Matt Cushing on First Choice Dental Lab

Matt Cushing - First Choice Dental Lab

Matt Cushing always wanted to start his own business.

He first spent six years playing tight end and fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When it was time to retire from the NFL, the former football player had to decide “what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

A sales rep gig opened up in Chicago, and he grabbed it.

“I always liked the idea of sales—building relationships with small businesses, then acting as a trusted resource for them,” Cushing said.

When there was an opportunity to start his own dental lab a few years later, Cushing was thrilled. It was his own business, as he had envisioned, and First Choice Dental Lab was created in 2008.

“We were able to build it from the ground up,” Cushing said. “I won’t insult my technicians by calling myself a technician, but I’ve done everything in the lab from layering porcelain to crown design to metal finishing to night guards. You name it, I’ve done it.”

“So, I understand the dental laboratory business firsthand.”


First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service lab


First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab.

It offers dentists, dental practices, and dental support organization customers a full array of custom products. First Choice Dental Lab specializes in implants —whether they are screwed-retained products or angled screw-channel products.

The choice is up to the customer.

First Choice also has a new, 3D-printed night guard that has been very popular.

“As we push more into digital removables, we’ve got great options for our customers.”


First Choice Dental Lab at the forefront on dental trends


With the “explosion” of digital impressions in the dental industry over the last 10-12 years, Cushing estimated that 99 percent of the lab’s crown and bridge cases go through CAD/CAM.

More recently, CAD/CAM has impacted the lab’s removable department.

“Things are now going digital at a rapid rate, and we’re adopting those technologies.”


The very best customer service


But, it’s not just about the quality products. First Choice Dental Lab prides itself on offering superior customer service.

“We really focus on communication and building a relationship with each dental office,” Cushing explained. “We want to be a resource for that practice, not just a lab where they send a case and there’s never anyone to talk to. We want to be a resource to help that practice to run better.”

To that end, First Choice Dental Lab stresses three core principles:

  • Consistent quality
  • On-time delivery
  • Outstanding customer service

“We’re not a lab where you don’t know who you’re talking to,” Cushing added. “If our customers need help, they call us. Our staff is top-notch. Our people are what make us go.”


A digital future in dental technology


As First Choice Dental Lab team looks toward the future, and plans for success, it’s known that CAD/CAM shines brightly.

In addition to the use of CAD/CAM in the crown and bridge department, First Choice Dental Lab continues to stay up-to-date on new production methods, new implant techniques, and new implant materials.

Digitizing removables will be key in helping the lab grow.

Cushing predicts that “being able to digitize what we can to create a more consistent product for our dentist customers is really going to help us in the future.”

In addition to “great growth” in the implant business, First Choice Dental Lab is doing more full-arch reconstructive work. The team sees this as a “very important” part of its future growth as well.


Interested in merging with a larger dental lab?


First Choice Dental Lab would love to have you.

“It’s a consolidating industry,” Cushing said. “The number of labs in the United States has been shrinking for many years and it will continue to do so. We think there are some great opportunities to bring the right labs in with us.”

There is strength in creating a group of labs to be able to leverage technology, as well. Centralized manufacturing allows for specialization of each lab’s resources.

The cost of new dental lab technology is not insignificant, so being able to partner with other dental labs or act as a larger group can mean significant savings. There is also a benefit to needing fewer resources to keep up with the continual changes and improvements in dental lab technology.

“You can let each lab focus on what they do best,” Cushing added.

*If you are interested in selling your dental lab, or partnering with First Choice Dental Lab, please contact Scott Kaeser, VP of Corporate Development at for more information.


 Is First Choice Dental Lab hiring?


Yes! There are two current vacancies in our Downers Grove (west Chicago) office:

  • Removables Manager
  • Customer Service/Technical Support Representative

“If you can come in and fit our core values, you can be part of our team,” Cushing said. “We can train you on the rest.”

Contact Angie or Candace at (630) 541-7666 for more information about First Choice Dental Lab employment opportunities, or visit our careers page.


First Choice Dental Lab is a great partner


“We want to be a resource for our customers, and we want to be there to help dental practices run smoothly,” Cushing said.

“We know that the dental lab is in an important partner for every dentist and our goal is to be that ideal partner to ensure every day goes well for our dental customers.”



About First Choice Dental Lab®

We’re a full service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove & Downtown Chicago, IL. We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. From in-house work to outsourcing, we create smiles based on your needs and budget. We’re here to help you give your people a reason to smile!