Sometimes a “problem” is really a chance to think big. When it comes to making equipment decisions for a new practice, Patterson Dental territory representatives have the network of resources necessary not only to support anticipated services, but also to demonstrate opportunities to get ahead of the curve. In one practice, this led to including CAD/CAM technology from the start.
In the summer of 2021, when Kelly Elikofer, DDS, of Noblesville, Indiana, began to think about leaving her 8-year associate position to start her own general practice, she knew she wanted to be able to provide aligner services, with which she was already familiar. She also knew where she wanted to open her practice. But naturally, she had lots of questions, and some doubts. She needed trustworthy, expert advice to walk her through all the options and show her the full range of possibilities her interests and budget could achieve.
Dr. Kelly – as her friends and patients call her – knew that her best source of this advice would be her contacts at Patterson Dental. She began with equipment specialist Sean Jones, who laid out the pros and cons of buying an existing practice versus building a facility from scratch. He introduced her to a commercial real estate agent with experience and expertise in representing dentists.
Jones encouraged her to attend a Patterson Day of Experts at the A-dec facility outside of Portland, Oregon, where she could get out of the hustle, bustle and noise of everyday life and have dedicated time to focus on the project she planned for herself and her practice with experts who would accompany and guide her along the way.
Covering topics that range from office design to financing to technology, Patterson’s Day of Experts educational events are ideal for those dentists who are considering any potential major office changes, whether building new or remodeling an established practice.
“The Day of Experts really packs a lot of value into four days,” Bob Keedy, Dr. Kelly’s Patterson rep, explained. “We take an accountant and an architect and a real estate person, while also visiting ‘Disneyland for dentists,’ where they can just play in all these operatories. It really opened Dr. Kelly’s eyes to the possibilities.”
Broadening the Vision
With the ball now rolling, Keedy took the opportunity to encourage Dr. Kelly to set her sights beyond aligners and take her new practice a step further, straight into the world of CAD/CAM. “When we came back from Oregon, Dr. Kelly selected a lot of the equipment,” Keedy recalled. “And I knew she still wanted to get the digital impressioning system she was using in her current practice. I showed her the Planmeca system after we returned from Oregon because it was better for her budget and I just wanted to plant the seed.”
That seed took further root in February 2022, when Dr. Kelly attended a CEREC Accept event in Scottsdale, Arizona, to explore the idea of CAD/CAM in more depth. Designed to provide handson CAD/CAM experience in a collegial, educational environment, CEREC Accept brings together dentists from all over who are just starting to consider bringing CAD/CAM into their offices with those who have already successfully integrated it into their practice. The result is true peer-to-peer, clinically relevant communication about the real benefits and applications of the technology.
“Dr. Kelly makes friends with anybody, anytime, anyplace,” Keedy recalled. “She struck up a friendship with one of the mentor dentists there who just started really encouraging her and helping her understand how transformative CAD/CAM can be, particularly in a startup.”
“I promised that I wasn’t going to put a target on her back,” Keedy clarified. “I just wanted her to see the possibilities of a complete system versus digital impressioning only and to understand what her future could look like. But it was at Accept that she really became convinced. The patient experience and the value of having a full system really clicked with her.”
Embracing the Choice
Once Dr. Kelly decided that having a full CAD/CAM system was the way she wanted to go in her new practice, the question became, which one? After some consideration and consultation with Keedy, her peers and manufacturer representatives, she chose Planmeca for its ability to offer both restorative and orthodontic solutions.
“She can mill crowns in her office, and she can do orthodontics with the Planmeca system,” Keedy said. “That appealed to her. And the combination of quality and training and price led her to her ultimate decision.”
Dr. Kelly’s new practice opened its doors for the first time in June 2022, complete with Planmeca’s PlanMill. Although she’s still also working for her previous employer, Dr. Kelly has already started scheduling aligner cases and milling crowns in her own practice, as well as mastering the art of running her own business.
“I think the most gratifying thing about Dr. Kelly is her willingness to embrace fear and her courage to just kind of walk through it. She doesn’t act like it’s not there,” Keedy said. “She continues to learn to trust her gut and her instincts. And that’s what’s going to continue to make her so successful. I think she also embraces what the people she trusts tell her and understands when they’re trying to help. Her decision to open a scratch practice with full CAD/CAM is a testament to the power of the programs available from Patterson, and the army of good people who helped her make an informed decision and the best one for her circumstances.”
Learn more about CAD/CAM solutions
This article was originally published in Patterson’s fall 2022 Advantage publication