Top Five Technologies that improve the Patient Experience and Cash Flow: Part 2

In part one of this blog, we touched on refera.com as the technology to prevent the loss of patients and improve the patient experience in the referral process.  The patient is usually not too keen on being referred out of the comfort of the familiar to a new and maybe anxiety-producing situation.  The refera professional method of a seamless transfer of documents, clinical notes, and instructions to the specialist provides peace of mind to the patient.  The patient understands that the specialist will know what their dentist wants to accomplish during the visit. 

Using refera.com as your source to manage all referrals to specialists and be one easy step to access data, documents are just one of the many new ways technology can drive practice success.

Dental technology continues to grow and improve and is critical to the success of dental practices in today’s economy.

A game-changing piece of technology that has been around for decades has shown to have a track record of success for both the dentist and the patient is:

1.   The CEREC or Cad Cam technology. The lay term is “same-day crowns.”  The positives for this technology are:

  • Treatment is accomplished in one visit, saving the patient from multiple visits to the dental office and is also cost-reducing for the dental practice in terms of time and materials.
  • The technology eliminates the need to stock up on disposable impression materials.  Patients hate having dental impression material in their mouths and avoid dental care for this very reason.
  • Temporary restorations are not necessary if the service is provided in one day.  It is calming for patients not to worry about losing the temporary or wearing a less than attractive interim.
  • There is no longer a need to outsource to a dental lab, thus saving the expense and the time.  Patients don’t like to wait two or three weeks for the final restoration.
  • According to a study by the International Journal of Computerized Dentistry, this type of restoration has been proven to be reliable and long-lasting; 87.5 percent of CEREC inlays and Onlays fabricated using this technique lasted after 27 years of use.  When patients invest money in their mouths, they expect it to last indefinitely.

Even though CEREC technology is a significant investment initially for the dentist and requires training and skills, it is well worth it long-term, according to many long-time users.

2.  Another highly recommended technology is the 3 D Scanner or multipurpose scanner such as the iTero Element. Go to their website for an ROI calculator to see how much you can produce and save using this fantastic technology.  3D scanning is the process of taking multiple pictures of something from all angles and blending them to create a three-dimensional image on a computer. The applications are almost endless, and it is easy for the operator to learn and to use.  For patients, this means no gagging on impression trays and having goop leaking down their throat.  The new level of patient comfort opens to more patients accepting treatment.  The accuracy of the process reduces remakes and calls from the lab about a defect in the impression.

3. Dental implant technology continues to improve and has become widely accepted by many patients as the opportunity to be able to chew their favorite foods again.  Replacing missing teeth and treating the disease that contributed to the loss makes patients feel whole and gives the confidence that only a great smile can provide.

Mini implants have become popular to place especially when the general dentist can easily learn the technique.  Improvements to the placement of the standard implant immediately after the extraction reduce treatment time and patient satisfaction.  Some of the technologies that have made it possible for these improvements are the following:

4. CT Scan#5. The CT Scan or CAT Scan is a fascinating tool in diagnosing the proper position and placement of the dental implant. A CT scan (computer tomography) is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create images of the inside of the body. Three-dimensional images of high quality and extreme complexity are provided by the CT Scan enhancing the view of the path to placing the implant in the correct position.

5. Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) generates images in three dimensions that allow the structures of the mouth to be viewed from different vantage points. It can reveal cysts and impacted teeth and nerves and arteries that might make the placement of the implant more difficult. 

These five popular technologies are only the beginning of a long list of dental technologies that improve the quality of dental care and increase patient acceptance of treatment as a result.

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