If knowledge were the only requisite for success, virtually everyone would be successful, especially with the wealth of information currently available through avenues like the Internet and the news media. An action plan also is essential. Given the onslaught of product introductions from dental manufacturers vying for business, dental professionals face the ongoing challenge of keeping up with the barrage in order to make informed selections of the best products that not only meet their clinical and esthetic requirements but also their patients’ demands.
A Plan of Action
Essentially, dentists and dental ceramists are business owners, and in business, time is money. Yet, rather than selling a product such as a crown, for instance, dental professionals are providing a service that requires considerable skill and time. Instead of asking their patients to purchase a product or procedure, dental professionals are asking for an investment in their expertise and time to exercise these skills and knowledge. Therefore, dental professionals must determine the types of products and systems to employ in their daily procedures in order to maximize their most valuable commodities—time and service.
Technology is a great time saver and represents a rich profit source. However, before investing in any technology, it is important to consider five factors for success.
1. Favorable market trend.
2. Product uniqueness. For dental professionals, this translates into their skill levels and how these can be used to marketplace advantage.
3. Partnerships with companies with proven longevity, reliability, and quality. If dental professionals purchase costly equipment and/or technology, they want assurance the company and technology will be around if future services and/or upgrades are required.
4. Favorable return on investment (ROI) compensation. If laboratories or dentists invest $100,000, what can they expect as an ROI for their businesses?
5. Perfect timing.
Dental ceramists and their dentists should embrace technology, but they must not be ruled by it. Patients should feel as if technology is an enhancement, not a replacement, for a dental professional’s personal service. The “personal touch” remains an important element of patient satisfaction and retention. In fact, the patient whose case is highlighted here—a woman renowned throughout the dental industry—has commented that it is the value of how she felt during interactions with the ceramist and dentist that provided the value and affirmation for her decision to proceed with treatment, saying that “It was how I felt that allowed me to make the decision in choosing this ceramist and dentist because I felt they would take care of me, and I felt safe. I trusted them to a great degree not just because of their training and leadership, but also because of their humility, which allowed them to connect with me like a normal person. Their relationship with me was transformational, not transactional.”
Therefore, as ceramic artists, we must use technology to our benefit, employing it to more effectively and productively enhance our own skill levels and the services we provide to our patients. The bottom line comes down to attitude: opening our minds—and businesses—to different technological opportunities to favorably position ourselves in the marketplace.
Digital photography is an excellent example of dentistry’s effective use of technology. Not only is this time-saving technology helpful in capturing patients’ preoperative status, step-by-step treatment procedures, and postoperative results, it also serves as an effective educational tool for all treatment team members with their patients, and as a communication tool between ceramists and dentists. To maximize communication between all dental team members, web and video cameras are other effective tools in the modern dental team’s arsenal.
When it comes to product selection for a patient’s treatment plan, several factors must be considered from tooth structure, color, spacing issues, and teeth mobility to the patient’s needs and desires. Depending on the case specifications, certain dental products and/or procedures will be more indicated than others.
The case presentation discussed in this article illustrates the versatility, ease of use, and optimal clinical and esthetic results possible with the proper application of a team-based approach to the use of IPS e.max® pressible technology (Ivoclar Vivadent, www.ivoclarvivadent.com).
By Pinhas Adar, CDT, MDT; and Michael R. Sesemann, DDS
- Saying “YES!” To Dental Practice Success (coronadentistrynews.com)
- Hot Tip: Include Referral Cards in Your Practice Newsletter (coronadentistrynews.com)