Let’s face it. When it comes to dental tools and technology, not everything is what it is cracked up to be. Yes, certain tools have revolutionized dentistry. For example, digital x-rays are safer and more comfortable for patients, and they allow you to obtain sharper and more accurate images than ever before. Unfortunately, not every tool offers the same benefits. Therefore, when it comes to dental practice planning, it can be difficult to know which new tools to invest in, if any.
Service over Gadgetry
As a general rule, I prefer old fashioned, personalized care to fancy doodads with space age names. Now, I’m certainly not knocking technology. However, most patients care more about their overall experience than they do about the latest tools. Even if you offer every state-of-the-art device in the book, if you do not have good patient-dentist relationships, your practice will suffer.
As a dental coach, I encourage my clients to look at the day-to-day operation of their practices and find the areas that are most in need of improvement. In most cases, these areas have more to do with time management or chairside manner than they do with technology. I encourage my patients to invest in these areas first. Then they can explore the range of advanced tools that are available to them.
My Top 5 Investments
1. Ongoing training: Continuing education for yourself and for your team is absolutely the number one investment for your practice. In addition to training in advanced procedures and new techniques, you should take classes in dentist leadership, conflict management, and patient relations. Your team should undergo similar training. You might also encourage your assistants to choose one or two areas of focus. This will enhance practice efficiency and patient experience.
2. Scheduling software: When you look at online reviews, a lengthy wait time is one of the most common complaints. Scheduling software can help keep your practice on track. At the same time, it also makes health records and insurance information easily accessible. This affordable software can save your office staff hours of unnecessary work, and it can improve overall patient satisfaction.
3. Magnification devices: Though technically technology, I include magnification devices on this list because they are absolutely essential to proper patient care. If you cannot see your patients’ teeth clearly, you will miss vital symptoms, you will make treatment errors, and you will put their overall health at risk. It’s a no-brainer, but it’s a rule worth remembering.
4. Handicapped accessible equipment: This is another seemingly obvious inclusion. After all, most dentist’s offices are handicap accessible. By law, they have to be. I encourage you to go beyond the legal requirements. Make your office 100% handicap friendly. You might invest in portable x-ray equipment, sedation, and classes on treating those with special needs. These investments will show your patients that you are a truly compassionate dentist, dedicated to their comprehensive wellbeing.
5. Patient education materials: As you well know, it is important to keep your patients fully informed about their care. If your practice is not already equipped with educational materials, I urge you to invest in fliers, brochures, and educational videos. If it is within your practice budget, chairside monitors and cameras can give your patients a clear view of their teeth and gums. Of course, you should also thoroughly explain all treatments and help your patients make active, informed choices about their health. Fortunately, a great chairside manner is an investment that is completely free.