Long Island Practice’s Growth Continues Despite Challenges
Innovative FirstFit system’s benefits are amplified during unusual times
Sweet Tooth Dental was growing at a rapid rate prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a wide array of services and payment options offered by owners Hasan AlBaiyaa, DDS, and Haider "Hunter" Newmani. The Baldwin, New York, practice had already increased its base of active patients from around 400 to more than 1,800 since AlBaiyaa and Newmani purchased it in late 2016.
"It is a very inclusive office with a very diverse patient pool," Newmani says.
Perhaps even more impressively, they managed to keep growing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and part of that can be attributed to an innovative system that they use: the FirstFit Guided Prosthetics Delivery System from Henry Schein.
Remaining open for emergency cases and self-quarantining themselves in the building, a residential office, AlBaiyaa and Newmani set up arrangements with nearby hospital emergency rooms to take dental cases so that these patients would not overwhelm the hospitals or expose themselves to greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
"We took all possible precautions, including living in the building for 3 months so we could self-quarantine while practicing," Newmani says.
In early June, they reopened for a broader spectrum of services, excluding prophies, routine examinations, and certain other procedures. In mid-June, they finally resumed all services.
Of course, the world has changed. COVID-19 has amplified the importance of infection control. Strategically managing personal protective equipment (PPE), limiting aerosol spray, and minimizing chair time are now more important than ever. For AlBaiyaa and Newmani, the FirstFit Guided Prosthetics Delivery System has helped in all of those areas. FirstFit utilizes advanced digital technology to provide 3D printed preparation guides and the final, ready-to-seat veneers or bridges simultaneously.
"The preparation guide also functions as a shield to contain the aerosols, which is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19," AlBaiyaa says. "In addition, the precision of the FirstFit procedure allows us to use less anesthesia, which is another priority currently as we try to stay with the patient during the numbing and avoid changing PPE. And, of course, fewer and shorter appointments minimize patients' potential exposure."
FirstFit bridges are also less expensive than implants, a benefit that is magnified for many patients who were left unemployed and uninsured during the pandemic. According to Newmani, a patient who may have been planning to undergo a complex implant treatment that could cost them $4,000 out-of-pocket can get a FirstFit bridge for approximately half that cost.
"Patients are opting for this treatment now more than ever," he says.
Another benefit to the patient is the elimination of the temporization step of treatment, which cuts out an entire visit.
"That is an entire event of potential exposure, PPE changing, disinfection, etc," Newmani says. "Eliminating a visit was valuable before COVID-19 because of the chair time, but it has become even more important now."
Newmani also notes the "nightmare" of temporary veneers falling off of prepared teeth. With FirstFit, the patient receives the permanent restoration immediately upon preparation, which also creates a valuable "wow" factor.
"The patient can see this immediate transformation," Newmani says. "With a temporary, the transformation occurs over the course of multiple steps, so you never really have a grand reveal. This allows patients to walk in with a smile that they are unhappy with and leave with beautiful permanent restorations that transform their entire look."
The FirstFit procedure also is significantly less invasive than traditional options. The precision facilitates minimal removal of healthy dentition. For bridges, in particular, the FirstFit procedure entails only creating notches in the adjacent teeth, rather than grinding them down. The restoration is then cemented into those notches.
"You are essentially creating two small porcelain hooks on the sides without needing to drill around two entirely healthy teeth," Newmani says. "When we explain that to patients, that has been one of the biggest selling points, along with the use of digital scanning instead of alginate impressions. We have had a number of patients who, after getting FirstFit bridges or veneers, referred multiple family members and friends to our practice."
AlBaiyaa and Newmani both credit their FirstFit representative as well. In addition to only being a phone call or text message away, she also enlists patients at events such as bridal shows.
"She has been very hands-on," AlBaiyaa says. "Her continuous support has been tremendous."
With such a valuable asset at their disposal, AlBaiyaa and Newmani expect to continue expanding their practice-and hiring additional staff. Six-day work weeks are a good problem to have, but they would like to establish a more balanced schedule.
"Everything has been positive since we began using FirstFit," AlBaiyaa says. "It has been a really good experience for our practice."
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