The “digital practice” has facilitated the relationship between the dentist and the client. Thanks to the integration of multimedia and advanced technologies into an online practice.
The dental community has always longed for the day when the full integration of state-of-the-art technologies in the everyday practice was a reality. Nowadays, more and more dentists are using high-tech solutions to improve the patient’s experience in the chair. For example: online communication with the patient with social media, digital x-rays, intra-oral cameras, voice recognition and voice and video recording methods (through Google Glass), digitised practice management systems and electronic appointment calendars. The digital world is revolutionising the dental office and changing the way it administrates, manages and communicates with its clients – A beautiful new world of dentistry.
Soon enough, the following procedure will be a standard visit to the dentist:
A patient, Mrs. Claudia Pattern, has decided to restore her broken teeth. She comes for a new consultation, after having agreed on the treatment plan and its cost on a previous visit. The dentist, Dr. Mario Kurer, welcomes Claudia into his modern practice. A coffee is served whilst she sits in a relaxed environment. The dentist is able to recall Claudia’s previous records through a hands-free optical technology, Google Glass, whilst making her feel comfortable, and proceeds to go over the details of the necessary procedures.
The patient record shows that tooth 23 needs a pin structure and a restoration. Tooth 18 has a ceramic inlay that needs to be renewed or replaced. All plastic fillings in the front teeth need treatment; the two amalgam fillings in teeth 25 and 27 also need to be replaced and the gap between these and tooth 26 closed. The dentist discusses the details with Claudia and explains the different alternatives, supported by a visual display of her records on a screen in front of her. Claudia is feeling anxious about her treatment, and a little uneasy. The visual display Dr. Kurer presents to Claudia gives her a clear understanding of the work needed to restore her teeth and strengthens her confidence in the dentist.
Strengthened trust in the dentist
Ten days later, Claudia comes to her first appointment to receive a pin structure and crowning to tooth 23. The dentist takes a picture of the root tip of the tooth by using Google Glass, which is integrated with his cloud-based practice management software. Dr. Kurer uses the glasses to recover the recent picture, displaying it on the screen in front of Claudia. He proceeds to explain the individual treatment steps with the help of this picture. This takes much of the nervousness off the patient, since she can track what is happening in her mouth. At the same time, thanks to Google Glass’ voice recognition service, every detail of his explanation is noted and immediately uploaded onto the patient’s dental record.
The use of digital technology has a positive effect on the dentist-patient relationship and reinforces the confident in the dentist. The informative and monitoring applications and the ability to take instant pictures to share with the patient provides the visual support to keep the customer fully informed. This strengthens the patient’s willingness to undergo further dental treatments.
Supportive – not dominating
Even though the field of digital solutions is steadily growing, its function is not to dominate the practice happenings, but to support the dentist and his staff. The latest dental technology is designed to facilitate the work on every individual aspect of the practice.
For her next appointment, Mrs. Pattern needs her defective front teeth restored with the help of veneers. These are wafer-thin ceramic shells that reduce the gaps between the teeth. Every dentist knows of the aesthetic problems of doing this type of restoration, due to the proximity of other teeth. With the ability of integrated technology, Dr. Kurer uses videoconferencing to receive advice from his dental technician in the next room, in regards of what is the best way to correct the anomaly. The patient is included on the call and has the ability to contribute to the discussion.
All the computer systems in the practice are linked, and the details of the treatments are billed accordingly and simultaneously using the responsive practice management software.
A fully integrated practice using state-of-the-art technology and combining all management procedures through a single service offers many advantages: apart from saving time, it also builds the client confidence through image presentations, simplified treatments documentation and data availability anywhere at any time.
Mrs Pattern’s next appointment isn’t for another week; she has specific worries about her next procedure and goes online to cancel her appointment remotely. Whilst browsing the dental practice’s social media sites, she comes across an article that explains her next procedure, along with recommendations from other patients praising its success. This fills Claudia with confidence and she decides not to cancel her appointment after all, looking forward to seeing the results.
Claudia arrives for her next treatment. Dr. Kurer is immediately updated through Google Glass, which is connected to the practice management software; they let him know Claudia is here for a professional teeth cleaning. Claudia is aware of the controversy regarding prophylaxis, but Mario is able to reassure her and, with the support of Google Glass’ camera, he shows her before-and-after comparisons of the treatment results.
No waiting time
At the end of the treatment, a digital radiography is made and saved immediately on Claudia Patterns filing record. Modern digital X-rays guarantee a significantly reduced radiation exposure compared to that in the past, and the waiting time is zero; the results are immediately available for all the professionals at the practice
Before leaving the office, Claudia makes her follow-up appointment and receives a notification in her phone. The practice management system sets up routine follow-up appointments for wound control, joint inspections, professional tooth cleaning and recalls. Claudia won’t forget her appointments, since the practice management system will automatically send a reminder to her mobile phone, and if she needs to amend these appointments she will be able to do so on her smartphone. This way, a reduction on the number of no-shows at the dental practice is achieved.
Claudia Pattern leaves the practice happy and with a smile on her face. She is fully confident and looks forward to sharing her experience with other patients on the dental practice’s social media sites. The dentist Dr. Kurer is also happy with the outcome; full of energy, he checks out the details of his next patient on his Google Glass, a patient that will be able to advantage from the services a digital practice offers.