When I ask lab owners what the number one thing they would like to see happen in their labs they frequently say; “I would just like to see everybody get on the same page.”
What does getting on the same page mean? Group agreement and harmony? Everybody doing the same thing? Everyone creating consistent quality? Simply doing what you ask? How about everyone just stop making mistakes? I think it is all this and more.
Getting on the same page is obviously not easy. If it were, more labs would already be there. For many labs and dental offices, too, it has been more of a desirable concept than an achievable goal.
When we look at the issue closely and examine the various failed attempts to achieve group agreement and harmony, one common denominator always shows up. Failed communication.
Back to the Basics
Getting on the same page absolutely requires clearly understood communication. It is not possible to get on the same page without first starting with words. Yes… words. Common dental words like cusp, fossa, pit, ridge and all the other words we use every day.
The fact is that technicians often don’t clearly understand their supervisors or each other for that matter. How could they ever get on the same page without a common understanding of the terms they are using every day?
Seeing is Believing
I suggest you try a test. Ask your technicians to write down their definition of the words I wrote above, cusp fossa etc.. If you get the same correct definition from each of them then you are on the way to being able to get on the same page. If not.. read on.
The fundamental of all technical work in dentistry is anatomy. After all, we are in the business of duplicating natural anatomy. There is much more to understanding anatomy than just copying the teeth on the other side of the arch. The words of anatomy need to be precisely defined to be clearly understood and communicated.
In PTC seminars, I have taught hundreds of lab owners, managers and key technicians and it is universal that most have misunderstandings of both the words and basic structure of anatomy. At the beginning of every course,the participants draw the occlusal anatomy of five posterior teeth. It is rare that it is done correctly. If the fundamental words and anatomical concepts are not clear to all of us, imagine the possible misunderstandings, and confusion when discussing even the most simple cases.
If you are curious about your technicians or even want to test yourself download the occlusal anatomy test sheet.
Have your technicians fill in the blank occlusal areas on the sheet and judge for yourself whether they could benefit from anatomy training.
The First Step to Getting on the Same Page
If you find that there are inconsistencies in their understanding of drawing anatomy and communicating it, PTC can help you establish the basis for getting on the same page. There are affordable programs specifically designed to fit any budget and training requirements.
PTC is dedicated to help your lab, regardless of size, become more efficient and create peace of mind for you.
Jim Mahan, CDT
President and CEO
PTC courses use our proven learning systems to help new and existing technicians quickly improve their technical ability to prepare for the demands of the new market place.