Dental Laboratory In The Limelight

Trevor Brooker, Clinical Dental Technician at Trevor Brooker and Partners in Harley Street talks about running a lab in London’s medical district.

Can you tell us a little about how and when your lab was created, and how the business has grown since then?
I have been based in the west end of London since 1985, first in small rooms in
New Cavendish Street, then moving in to Harley Street in 1995. Unfortunately the whole building needed refurbishing, which forced us to move in to our present laboratory in 2006. This was then a shell that we needed to strip and fit out from its previous use as a caretaker’s flat.
Our team has changed a lot in these years from just two people to our current
motivated and talented team.

How do you stay on top of the latest developments in products and techniques, and at what stage do you decide to integrate them into your lab?
As most technicians do I read journals and go to congresses, plus I lecture to post grad dentists and I am involved with a teaching academy. I have also been involved in the development and launch of different products – the latest being the Enigma Life teeth from Schottlander.
Depending on what the product is and how it will benefit the patient, our clients and the lab will determine the speed on which we take on new products. There is no set scale, it could be immediate to several months after launch.

Dental Laboratory in the limelight

Where did you train/qualify, and is there any further education you have undertaken since?
I obtained my TEC Diploma in Dental Technology in 1983 from Brooklands
Technical College, Weybridge.
I have also qualified as a Clinical Dental Technician, gaining my Diploma from
Royal College of Surgeons with Kent Sussex Surrey NHS Deanery in 2014.

What type of work does your laboratory carry out?
We only deal with private work. We are almost a full-service laboratory working on all forms of prosthetic, crown and bridge, implant and some maxillofacial work. The prosthetic work includes acrylic, cobalt chrome and combination/attachment cases with our crown and bridge department.
The crown and bridge department produces everything from acrylic temporary
crowns to digital zirconia implant bridges and anything in between. The implant work we produce involves all areas of the laboratory from overdentures to full-arch implant bridges and same-day conversions.

How many other people work at the lab?
My team consists of four qualified dental technicians, one trainee, one chemistry
graduate running the day-to-day admin and three part-time team members looking after accounting, HR and PR.

What type of high tech equipment/technology do you use at the lab?
Over the years we have been using the most up to date equipment and techniques available. We were the first laboratory to have a Dental Laser welder. We are on our second generation digital scanner, the current one being the 3Shape D2000.

What have been the major challenges in establishing and running the business?
In the west end of London I would say the main problem is finding premises that are suitable for a dental laboratory and the restrictions on expansion this can have.
Also the most important part of the business is the team and their training. It is
also very frustrating part when you have a natural turnover of personnel which you have appointed, trained and eventually they may leave, forcing you in to starting the process all over again.