Efficiency in a dental practice often is the determining factor between growth and failure. One way to ensure your practice is increasing revenues, enhancing the patient experience, and expanding referrals is to incorporate evolving technologies that make routine procedures easier and faster to perform. Efficiency in a practice will result in happier patients and happy doctors.
Over my 22-year dental career, my patients have continually expressed a dislike for anesthesia (the dreaded shot), the drill’s sound and vibration, and the lingering numbness following the procedure. Also, bleeding can slow me down as a dentist since performing quality bonding in a contaminated field is difficult.
Considering how much time is spent waiting for numbness and controlling bleeding, the incorporation of a dental laser that addresses these concerns represents an immediate way to greatly improve the patient experience and production.
While dental laser vendors may have overpromised and under-delivered in the past, that is no longer the case. Dentists need to revisit the technology to see how it could positively impact their practice.
Reduced Chair Time
Speed is a major variable to consider when choosing which dental laser to purchase. After all, there is no benefit to performing a procedure anesthesia-free that takes three times as long to compete. I chose Convergent Dental’s Solea, a 9.3-mm carbon-dioxide dental laser, because it allows me to operate virtually anesthesia-free and blood-free for a wide variety of procedures at a rate that rivals the dental drill.
I don’t have to wait for patients to numb up. I also can work in multiple quadrants in one sitting and perform on-the-fly cavity preps. I’ve personally been able to cut chair time per procedure in half because I am working without anesthesia almost 100% of the time. This has enabled significant revenue growth in my practice because of the 4 to 6 additional procedures I do every day.
Improved Patient Experience
Dental anxiety stems primarily from patients’ fear of the drill and shots. Whether it’s because of the noise or the pain, patients dread climbing into the chair. Dental lasers create a new virtually pain-free patient experience, which is a game-changer for the vast majority of my patients.
Missed appointments are significantly down because there is no longer any pain associated with my practice. Patients are no longer afraid to sit in the chair and receive the care they need. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Chronic dental-phobics are learning that dentistry can be fast and painless.
Increased New Patient Volume
Adding new patients is important to any dental practice. Dental lasers give dentists the opportunity to increase new patient referrals because of the unique experience lasers enable for existing patients. Patients can’t wait to tell their family and friends about their dental laser experience. Last week, because of one emergency patient we treated with the laser, we received 5 new patient phone calls.
Since I first began using Solea, my practice experienced a 150% increase in social engagement and a 50% increase in new patient referrals. The simple idea of dental lasers attracts tech-savvy consumers. Many are not aware of dental lasers’ patient benefits, so promoting your investment wherever and whenever possible is sure to bring in individuals who likely would have not switched dentists otherwise.
Happy patients mean more referrals. It’s that simple. If we can change the factors that keep patients from coming to the dentist, such as shots, drill noise, vibration, numbness, we will have a better chance of gaining acceptance for treatment.
A commitment to innovative technologies is integral to the success of any practice. Dental lasers, for their increased efficiency and improved patient experience, are one area to consider if practice growth is high on your list of priorities.
Dr. Michael Kelly is a practicing dentist with Aesthetic Dentistry of Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz. He attended Stetson University in Florida for his undergraduate training in chemistry and graduated from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in 1993. He also has attained Mastership in the International College of Oral Implantologists and the Academy of General Dentistry. He has completed over 2,000 hours of advanced study and his work towards Accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry as well. Before moving to Scottsdale, Ariz, in 2010, Dr. Kelly practiced in Florida for more than 17 years. He has served as president of the Central Florida Academy of General Dentistry and as an instructor for incorporating predictable systems and technologies as well.