When Mohamed Ali, DDS, was just out of dental school in 2018, he dreamed of opening a startup practice. “Whenever I had a little time on the weekend or Friday afternoon, I was doing research and building ideas,” he says.
With the support of Patterson, Ali quickly brought his vision to life with the opening of Lakeshore Dental in Minneapolis in 2019.
Working Together to Build a Practice With An Eye on the Future
Ali’s relationship with Patterson started by meeting with a territory rep, who took time to understand his vision, goals, needs and budget. Then the rep assembled a team of Patterson specialists to help Ali find first the right equipment and later the right technology for his practice.
Ali has a philosophy of treating patients with the best dental technology. “I am very futuristic, and in our work, I always think, how can we make things better? Technology is a tool to provide better care to our patients and also make our life easier,” Ali says.
However, as a recent dental school grad, Ali also was bound by a budget. A Patterson equipment specialist helped him plan and open his practice with the equipment that he needed to get going while also building out space to expand and add technology later. To get started, Ali bought used equipment and only used three of his six planned operatories.
Investing in Technology as the Practice Grew
In six short months, Lakeshore grew from zero patients to having a busy schedule and cash flow. Now, Ali was ready to make some technology investments, and an intraoral scanner was a good place to start.
He liked the intraoral scanner’s capabilities to provide faster, safer and more accurate scans. Another selling point was that patients prefer digital scanning to messy impressions, and software upgrades make it possible for the system to grow with a new practice that wants to expand.
Going All-in with CAD/CAM and CBCT
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Ali and his team took time to step back, pause and review their goals including those around technology. They discussed “things that were missing and new things we wanted to implement,” he says.
Ali was now ready to make a larger investment and worked with Patterson to establish Lakeshore as a high-tech destination for patients. After discussing the next steps, Ali invested in an integrated technology solution including an intraoral scanner, design software, a milling machine, a sintering furnace and CBCT for expanded imaging.
He wanted to provide the best possible care using the best possible technology, and this investment supported that goal. With a full CAD/CAM in-house solution he would no longer have to rely on labs, which can be time consuming, and he would be able to design restorations the way he wanted, giving him more clinical control.
To support his success, Patterson brought training to Ali and his team, and also connected him to a peer mentor who helped with CAD/CAM and CBCT integration workflow. Ali says, “Patterson has been wonderful … as we go through the decision process of getting technology and introducing it into our practice.”
The Positive Impact of His Investments
With his investments in technology, Ali’s practice has grown to full capacity. “Time is valuable in dentistry,” Ali says. Instead of using up chair time for a secondary permanent crown visit, he can see that same patient within one day and use what would have been the second visit for another patient. It’s a much more profitable schedule.
The technologies also support compassionate care, which Ali and his team take pride in delivering. “We listen to what patients’ needs are, the reason that they walked in our door,” he says. “Technology is a huge game changer. I’d say on a weekly basis, a patient comes in with a front tooth that needs to be replaced and we remove it, place an implant, and give them a temporary right away using our in-house technology. We have a lot of testimonials and before-and-after pictures of happy patients.”
Adapted from the Winter 2022 and Summer 2022 issues of Advantage by Patterson Dental.