By Compassionate Finance on Jul 10, 2018 11:34:00 AM
The dental world has changed significantly within the last decade, and much of that transformation can be attributed to recent technological adoptions and investments by dental practices.
The way dentists market to new patients now is different than the tactics used in 2008, when social media and online review sites were far less prominent. The increased use of CAD/CAM and a movement to paperless workflows have reshaped dentistry into a more efficient and effective industry overall. Additionally, patients and practices enjoy the benefits of digital applications for payment plans that go hand in hand with the same-day procedures that are possible thanks to CAD/CAM and other technologies.
In this blog, we see how and why three tech breakthroughs have changed — and continue to change — the face of dentistry while also improving the patient’s overall care.
Computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing, known as CAD/CAM, has allowed dentists to more accurately and more efficiently apply dental restorations. Before the technology was widely adopted, conventional restorations involved making impressions before creating the crown, inlay or veneer. In conventional methods, a temporary restoration would be inserted before the fully fabricated restoration replaces the temporary solution after a period of several weeks.
CAD/CAM changes the game by dramatically speeding up the design and fabrication of crowns, implants, bridges and veneers. This allows dentists to apply same-day restorations — a remarkable improvement in turnaround time. Patients don’t have to take another day off work or school, and the technology virtually eliminates the need for temporary crowns.
Adoption of the technology wasn’t immediate, largely due to the cost and the training associated with CAD/CAM. However, CAD/CAM has since become a staple in dental practices and a show of commitment to adapt and invest in technological trends.
2. Paperless Workflows and Treatment Planning
The exponential explosion of project management, dentistry (i.e. CAD software), office management and IT software over the last five years has made moving to a paperless office a necessity to compete. The move to all-digital practices has sped up communications with patients and staff while facilitating the ability for practices to collect more meaningful patient data than ever before.
Patient information, for instance, can now be securely saved in the Cloud, a private dedicated server or both. No longer do office managers have to rummage through file cabinets to find a patient’s files or pester doctors to confirm multiple details on patient treatment.
Most importantly, the move to digitize practice has very positively impacted the patient experience. Intraoral scanning and virtual treatment planning mean patients get treated faster and are out the door sooner. Patients are informed about their next appointment through multiple communication channels, including text messages and automated email notifications so fewer appointments are skipped and rescheduling is easier. Patients can also instantly submit feedback to practices through multiple channels, making it easier for practices to improve the areas that need it.
3. Quick and Simple Dental Payment Plan Setup
For dental practices, patients will always have a better experience if they know they’ll have options to be able to afford their treatment.
Payment options (such as Compassionate Finance) can be sent to patients for selection within a few minutes on a tablet, which can help ease a patient’s cost anxieties immediately if they’re contemplating potential same-day procedures like CAD/CAM crowns or veneers. Instead of patients leaving without a payment plan or succumbing to cost anxiety during the course of a visit, they can feel instantly confident that they have a plan that will work for their financial situation. This directly affects dentists’ patient acceptance rates.
A quick and simple process benefits Office Managers, too. Not only do they not have to constantly bother patients about payment collection, but they can also monitor the progress of collections in real time to ensure everything is on track.
The Bottom Line: Technology Helps Dentists Assist More Patients
While CAD/CAM and digital payment plan setups are very different technologies, they both give dentists the chance to help a higher volume of patients in more effective ways. They work hand in hand and give patients the chance to see not only immediate same-day results to their smile, but also feel immediately that they can afford and begin processing payments for their procedure immediately. By using these technologies together, dentists are maximizing their case acceptance rates while delivering a better overall patient experience.