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A Digital Dentistry Success Story
How one practice reaped the benefits of implementing E4D Dentist
A fundamental change requires a paradigm shift, so if what you are doing is working, you may think there is no reason to change. The point of a fundamental transformation is not to fix what is not working, but rather to enhance what is working and make it better. The need for fundamental, transformational change is not always recognized, but it was certainly needed in my first practice.
Back then, the practice was small and outdated, still using ledger sheets, and there were no computers. There was nothing wrong with the practice, but we wanted to grow, so we began with the difficult transition to a computerized office system. Although there were challenges, that transformation demonstrated that we could continue to evolve technologically, no matter how daunting the task might seem at first.
Choosing In-Office CAD/CAM
Experiencing overall positive results with these previous changes contributed to our confidence that switching to new technologies could work well. As a team, we wanted a very successful practice, so we designed a roadmap to get there though the incorporation of in-office CAD/CAM.
Change is most effective when specific objectives are set and progress can be measured. For our practice, our goal was to provide single-visit restorations, thereby benefitting patients in more than one way. First, they would receive the most technologically advanced treatment available. Second, instead of coming into the office for multiple visits, they could experience the convenience of complete care in one appointment, eliminating the need to take more time off from work.
We felt very comfortable making the upgrade, especially because CAD/CAM in general is now such a proven technology. The practice upgraded to the E4D® Dentist System (E4D Technologies, www.e4d.com) in 2009. This state-of-the-art system helps us deliver the highest quality of care. Its conveniently sized in-office production unit for fabricating precision all-ceramic restorations and its powder-free scanning technology for accurately capturing intraoral images reaffirmed our decision.
Expectations and Objectives
The expectations and objectives established for this transformation came from the multiple roles I play in my practice every day. Careful consideration was given to what was best for patients from a care and evidence perspective. The new system gave the practice more control over the anatomy of our restorations, allowing selection from more options when performing multiple units. The office can mill a restoration with more accurate margins, so the restorations fit and feel better for our patients.
As a manager, it was also important for me to consider what motivates and empowers the dental team. Time would be needed for the entire staff to adjust, and new skills needed to be learned. A good relationship with the brand and the manufacturer was also important to establish an element of trust, especially in the support and training they would provide. Training, support, and education were all key to ensuring success.
The Total Team Experience
When implementing change, it is essential to involve the team in the entire process, especially when it comes to technology. If team members aren’t open to the change, then it’s highly unlikely it will be successful, regardless of how great the technology is.
With some earlier technology upgrades, how staff would respond and how that response would affect the practice, including our patients, wasn’t always considered. It’s easy to assume that staff and patients alike would be happy about having access to the latest advances in dentistry. Some patients were skeptical, however, and when staff did not feel included in the decision-making process and didn’t take ownership of the changes, it was difficult for them to reassure these patients.
When upgrading to the E4D system, my team was fully engaged in discussions about my vision. They responded enthusiastically, especially when they learned about the system’s many benefits. Part of the reason we chose the E4D® Dentist System is because the company provided the Support-on-Site feature, which made it convenient when training staff to use the system. We could also access real-time online support.
Some staff members had treatments performed with the new technology, so they were able to experience its benefits firsthand. Once they witnessed how easy it was to use and were fully trained to implement it, they were eager to share this with our patients, and their enthusiasm was contagious. My staff has been really motivated since we incorporated the E4D System. They are directly involved in treatment and they are very proud of the dentistry we provide.
Dentists and their teams may also be able to engage their patients in the whole process, as they watch their restorations being designed and milled. They will tell their friends and family about the experience because they’re happy, saving time, and receiving exceptional care. As they spread the word about the practice, referrals will begin to increase.
The Evolution of In-Office CAD/CAM
As we look toward the future, our office wants to continue to develop into the most successful practice we can be. For us, that means incorporating E4D’s recently introduced NEVO™ Scanner technology. It expands upon years of experience with powder-free scanning and it is the first scanner to use E4D’s blue laser technology. That technology provides an improved ability to capture the fine details for exceptional quality data capture and, therefore, more precise and accurate prosthetics. It’s also very fast and easy to use, with other great features such as anti-fogging and continuous cooling for extra-long scanning without interruption. It allows us to continue providing our diverse patient population with durable, well-fitting restorations using the most highly developed technology available.
A Rewarding Practice Transformation
By adding the E4D System, our practice has grown in volume and our percentage net has increased. At the same time, our expenses—for impression materials, lab fees, and disposables—have decreased.
The transformational, fundamental change to my practice wasn’t just about adding new equipment or updating systems. The decision for change was about creating a different mindset and new way of thinking. Although it could have been the most difficult to implement, the transformational change that I envisioned was incredibly rewarding in the end.
About the Author
Gary Kaye, DDS, FAGD, is in private practice in New York, New York. He is also a guest lecturer for Henry Schein’s E4D University in Dallas, Texas.