Amid the uncertainty of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, dentists have had to remain optimistic and find ways to persevere. The pandemic has brought many challenges to the dental world, but along with those challenges have come huge improvements to patient care, practice workflow, patient safety and new efficiencies.
Dental practices that have seen continued growth during this difficult time have largely turned to technology to maintain their success. Some have put current technologies to newfound use, while others have invested in new dental technology to bring in extra revenue. Here, we highlight three technologies dentists have relied on to keep schedules full and revenues up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Solea all-tissue laser
With the Solea all-tissue laser, dentists have kept production and collections up by performing new procedures and doing more same-day dentistry. Among its many benefits, dentists have found Solea to be of particular value in a post-COVID-19 environment. Solea provides dental practices significant benefits for both hard- and soft-tissue procedures as compared to the traditional drill. The all-tissue dental laser significantly reduces aerosols and splatter through less water flow and air pressure, kills viruses and bacteria wherever the beam comes in contact, and can reduce personal protective equipment (PPE) usage and enable efficiencies to save both time and money.
Anthony Le, DMD, owner of Victus Dental in Pensacola, Fla., has worked with Patterson since 2016. When asked what investment he has made that was a game changer for his office, Dr. Le was quick to credit Solea as a huge factor in his success.
“Solea laser has been unique in our office. It works very well in the pediatric world,” said Dr. Le. “We can do a lot of fillings without anesthesia.”
Besides the benefits of Solea to his practice, Dr. Le credits his relationship with Patterson as a key to the growth of his practice. In particular, Patterson has helped him with the financing side of investing in new dental technologies. “Patterson Financing is very, very easy; a bank is more cumbersome especially if you’re trying to grow quickly. Patterson has been a huge tool to get us equipment in the time frame that we need it.”
2. CAD/CAM technology
Another tool for enabling more same-day dentistry while improving workflow and precision within a dental practice is CAD/CAM technology. With appointments being spread out and precautions being taken, dentists are looking for solutions that help create a seamless workflow. CAD/CAM technology offers same-day dentistry and precise treatment, making it easy for patients to get the work they need done in one visit. Having practiced cosmetic and restorative dentistry for 38 years, James Klim, DDS, has made CAD/CAM technology a central focus in building a culture of confidence and productivity within his practice.
“CAD/CAM and digital platforms give me control,” says Dr. Klim. “Digital dentistry is a culture that transforms the whole office; and you think differently about your profession. You build confidence and clinical flow and culture. The systems are really there for us to help us be productive.”
3. Teledentistry and patient engagement software
From the rise in home-delivery services and online shopping to curbside pick-up options, people have come to expect touch-free experiences during the age of COVID-19. Recognizing this, dental practices have turned to practice management software to help create a largely touch-free patient experience. One such technology Ann-Marie DePalma, CDA, RDH, recently shared in Off the Cusp is teledentistry.
“Using teledentistry to triage patients during the crisis has been essential yet moving beyond the current time to continue to triage emergencies, conduct consultations or follow-up recommendations will be important,” writes DePalma. “Patients will appreciate the convenience of being able to discuss dental issues without having to drive to the office.”
But teledentistry is only one way that software can help provide a touch-free patient experience. In our Patterson: Restore. Rebound. Playbook II, we outline five ways to create a touchless practice including the use of patient engagement software for touch-free scheduling, improved office efficiencies, upfront communications, teledentistry and online billing.
Running a dental practice during a global pandemic comes with challenges, but the way the dental world is transforming to find the best way to keep patients safe and continue running a successful practice has been nothing short of amazing. By investing in the technologies outlined above, your practice will be well poised to survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
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