A high-tech practice? Prepare for your patients to be impressedFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 25th November 2021
For most dental practices, the technology debate can often be summed up in one question, “Is it worth the money?”.
The idea of spending at the moment, even if your revenue has stabilised, might be the last thing on a very long priorities list. For some time now, the digital dentistry market, alongside emerging technologies that promise to help you do things better, faster and generally make life easier, has been overwhelming. “Emerging” is important here – such is the speed of development in some areas, that practices and practitioners will be exercising caution, waiting for anecdotal feedback about how a new tool, or piece of equipment actually performed when used with patients.
The arguments for investing are strong, though. Information can be accessed easier (this relates to practice management processes, too). When used correctly, technology improves communication – between the dentist and dental team, between the dental team, patients and laboratory – because you can see more, then share what you see. The ability to see more improves diagnostics and the final result, also supports the stability of treatment and its ongoing maintenance. Technology enables efficient, smoother, safer workflows.
Yes – but what about the cost? Practices have been able to deliver exceptional care, and successful outcomes without spending more money on X, Y or Z piece of cutting-edge kit. “Value” in dentistry isn’t just about money either, it’s about the quality of the experience, so that patients stay loyal and recommend you, allowing you to grow and establish a reputation for excellence. Loyal patients are engaged patients, who will follow instructions and attend regular consultations. Loyal patients will accept a treatment recommendation because they understand it is necessary for their long-term oral health, for reducing their risk of dental disease and retaining their own teeth. Does technology really make a difference? If patient-practice-practitioner relationships are the foundation of great dentistry, surely there is no point investing in expensive technologies until this part of the structure isn’t rock solid? Should relationships be the focus, then, and where your marketing efforts should be concentrated?
Technology as a marketing tool
Do not underestimate how much of a selling point technology in the dental practice is, to patients current and new. If you have embraced digital solutions, it will not go unnoticed. It shows you welcome innovation and are willing to invest in anything that improves not only the patient’s comfort and experience, but also long-term prognosis of their treatment. From the convenience of online booking to the reassurance of having a matter explained, then illustrated, via the power of digital technology – this is seriously impressive, and a great marketing tool. So, shout about it on your website, social media… whatever you use to get your messages across and promote your practice.
It is useful to walk through a patient’s journey and try to see what they see. Your adult patients might still have painful memories – literally and figuratively – of childhood visits to the dentist; intimidating, unwelcoming reception areas, an array of medieval looking tools and hard-to-decipher X-rays and jargon to tell them why they needed a filling. Imagine instead, entering an uncluttered reception area, where information can be accessed immediately. Then onwards into the surgery, which has the latest equipment to make an accurate diagnosis, illustrated using cutting-edge wizardry so they can see and understand exactly what the problem is, supporting compliance with your treatment plan. When treatment is delivered, the clinician will then use a combination of their skills, knowledge and experience with carefully chosen technologies to ensure their time in the chair is as relaxing as it can be, swift, and that the outcome is a success.
Exceptional treatment is how you will grow, and technology can help you achieve this. We know the benefits of CAD-CAM, to fabricate accurate restorations, but in other fields, digital solutions are paving the way for upgraded dentistry that offer patients comfort, efficiency, success and value. In endodontics, there have also been visionary developments – the CanalPro™ Jeni, available from COLTENE, offers digital assistance for canal preparation, a “car crash” notification system that warns the endodontist, via an audible signal, when there is a danger of torsional fatigue. Its hi-tech touch screen is impressive, and this piece of equipment is also incredibly effective at speeding up the preparation process, but safely.
The arguments for investing in technology outweigh those against. The key is that technology not only improves results, but also the patient experience. Moving forward, post-Covid, it will be the practices that show they are committed to investment, to nurturing long-term relationships with loyal patients to keep them in good oral health for many years, that will continue to thrive. We’re all impressed with the wonders of digital innovation in ‘real’ life and for your patients (as well as the people who work, and who want to work with you) this translates to dental practice life too.