Your digital transformation – the time-saving secret for maximising profits

Eimear O’Connell talks to Guy Hiscott about her digital journey and the win-win offered by modern technologyDr Alif Moosajee talks about the benefits of digital dentistry and why it’s so worth the investment. 

What makes these products so beneficial to a practice?

I absolutely love CEREC.

I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever invested in for my practice.

I’m no stranger to investing money to improve the quality of the care that I provide my patients. But it’s also important to communicate the improvements that you’re making. This is so the patients really understand what makes you different as a practice.

When you buy the best impression material, for example, it’s difficult for the patient to really understand where that money has gone. But with something like CEREC, it changes the patient experience so tangibly. It’s so easy for them to understand the difference.

They will easily be able to see they are no longer needing two appointments to have a crown done. They will obviously be able to understand they no longer need an impression. It’s really very engaging when you invite them to watch you design a crown and to watch it being milled.

I have my milling unit in the waiting room. It’s a really nice feature that people often ask me about and patients love watching the crowns being made.

It’s an investment that yielded benefits in so many ways – from a clinical and treatment improvement point of view but also it’s been such an amazing marketing tool as well.

How have they made a difference to the way you do things?

I always used to book 50 minutes for a crown prep appointment and 20 minutes for the crown fit two weeks later. But remember that some of the first appointment would be used to make a temporary crown. And part of the second appointment would be used to numb the patient and to remove that temporary crown ready for fitting the definitive crown.

Now I book one hour and 10 minutes for a CEREC appointment (and I frequently finish before). But the biggest difference is that the time in between when the crown is milling is my own to do with what I please.

As a busy principal, it is invaluable for doing admin. But my associates also use that time efficiently. They often see patients in between and it allows some time for them to see emergencies.

Commitment to quality

When I teach CEREC this story resonates with many of my colleagues:

After a patient has waited two weeks for a crown and we have numbed them for a second time and remove the temporary, you really, really want that crown to fit!

Even if it doesn’t fit perfectly it is often the norm to adjust that crown until it does fit!

Sometimes that adjustment can make that crown ‘sub optimal’ to say the least. Often this leads to remorse when examining that crown six months later.

This pressure that we put ourselves under to fit the crown is something that I’ve not experienced since I’ve had CEREC. I expect it to fit perfectly and to look beautiful.

If it doesn’t then I will simply work out what in the process has not gone as well as it should. I’ll then retrace my steps and then make a brand new crown because it only takes me 10 or 15 minutes to do that. But at least I’m sure that what I’ll be fitting in my patient’s mouth is as good as it possibly can be.

This commitment to quality and non-tolerance of compromise has been one of the things that improved my standards and the quality of my work more than any other.

How do they improve the patient experience and remove that ‘fear factor’?

There is no doubt in my mind that patients love having a crown in a single appointment. They love not having to have impressions if it’s at all possible.

For me these are the things I’ve had the best feedback about. But also when patients see the results they can perceive that the crown has never had to be adjusted when it has been fit. When they look in the mirror and see this beautiful lifelike crown they are so happy.

The confidence that this creates in the patient means that my patients are really big fans of mine. That is an amazing thing for eliminating the fear factor of my patients.

I often have patients who have had CEREC restorations before requesting another CEREC either when another tooth breaks or simply to prevent another weak tooth from breaking, or for changing a very large amalgam.

When patients are reaching out to you to have treatment done then you know you are doing something right.

Now that the fear factor for my patients has gone, it should be eliminated for you as a dentist too!

Why do you think digital dentistry improves practice efficiency/profitability?

There are so many reasons. But really the most important is the time-saving element. Digital dentistry saves on needing to temporise and remove the temporary, but also not having to reappoint patients for multiple appointments.

I also find that the number of times I have to reappoint a patient because crowns don’t fit is completely eliminated as well.

This reduction in failure is, in my opinion, the thing that makes dentistry most profitable. Every time anything goes wrong the patient can’t be asked for the money again. It means you are giving away your chair time for free to rectify mistakes.

If you can reduce or eliminate mistakes that’s when dentistry starts to become very profitable.

Is digital dentistry the future?

No. Digital dentistry is the present.

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