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Tips from the Top

Issue: Summer 2011
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Tips from the Top – E4D CAD/CAM Technology

I worked with a Mississippi dental practice that wanted to convert their office to digital. As they weighed the decision, I pointed out their monthly lab fees made them an excellent candidate for an E4D Dentist.

They accepted an invitation to tour the Dallas E4D facility to see the chairside technology in action. They were impressed with the quality of the restorations and during that visit, they also became convinced the E4D Dentist would not just pay for itself, but would also fund all of the digital technology they hoped to purchase!

Within one month, they purchased the E4D Dentist, Dentrix, computers for the operatories, and other upgrades, taking their office from a traditional, non-digital practice to cutting edge technology–all paid for with savings from the E4D!

Substantial savings like this are typical among the practices I’ve worked with. On average, the E4D Dentist will reduce lab fees from 65% to 85% each month and, for some practices, that percent can go even higher.

Some of my clients have positioned their milling machines to be a visible centerpiece of the office. The patient response is amazing as they watch their crown being milled. It creates a buzz in the office and powerful word-of-mouth once they step outside as these patients share the experience of receiving a beautifully designed, precisely fit permanent crown in just
one visit.

 

Tips from the Top – Office Design

Jim Hammon

Equipment Sales Specialist
Henry Schein Dental
Boston, Massachusetts

I was meeting with a dentist one evening while we were planning his new office when he said to me, “How would you like to be in the only profession where no one ever looks forward to his or her visit?” I thought for a moment and said,“Well, Doc, I’m not sure that is true, no one looks forward to seeing the mortician either.” The point I was trying to make was he was right, I couldn’t remember anyone ever telling me, “What a great day today, I’m going to see my dentist.” So you have to ask yourself when planning your office, how can I make the experience a pleasant one for the patients and the staff? No one really enjoys having intraoral X-rays taken, but if we can create an office with carefully planned design details, from the front door of the reception area all the way through the office to the treatment and private staff areas, we can achieve an office that patients will brag about to their friends and family, and staff will take pleasure in and call the office their own.

The first place in an office to make an impression on your patients is the reception area. Too often this space can be overlooked in terms of fit and finish, perhaps because the overruns of the project budget wouldn’t allow for good quality furnishings or artwork to dress up the space properly. Work closely with your architect and interior designer to develop a palette of colors and finishes that can reflect the personality of the dentist, the geographic region where the office resides, or matches with the architecture of the building. It is very important that comfortable, quality seating, is specified and arranged in different locations; either in groups for family or kid-seating areas, or in single areas for patients who visit the office by themselves. Remember that some of the patients will only sit in the reception area for a short time before their appointment, so you have only so much time to get their attention and set the mood. Be sure to incorporate some accent lighting in the reception area. Pendant lighting or wall sconces are light fixtures that you can chose to make a design statement without breaking the bank. If the space is available, perhaps some crown molding or ceiling soffits with recessed accent lighting can give the reception area added volume.

On average, the E4D will reduce lab fees from 65% to 85% each month and, for some practices, that percent can go even higher.

The front desk in the business area is another example of a space that must be designed to take care of the administrative staff that runs the office, but it must also serve as a location where business and conversation can take place between patients and staff. Its important that the desk be sturdy, constructed from materials that can take the day-to-day action of patients leaning on the transaction top, staff working with computers, the weight and operation of office equipment, and even an area where a consultation can take place. I like to choose an accent material like stone, a rare hardwood, or ceramic tiles as a surface for the transaction top. Accent lighting within a soffit above the transaction top or decorative pendant lights hanging from the soffit can highlight the top and add flare to the business work area.

Flooring materials, wall finishes and accent colors, ceiling materials and heights, are all features with plenty of options available to separate your office from the rest. You can achieve a look that’s your own without upsetting the entire project budget. It is important to work with a qualified design professional who can help you design a palette of colors and materials that will blend and compliment each other. It’s very difficult to look at a carpet sample or a paint chip and picture what they may look like when they fill a space. Try to review the color selections in different lighting, both interior lighting that resembles your space, and natural light if your space will be adjacent to windows. Be sure to change flooring materials between the treatment rooms and the rest of the office. The flooring in the treatment rooms may age quicker than the rest of the office and it’s easier to replace small areas of flooring without disrupting the entire office.

A few well-planned design features can really make the difference between a office that makes your patients feel comfortable during their appointment and refer the practice to the friends, not an office where they are sprinting from the patient chair, out of the office with the bib still around their neck, hoping they never have to return. Remember, your patients have no idea if you hold the handpiece differently from the dentist down the street, but they will talk about their perception and how they feel after every visit to your office. If they feel that good about your office, how do you think they will respond to your treatment planning?

 

Tips from the Top – Digital Solutions

Adam Jones

Equipment Sales Specialist
Henry Schein Dental
Rocklin, California

As I met with a client the other day he asked me a question that is probably on the minds of most dentists:
“What are other doctors doing to be successful?”

In answering his question I took time to share stories from successful practitioners I know and how they have implemented technology to advance their own practices and to keep them growing. I focussed on four specific technologies that can influence case acceptance, expansion of procedures, time savings, quality of dentistry, and the ability to attract and retain new referrals.

I would like to share some common denominators found in successful practices that focus on using some of the amazing technologies available today. I will discuss four specific technologies and show how such improvements can influence case acceptance, expand procedure options, save time, improve the quality of dentistry, and better attract and retain patients.

Intraoral Cameras. Cameras today are advanced yet easy to use. Simple plug and play USB connections allow you to move from room to room very easily. These high-resolution cameras have the ability to take a variety of pictures: extraoral, full smile, quadrant of teeth, single tooth, or even look down a canal. “Seeing, is believing!” The more a patient can see and understand, the more educated they become about their oral health. An educated patient accepts treatment faster and on a higher level. They now know the value of your services. Pre-op and post-op pictures on any procedure create value and instill confidence. Cameras are one of the simplest ways to communicate with your patients and increase case acceptance.

Intraoral Digital X-ray. With intraoral digital X-ray you take a patient from squinting at a small film to a “wow factor” on a computer screen where you can utilize numerous tools to enhance, magnify, and communicate with the patient on a level they can understand. If you are ready to invest in digital X-rays, you will soon realize that the process is simply a reallocation of funds; funds you are already spending on film, chemicals, and chemical disposal. You will also find that you are able to diagnose more easily and that your patient’s confidence will grow when they see this amazing technology on your monitor and understand that radiation dosage is minimized and diagnostic accuracy is increased.

Digital Panoramic. Digital panoramic X-rays today have amazing technology like automatic exposure control (AEC) where they calibrate to each individual who steps into the machine, giving you great clarity and consistency. They also have the ability to take extraoral bite wings. To quote a few of my clients, “It’s amazing how patients relate to and understand the smile on their panoramic picture compared to an FMX and begin to co-diagnose with me in the treatment planning process.” “My staff loves our new digital panoramic X-ray because we can take panoramic and extraoral bite wings in less than two minutes and supplement with PAs where needed.” I always find that doctors, staff, and patients are amazed when they learn that a digital panoramic in dosage equals two PAs and that extraoral bite wings equal one and a half PAs. Put yourself in the patients’ shoes. Would you rather bite on a bite stick for 10 to 18 seconds or have a domino put in your mouth 18 times? After the installation of a digital panoramic, offices change their radiological baseline and realize that the time saved allows the hygienist to see an extra patient each day. I see a digital panoramic as being the best product an office can have for everyday “bread and butter” dentistry.

Cone Beam CT. 3-D is the hottest topic in dentistry. The ability to slice, measure, and see things in a 3-D format is impressive and assures the patient that they are being treated by an expert clinician who is using the best technology available. It also gives the clinician confidence to expand his or her procedure mix. Doctors who have purchased 3-D technology from me have all come back with similar comments indicating that they are not afraid to do a surgery or place an implant because they have already virtually done so through the software. To quote a client, “Now that I have 3-D Cone Beam, I am faster, less invasive, and my patients are healing quicker because I know exactly where I am going.” I believe that could be said for any and all procedures a clinician could perform with 3-D technology, including specialties such as orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, and endodontics.

Time and time again, I have seen these four technologies transform and re-energize dental offices and help to keep doctors on the cutting edge of their profession. Making these technologies part of your practice will increase case acceptance and give you the confidence to expand your treatment procedures. You will save time, increase your quality of dentistry, and find that your patients are referring their friends and family to you. Your return on investment will be great!