dental lab management 101: organizing cases

As your lab becomes busier keeping track of your caseload can get overwhelming. Many lab owners find themselves asking, “How can I better organize and manage my cases?”.

Over the years Whatcom Dental Lab has grown exponentially to better serve our community, and we were forced to refine our case-flow systems. Creating an effortless workflow helps ensure that cases don’t slip through the cracks.

Our caseflow management system has 2 key players: Case pan sorting and lab management software.

Organizing case pans seems simple enough in theory, but when you are dealing with shelves full of case pans, being handled by multiple staff, it needs to be precise.

The colors of the case pans have different meanings. This helps us identify what kind of material the cases (teeth/removable items) are going to be created out of according to the Dr.s preferences.  

It is easy to assign and find cases with our color coded case pan numbering system.

In our crown & bridge department:

  • Purple= Combination(ex: gold/zirconia, gold/eMax, or Wax Ups)
  • Blue= Zirconia
  • Yellow= Gold 
  • Green=: eMax
  • Black= PFM
  • White= Implants 

In our removables department:

  • Gray= Partials 
  • Brown= Dentures 
  • Purple= Relines & Repairs 
  • White= Flippers 
  • Red= Night Guards
  • Extra Large Pans= Combination cases that require fully adjustable articulators.

We are sure to have a clearly visible case pan number on every single pan to ensure there is no mix up amongst similar cases.Every part of the case, and every section of the model is labeled with the corresponding case pan number. 

Our lab assistant Madi assigns the case pan numbers to each case and then enters them into our lab management software.

Each case pan will also have a prescription attached to it with doctor and item information(what tooth # we will be making, etc). All information and model work is completed and entered into our lab management system LabStar

With LabStar we are able to keep track of due dates. We print out a list of what cases are due each day so we can check off that each case is completed on time. We also look ahead at the workload for upcoming days to make sure our technicians are on track to complete each step in a timely manner.

With each case entered into the software, invoicing is seamless as statements are created with just a few clicks. Keeping track of which cases have been paid for is also straightforward. 

If a doctor calls about a case regarding the case itself or billing, it is easy to locate. Every member of our staff benefits from our caseflow systems. They report that it is super easy to follow and it makes the flow of cases we receive feel effortless.

Setting up these systems can take a bit of time initially, but the time and efficiency gained is well worth the effort.

Do you have an effective case-flow management system? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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