CAD/CAM: Technology to Build Your Practice

Author : Dental Product Shopper
Published Date 01/28/2009
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CAD/CAM (computer-aided design / computeraided manufacturing) is powerful technology that can provide tangible value to you, your practice, and your patient base. The technology requires a significant investment in time and money, but if your practice routinely performs high volumes of indirect restorations, or if you?re looking for significant practice growth, adopting this technology can transform your practice.

If you are willing and able to invest the necessary time in training and education, CAD/CAM technology will produce a quantifiable return on your investment. By improving the experience for your patients, increasing practice efficiencies, and reducing lab expenses, you can position your practice as one of the elite dental practices in your community that offers the latest cutting edge technology.

CAD/CAM:

Technology to Build Your Practice

CAD/CAM (computer-aided design / computeraided manufacturing) is powerful technology that can provide tangible value to you, your practice, and your patient base. The technology requires a significant investment in time and money, but if your practice routinely performs high volumes of indirect restorations, or if you?re looking for significant practice growth, adopting this technology can transform your practice.

Pleasing Patients and Saving Time
If you are willing and able to invest the necessary time in training and education, CAD/CAM technology will produce a quantifiable return on your investment. By improving the experience for your patients, increasing practice efficiencies, and reducing lab expenses, you can position your practice as one of the elite dental practices in your community that offers the latest cutting edge technology.
When asked about his CAD/CAM experience, Dr. Daniel A. Lieblong, who has a practice in Little Rock, Arkansas, said, ?My patients have been more than pleased with the time savings and the feel and appearance of their [CAD/CAM] crowns.? Training and customer service are key to the successful implementation of CAD/CAM technology. Training should be thorough, and customer service should be responsive and creative to meet the needs of individual users and specific cases. Dr. Gary Alder from Oak Park, Illinois, understands the importance of customer service. ?When we had questions, Schein handled it well,? said Dr. Alder. ?Their phone and online help has been responsive.?

Referrals Lead to Growth
Conventional indirect restorations require 2 patient visits. Two visits for one procedure are inconvenient for patients and include the risk of failure of their temporary restoration. Two visits for your practice increases non-value added time required to turnover the operatory and schedule the visits. Your practice wins when you create the best patient experience possible. A satisfied patient often becomes a loyal patient and a referral source. With today?s pace of change and all of the noise that you have to deal with in your everyday practice, it?s easy to lose sight of the fundamental growth engine for your business? loyal patients referring new patients! CAD/CAM can provide a more efficient, less stressful experience for you, your team, and your patients with indirect restorations being performed in a single visit.
Dr. Mike Murphy, a dentist with a practice in Glen Allen, Virginia, summed it up by saying, ?Patient experience is greatly improved. One-visit crowns mean no second injection for the delivery appointment if the tooth is vital. No impression (yuck!), and no temporary crown the patient has to worry about.?

Reduce Expenses
The dental lab is an important piece of the indirect restoration value chain. According to the research and the anecdotal experiences of our client base, dentists choose labs based on quality, consistency, and customer service. Most dentists use more than one lab, and the main reasons for leaving a lab are inconsistent work and poor fitting restorations.
With CAD/CAM, you are no longer reliant on an external partner. You now possess the opportunity to create the restoration and seat it in a single patient visit. In the worst case scenario, if the CAD/CAM restoration does not meet your standards for quality and fit, you can simply create another one in your office. Your patient may have to wait but will not have to leave your office.
Your lab expense is contingent upon your patient fees and the particular lab(s) you use. According to the ADA, the national average for lab expenses represents approximately 7.3% of gross billings. CAD/CAM can help you save money and create more profit, and in these uncertain economic times, every percentage point counts.
When asked about his lab expenses, Dr. Lieblong said, ?I would have to say that my system is paying for itself. In the past, it was not uncommon to have a lab bill for crowns over $4000 a month. I am doing all of my individual crowns with rare exception. Basically, I am letting my lab savings pay for the system and then some.?

Competitive Edge
CAD/CAM can also provide value to your practice as a marketing tool. Competing in today?s ever changing business environment requires solid execution of a sound business strategy. At Pinnacle Practices, we are in offices everyday. We know that dentists don?t have enough time in their day to practice dentistry, manage their team, and execute their business strategy. The inherent time constraints make it pivotal that you are efficient and effective with your time and energy. How you position your practice in your community is an important element to your business strategy.
If you want your practice to be leading edge, then CAD/CAM will fit nicely into your strategy. When a patient experiences the advanced technology of CAD/CAM (the chairside software interface, the milling of the restoration in-house, the single patient visit), that patient will perceive your practice as leading edge and will create buzz in your community as they share their experiences with family, friends, and business colleagues. You can proudly communicate to your community that you are willing to invest in the latest advancements in dental techniques and technologies to ensure a high-quality patient experience. You win, your patients win, and your team wins when you make the investment and commitment to advance dentistry and use new technologies to improve your practice.

Randa O?Connor is the President of Pinnacle Practices, Inc., one of the most respected practice management firms in the United States.
For more information, visit www.pinnaclepractices.com, or call 214.654.0111.

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