President's Message

Hello fellow members of the Washington State Dental Laboratory Association. Happy summer! I hope everyone had a nice spring and is enjoying this wonderful sunshine we are having. 

As President of our Association, I value every new and existing member and appreciate the opportunity we have to build new friendships and network. As our organization grows, it's important that we take advantage of the opportunities to strengthen those connections and there is no better place than at our spring and fall education meetings. Our next chance to meet in person will be on Friday, October 6, 2023, during our Business Roundtable at the Tulalip Casino & Resort. Our board is also working on some exciting things for the Annual Spring Meeting in March of 2024, so please watch for more information and be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to acquire continuing education credits and visit with your peers.

We are looking to add members to our WSDLA board and in order to see how the board operates, our meetings are always open to member guests. Serving on the board provides a chance for you to have your voice heard and for you to help shape our Washington State Dental Lab Community. If you are interested, please contact the Association office or any of our board members.

Our new Association Management Company (AMI) is doing a fabulous job and has jumped right in to keep us organized and informed. If you have any questions or needs, please reach out to Megan by phone or by email.   

I hope all of you get to enjoy some much-deserved time off this summer—spending time doing something out of the lab with people you care about! 

Remember, our board is here for you, and we appreciate you!

See you in the fall,

Sherill Aumiller, CDT

Intra-Oral Scanning:

Changing the Lab as We Know it

Written by: Nate Seimars, Whatcom Dental Lab

If you haven't heard the news; IOS (intraoral scans) are here to stay! 

I'm sure you’ve gotten “the call” from a client that you least expected asking which scanner you thought would be best for them. Blame it on the “dental boom” after Covid, FOMO (the fear of missing out), or simply the fact that dentists are looking for new ways to grow their businesses; scanners have been flying off the proverbial shelves at a record pace over the last 3 years. The dental industry is heading into a new digital era, are we heading in the right direction? 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the number of dentists who use intraoral scanners has risen from 34% in 2019 to 53% in 2022, and there is no doubt those numbers will continue to rise. The ADA also found that 70% of dentists who purchased scanners reported that the reason why was to help improve the efficiency of their practice. The hope is to have the ability to train their staff to take impressions faster and achieve predictable results using an IOS compared to traditional PVS ( polyvinyl siloxane) impression taking. PVS can be difficult, technique sensitive, and time consuming to learn. 

With the Ability to Scan Comes the Opportunity to Mill. 

Dentists know this, and so should we. The concept of a “same day crown” is very appealing to patients. Dentists can use this not only to speed up turnaround time, but as an effective marketing tool. According to a study done by the National Institutes of Health in 2021, 27.2 % of dentists reported the presence of a chairside milling machine in their office. And who do they call first to help them with their shiny new CAD/CAM toys? You guessed it, their trusty dental lab. I have even been asked by one of my own clients to teach a group of their dental assistants how to design, mill, and finish a crown. In short, how to become a tech overnight. It's in our nature to provide solutions and want to be helpful, but are we helping ourselves out of a job? 

Adding insult to injury, even though scanners are improving the speed at which dentists can see patients, I find that a large number of scans are not sufficient to produce a high quality restoration from. Data holes, unclear margins, distortion, misaligned bites or no bites at all, are just some of the problems we see. Don't get me wrong, scanners can be a wonderful tool to have, but that's all they are, another tool in the tool belt. As with the use of any tool, the finished product comes down to the skill of the operator. 

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join ‘Em! 

If your lab does not currently have the ability to receive intraoral scans and print digital models within the next five years it's safe to assume you may lose accounts/business because of it. Can we really blame the dentists for diving into the digital world seeking to maximize their profits, increase their speed and show patients that they're on the cutting edge? 

This shift will undoubtedly affect your lab’s workflow too, and maybe for the better. We can say goodbye to bloody impressions, pouring stone models, and trimming stone dies, thus reducing the need for experienced technicians. There will be no need for pickups, only delivery, increasing the lab's efficiency as well. 

As with PVS impressions, it is imperative that we carefully inspect every IOS impression sent to our lab in order to ensure a quality outcome. Dentists have a challenging job (no matter what they use) to fully capture all the information accurately in a patient's mouth in order to give us, the lab, what we need to succeed. 

So How Do We Respond? 

We should always seek to strengthen our relationship with dentists and pass on what we learn through continuing education, regardless of the outcome. So help them when they need help, and answer their questions as best you can. We will not win by keeping what we know to ourselves. Show your clients through good communication, service, and superior quality, that you are an irreplaceable member of their team. 

Despite these shifting times dentists still need good crown and bridge labs. We are an integral part of the dental industry, in which we want to excel, not only in its efficiency, but its quality. Because when it comes down to it, quality is what is best for our patients, regardless of the tools we use to get there. 


 Nassani MZ, Ibraheem S, Shamsy E, Darwish M, Faden A, Kujan O. A Survey of Dentists' Perception of Chair-Side CAD/CAM Technology. Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Jan 13;9(1):68. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9010068. PMID: 33451003; PMCID: PMC7828474.

Revilla-León, Marta & Frazier, Kevin & Costa, Juliana & Kumar, Purnima & Duong, Mai-Ly & Khajotia, Sharukh & Urquhart, Olivia. (2021). Intraoral scanners: An American Dental Association Clinical Evaluators Panel survey. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). 152. 669-670.e2. 10.1016/j.adaj.2021.05.018.

Dental Laboratory Registration Renewal

Registration Renewal Reminder

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted their registration renewal documentation. For anyone who still needs to send in their renewal paperwork, just a friendly reminder that it does take some time to process renewals. It is recommended that you submit your paperwork as soon as possible to ensure your registration doesn't expire.


RCW 70.352.060 requires all dental laboratory registrations be renewed yearly prior to July 31st. It is recommended that renewal requirements be submitted early, as it takes time for the department to process renewals. Renewal forms are being mailed to your address of record and will be available on the dental laboratory website shortly:  Dental Laboratories | Washington State Department of Health

Updated Renewal Forms

Over the last few months, the department has been working on streamlining the dental laboratory renewal form in order to reduce the amount of time required to renew. Our department has discovered that the renewal notices mailed in April 2023 included outdated renewal instructions. New renewal forms and updated instructions are being mailed to your address of record. If you have already submitted your renewal on the old form, you do not need to resubmit any documentation. We will process your renewal with the old form. If you have not submitted your renewal, please use the new form.

Please send any questions to Bruce Bronoske, Jr. Dental Laboratory Program Manager at [email protected]

A Company's Culture is From Within

Written by: Kaila Nakanishi, CDT, Nakanishi Dental Lab

We spend a significant amount of time at work, so for Megan and I, it's very important that work is a trusting, collaborative and happy place to be. We truly believe a company's culture is from within, and it starts with finding the right people that embody your company culture. Everyone needs to ooze out the same energy. You can have an employee that meets all the "metrics" in production and quality but doesn't fit your company culture, something will not feel right. We focus on hiring people with the right attitude and the rest falls into place—with a bit of training and coaching of course! 

With the right people, it’s easy to create a positive work environment but it does take intentionality. 


This year we are celebrating 70 years of being in business and because of that, we have monthly activities with our team. Bowling, movies, wine tasting, potlucks, axe throwing, etc... If our employees choose to participate, they get a poker card and at the final event, everyone will present their best five card poker hand. We also have lots of fun prizes including an Alaskan cruise! It's been a really great way to encourage participation, build hype around events and give people something to talk about with their coworkers. Mind you, this is not something we can do yearly, but every decade we will go big.  


Don't think you need to implement the same type of events and awards to build your team and create a place where people are excited to come to work! There are simple and inexpensive ways to accomplish the same results! Here are some of those ways: 


  • Company potlucks 
  • Fist bump Fridays 
  • Show case successful cases on the TV screen in the lab 
  • Create various monthly fitness challenges by utilizing the Wellable App 
  • On Fridays, talk about upcoming events, birthdays, and work anniversaries. It only takes ten minutes but it's a great way to connect with the team! 
  • Ice cream truck 
  • Coffee cart 
  • “Technical Talk Tuesday” where we have different CDT questions on the TV screen in the lab 
  • Publish a monthly employee newsletter to discusses HR topics, introduces new employees, holidays, etc... 
  • Annual chili cook-off. (This year our fixed manager is the champ and she has a trophy to prove it!) 
  • Custom stickers designed by our talented staff 
  • Summer parking lot party for our employees and their families   
  • Wear our Nakanishi logo day 
  • “Sweep Dogs”- If the Mariners sweep, we pick up Costco hot dogs for lunch 

WSDLA 2023 Roundtable

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Annual Management Roundtable at the Tulalip Resort Casino on Friday, October 6, 2023!

Some of the topics at this years roundtable include; Growing your small business, Building a strong culture within your lab, Which management software is right for you, and Marketing your lab for success—all topics that can be helpful and transformative! We hope you plan to join us! 

Please reach out to one of the WSDLA Board Members if you have questions about this event or suggestions for topics to be covered at future events! 

Connect with WSDLA!

Washington State Dental Laboratory Association

5727 Baker Way NW Suite 200

Gig Harbor, WA 98332

Phone: 800-652-2212

Email: [email protected]


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