at this, look at this image. I mean, this is beautiful. This is something you could show a patient and say, Hey, when you come here to our dental practice where we have an in-house lab and we work hand in hand to design a beautiful smile. Tell us a little bit about this project here. 

Julia Kappler: Okay. Yeah. So this project is actually a client in Texas with 10 operatories.

And for him, it was important to have every space looking nice, so to speak. So when we implemented his lab for us, it’s always important to look at every space, um, to how much space do we really need to have it as a productive and efficient space. And in the past for a laboratory is a lot of times it would just be neglected because it was not being used. But now with all the technology that we’re using, especially here, you can see there have two Ceric Milling units, they have a 3D printer, you need the space in the house to put that technology to use. And instead of sending that Milled piece out to a lab you just work with it in house, which makes you more independent, and a doctor has a drive there to work with it. 

Paul Vigario: Yeah. And what I love about it is these images here have a lot more production going on than this image here. But even though there’s a lot more production, it looks clean, it looks elegant and, and everything is set up a certain way.

The CRX is set up a certain way. The printer set up a certain way. There’s an actual workflow here that is not only pleasing to look at. It’s pleasing to educate the patient, to explain why your practice is different than other practices, why they’re going to get a better result. And. It’s producing.

Holger Kappler: This is what let’s say. A lot of offices, don’t really understand that there needs to be a workflow in the lab as well. Everything in the lab in the past was just kind, as in this picture, we see here just not organized, just throw it in there and somebody is doing it one time and then the patient is coming back.

But with the new technology, we have, where you can do. At the same appointment, milling and get this thing done. The whole thing changed. So it needs to be streamlined. It needs to be organized. It needs to work fast because patients are expecting. 

Paul Vigario: the entire thing changes and the patient experience changes.

You know, you’ve got to, you’ve got a mouth guard, you’ve got a nightguard, you’ve got a tooth, something breaks and you can go to your dental practice and get it. Same day. Yeah. I mean, that’s just, that’s just phenomenal. 

Holger Kappler: The funny thing is, for pretty much all the dental offices we worked on planning. We fought really to get the lab as big as possible. And I can tell you, they opened the lab, they opened their office. And within a few months, we already talked about, Oh, it should have been bigger. Right? 

Julia Kappler: Yeah!

Holger Kappler: So this is really what happens 

Paul Vigario: Because it’s producing, it’s producing for you. And that’s the important thing.

And when you build a big waiting room and you don’t have a lab that can produce for you, that doesn’t make any sense. And that’s where design and technology come into place. 

Julia Kappler: Yeah. It’s the same for the Steri where we say one size does not fit all. And it’s the same for your lab. It has to work with the dentistry that you do with the treatment that you do and not just, Hey, I need a lab, let’s make it as big as possible.

And it all comes down to having a plan in place where you put the equipment that you’re using. And I think. Something that happened in the past is that you have a, you have space, a small lab, and all you do is put cabinetry in there so that you have a countertop, but there’s no plan in place where you put your equipment and which space is dedicated for what particular work and rethink that. The workflow in your lap is crucial.

Paul Vigario: Absolutely. And there’s no plan in place on how you’re going to get that information over to the lab. Like for example, when we work together, Doctor takes a picture on his SLR camera, full raw image. It goes up on the monitor so they can talk to the patient, but it drops in the lab. The ceramist already has it.

And then when you’re in-house and you walk with your patient and say, let me show you what makes us different. And you get to the ceramics, the patient’s blown away. Their image is already there. How did that happen? You took a picture and it’s already in the lab. He’s already working on it and you create this beautiful workflow, this beautiful, it’s like listening to an orchestra. It’s like this beautiful music and it’s your practice and harmony just flowing and everything’s coming together.

Holger Kappler: That’s a good example, I like that.

Paul Vigario: It’s phenomenal. Thank you. Because I mean, I just see it and it’s so funny. Like someone told me, you know, labs are boring to talk about there.

They smell, they don’t look right. It’s just, and I said, listen, they’re boring to talk about if you’re talking about cookie-cutter labs of the eighties and nineties. Okay. 

Julia Kappler: Yeah. 

Paul Vigario: It’s 2020. I mean, this is not boring stuff. This is exciting stuff. The idea that you can leave your practice, turn off all the lights, and that your lab will produce for you.

While you’re sleeping and, and it’s a game it’s like, sorry, one more comment. It’s just a game changer. 

Holger Kappler: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we see here in this picture. We have the milling machines in the lab. So remember when we talk, talk one of the last shows we talked about, Oh, let’s put technology just outside in the waiting area that we can showcase the technology. What, if you have to showcase the technology, your office does not look like technology. So your office is just maybe not designed the right way. That’s why it takes to be in the lab because from the workflow, it cannot be in the waiting area. 

Paul Vigario: Absolutely. 

Holger Kappler: And these are just these small things where the world is changing faster than many people realize. 

Paul Vigario: Yeah, absolutely. And the technology is driving the design, the design is complimenting the technology and then you get this orchestral, like, you know, like an orchestra, right? Like music.

Holger Kappler: It’s hand in hand. 

Paul Vigario: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing in your practice. When the left hand speaks to the right hand and they’re working together, it’s just a beautiful, it’s a beautiful thing.

Julia Kappler: I think that that is what’s important to really see the full picture. So we’re not just looking at this one piece of equipment that we want to showcase.

Okay. We don’t just look at one feature wall that we want to showcase. No, it’s our entire office from A to Z from where the patient walks in the door to the treatment, to when they go to the bathroom to when they leave, it’s the entire picture that we want to look at, that we want to showcase and that we want to work and be efficient and not just one area where we think that that has to be big and important.

Paul Vigario: Absolutely. It’s literally a system and the whole practice is a system that comes together to produce beautiful dentistry, beautiful music. I mean, it’s literally. A system. And that, that is what is so exciting. And I know some people that will see an image and they will just try to replicate that image. Right? And it’s not just what the iPhone is, not just what the iPhone looks like. Cause all the smartphones look like this now, but it’s what the iPhone can do. You know, it’s what it can do. 

Holger Kappler: So many people try to copy stuff from us. 

Paul Vigario: Yeah. 

Holger Kappler: That’s good and bad. It’s good to see that people understand it is.

Julia Kappler: It’s a compliment 

Holger Kappler: It’s a compliment. Exactly. Thank you. Like, like when you have a fake Louis Vuitton bag, fantastic. But on the other side, people really value what it is. They know. Only the real one is the right one and only the real one works the right way. And gives you the benefit that you did that you pay for.

Julia Kappler: Yeah. 

Paul Vigario:  Yeah. It’s just, it’s so beautiful when it all comes together and again, production being able to, to produce, give your patients better care, a better result, more efficiencies, and keeping that money in-house, keeping those dollars in house. That is how you’re going to change, in 2020. How are you going to make up for all this lost time? If you’ve got a lab. You can hit run on the printer more often and you can produce and that’s, and that’s the difference. 

Holger Kappler: That’s a good point. That’s a good point. Keep, keep the production in your office. Get the ROI and speed up in 2020. 

Paul Vigario: That’s it. That’s it. Well, guys!

Holger Kappler: Sounds good! 

Paul Vigario: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Holger Kappler: And then we have been good, right? PG 13?

Julia Kappler: Yeah. All good. All good. 

Paul Vigario: I was ready with the buzzer. I was going to go, bzz! It’s all good. It’s all good. Well, guys, that was really, really exciting. I mean, people don’t realize how exciting a dental lab can be, especially when it’s producing for you. So if I’m a business owner, 

Holger Kappler: One last statement! There is a lot more to it. So it’s not just looking at these pictures here and saying, Oh, I can do it. I can put the same system in place. It’s like when you see one of our service stations, they look like, okay, just a few cabinets in a layout that we’re put my sterilize washer in there. There’s a lot to it. As we said, everything is going hand in hand, the whole design from the workflow, the technology, the cabinetry, the treatment chairs, everything.

Paul Vigario: Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s cue up some orchestra music if we get a little orchestra music.

Holger Kappler: Sure!

Paul Vigario: Because it sounds so simple, but it’s all these pieces coming together so, guys thank you so much! What a great, what a great call today! What a great Sunday brunch. I really, really appreciate your time, and we’ll see you guys next week. 

Holger Kappler: Made my day, made my day. Alrighty, have a good Sunday!

Julia Kappler: Bye-bye!

Stay tuned and don’t miss our next Video about dental office design.