We speak to Pennie Hudson Ward from Archformbyte orthodontic laboratory, based in Sheffield about personal service, expertise and quality
Can you tell us about the history of Archformbyte?
PHW: ArchformByte has evolved to be the cutting edge orthodontic laboratory it is today over more than 45 years. Founded by Clive Hudson after he took up a post teaching orthodontics at Sheffield University. He started the original laboratory in a small cellar under his home in Sheffield in his spare time. This was in the days before cold cured acrylic so instead of cooking the Sunday roast in the kitchen, Brenda, Clive’s wife now of over 60 years, could be found flasking and packing appliances. Occasional visitors would comment on the ‘unusual’ aromas pervading from the kitchen where the orthodontic appliances were being created.
The business growth continued until larger premises needed to be found. A room was rented in the east end of Sheffield until after a few years, premises were purchased. There were a further couple of moves as growth continued until the current building was purchased in 2006 enabling a state of the art facility to be formed allowing the work flow through the laboratory to be managed with maximum efficiency.
How many staff and technicians does the company employ?
PHW: We are a close knit team of 10 staff with five technicians, sales and support staff.
What kind of work does your laboratory carry out, and what do you feel sets your work apart from the competition?
PHW: At ArchformByte, we make every appliance that straightens teeth! Functional, fixed, removable, Bulldog mouthguards, surgical wafers, antisnoring, digital models, model scans…in simple terms, if you can describe it, we can make it.
With the advances in technology at ArchformByte we have developed a truly integrated digital orthodontic solution.EasiSmile comprises three products:
C-Thru – our clear aligner system
Swift – our indirect bonded bracket system
Combi – the combination of C-Thru and Swift.
EasiSmile can be incorporated into any other treatment regime with any other type of appliance thus enabling the clinician to create a bespoke treatment for the best patient outcomes.
Our technical team are all UK qualified and GDC registered and being based in the UK are available during working hours by email, or at the end of the phone to help with any patient appliance design or query. Our number one priority is client satisfaction and we operate on a nationwide mail order basis where all costs are included.
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?
PHW: We are a client service driven laboratory and are constantly monitoring and listening to what clinicians want for their patients. Research and development is an integral part of our business model and all aspects of technology and their applications are always being reviewed.
When a new process or application has been proven under trial conditions within the laboratory, it is piloted to participating clinicians and then once approved, it is implemented. We have invested heavily in the developing 3D technology and its applications.
How has the work changed over the years? Do you see trends with the type of work you carry out?
PHW: The range of appliances available has developed over the years, and trends for appliance types vary but the designs and functionality remain the same. However, the fundamental change has been the advent of the digital software suites which enable a higher degree of manipulation of the ‘virtual’ teeth and thus increased predictability of treatment outcomes.
How can technicians best develop an effective relationship with their dentist clients?
PHW: Our technicians are always available on the phone, by email, or in person throughout the working day to discuss any aspect of a patient’s clinical requirements.
We proactively ensure that we develop close working relationships with our clients. We see ourselves as the ‘back office laboratory’ to all our clinicians; good communication is key because working together helps achieve the best patient outcomes and client satisfaction.
Professionally, what are you most proud of?
PHW: The ArchformByte team. A business is its people and we have a great team!
What has been the lab’s biggest challenge in its history?
PHW: It is vital to keep ahead of the technological developments both in manufacturing and the clinical arena in order to offer the ultimate in product quality, customer service and value for money.
Where do you see dental technology going in the next decade or so?
PHW: Three-dimensional technology and intraoral scanning will have a major impact on all aspects of dentistry over the next few years. The taking of impressions will become redundant as the digital scan takes over. A digital scan requires no physical storage, can be transmitted to the lab instantly electronically and is securely stored indefinitely with no deterioration in the quality of the data. Our dream – no plaster room required – will become a reality! A digital patient case can be discussed on screen by all interested parties without any physical models being required.
What are your top tips for maintaining a successful laboratory?
PHW: A successful laboratory provides clients with the ultimate in product quality, customer service and value for money.
For a free postal pack and appliance voucher email: [email protected] or call 0114 243 5400