For the most part that is not the case. A dental lab must buy
the equipment. From what I understand about trade shops in
jewelry, I suspect that the a dental lab operates in much the
same or similar way. Dentists send their work to a lab who
manufactures the restoration and returns the completed work. I
am a crown and bridge and ceramic technician, I make crowns and
bridges, fixed (glued in) restorations. Some are all metal and
some are veneered with porcelain. I am not a fast technician
but I’m not slow either, and on a good 12 hr day I can complete
3-4 ceramic crowns or units of a bridge. My fee to the dentist
would be $375 to $550 depending on the weight/type of the metal.
The labor cost of the restorations, excluding the metal, is
$290 to $400. From that you must pay the delivery service, the
dental supply house, equipment loans and amortization, taxes,
both halves of the Social Security, a considerable electric
bill, and all the little nickel and dime expenses that never
seem to end. If I net $175 to $200 I am doing very well. That
breaks down to $14.59 to $16.67 net for 12 hrs working for all
straight time. If you are an employee you get time and a half
for the last 4 hours. Sixty to eighty hr weeks can wear you out
in a hurry, and pretty soon it becomes harder to meet the quota.
I’ll bet that you didn’t know that when a dentist takes an
impression and sends it to the lab and gets the finished work
back and it fits the models made from the impression but either
doesn’t fit in the mouth or the dentist is not a good enough
mechanic to find out what is impeding the seating, he sends it
back. For the most part he expects it to be remade at no cost
to him. Imagine a builder who builds a house exactly like a set
of blueprints states, and when he is done the architect changes
the plans, wants it rebuilt and he expects you to eat the cost!
Many labs have a 50/50 half cost remake policy. I really am not
bitching. I chose this profession and no one is holding a gun
to my head to stay.
The fee for that 4 unit ceramic bridge from the dentist will be
anywhere from $2800 to $4500. Although this seems exorbitant,
think about it. Dentist go to school and borrow thousands to do
it. To equip one dental surgery costs about $150,000 and maybe
more. You need at least 2 of these to operate anywhere close to
efficiently. Couple that with malpractice insurance, salaries
of help yadda, yadda, yadda. I grant you that there will be
very few tag days held for dentists. They are, for the most
part though, dedicated, hard working individuals. Just as our
skill level varies from person to person and from day to day, so
You know when I started my apprenticeship about 30 years ago, I
started at $2.00 per hr. To put that in perspective, a friend
of mine was stocking shelves at the neighborhood outlet for a
large grocery chain and he started at $3.75 hr. PART TIME! A
starting apprentice electrician was starting at over $7.00 per
hour. One more thing, I had to join the dental tech union.
They were one half of the union. The other half were grave
diggers who made $1.60 per hr more than we did plus they had
dental insurance and we didn’t!
N.R.A. Endowment &
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor