Hybrid Teledentistry Model: A Balance of Traditional and New
The dental profession has seen many instances of growth and progression with regard to technology. Most recently, consumers also have been purchasing "disruptive technology" products that provide greater convenience and affordability. Teledentistry business models have allowed patients to be more invested in their treatment plan and have increased access to care. Patient-driven esthetics are continuing to evolve to address this shift in consumer engagement, and patient-centric disruptive models are edging out their traditional counterparts.
I was surprised to discover that this hybrid model approach is not direct competition to dentists but acts more as a partnership and provides a medium to help us provide our patients with greater access to dental care. Clear aligner treatments are increasingly becoming part of the comprehensive treatment planning approach within general practices to improve patients' overall gingival health. The hybrid model is a simple, yet effective, workflow that is designed to reduce practice overhead, increase patient flow, and expand patients' clear aligner options.
Any advanced technology that allows my dental practice to keep more patients in its care and treat them comprehensively is technology that I will continue to offer. The dental industry now finds itself in a new consumer-focused movement that is the result of new patient-driven clear aligner entrance; however, unlike traditional orthodontic models some companies have introduced a hybrid clear aligner model through their partner networks. The hybrid model is successful because it allows practitioners to maintain their patient base while also increasing their patients' access to care.
Payam C. Ataii, DMD, MBA
Clinical Instructor, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine,
Boston, Massachusetts; Clinical Advisor and Consultant, SmileDirectClub; Private Practice, Laguna Hills, California