I had an interesting exchange with da Vinci Studios, a dental laboratory in West Hills, California. I have posted on my main website a page about da Vinci veneers where I was mildly critical in some respects. I had a time when I was practicing that they gave me beautiful results, but then the level of quality dropped off. It bothered them that I mentioned that they have some mediocre technicians, especially since my comments show up #3 in Bing when you search on “da Vinci veneers”. They offered me the opportunity to discuss any questions I may have about their business.
I felt like that type of response demonstrated class, and I wanted to give them kudos for responding in that way. I do believe that they are a very quality-conscious dental laboratory and I think they may very well have ironed out the quality-control issues that I thought were fairly serious at the time I switched from them.
I still firmly believe, though, that a patient should not select a dentist merely because he or she uses da Vinci veneers. There are many excellent dental technicians who are very artistic and no one establishment has a monopoly on them. Besides, a dental laboratory cannot make up the difference for a dentist with no artistic ability who can’t communicate what he or she wants. A poor dentist plus a great dental lab equals a poor restoration. A great dentist with a poor dental lab also equals a poor restoration, but that great dentist will end up dumping the poor lab. As a dentist, I had a relationship with a local dental technician who was giving me excellent results, but then we took on a very challenging case that was beyond her ability, and despite several re-dos, she never could get it looking beautiful. So I cut my losses and dropped the case with her. I went to da Vinci, paid the extra lab fee to have it re-done, and we ended up with a great result. So I continued then with da Vinci. That is what excellent cosmetic dentists will do. They take responsibility for the results and will insist that the lab give them beautiful results or they will switch. In the end, the best results come from a dentist-technician team who understand each other and have great synergy.
Something that Chester Garcia, CEO of da Vinci, said in his letter reinforces this point: “Part of our work is artistic in nature. For this reason, some dentists may feel that a particular restoration does not have the exact appearance they are looking for…. When this occurs, da Vinci works with the dentist to repair or remake the restoration until it has the perfect color, shape and feel that the dentist envisions.”
That is how it works. The dental lab works for the dentist. If the dentist can’t envision the beautiful result, the laboratory can’t make up for that difference.