Digital dentistry propels growth of Lightwave Dental

Sponsored Content: Align Technology

Doctors and patients smile from the seamless end-to-end digital experience supported by Align Technology

Dr. Clifton Cameron

In today’s technology-driven world, customers want more than a service; they expect a personalized experience. Dental organizations that double down on the power of digital tools, technologies and workflows have the power to transform patient experiences and grow their practices.

Lightwave Dental, a dental leadership organization (DLO) serving the mid-Atlantic region, has expanded from eight to 69 practices in five years by providing world-class digital tools, technology, training and leadership that drives practice growth. 

“Lightwave believes that dentists are the natural leaders of the dental practice and aims to provide tools and structure to preserve the unique identity and legacy of each practice,” said Dr. Clifton Cameron, Chief Dental Officer for Lightwave. Dr. Cameron is founder of CarolinasDentist, and began partnering with Lightwave in 2019. “It is truly dentist led.” 

Changing lives

In today’s marketplace, patients don’t follow through with treatment as easily in a traditional setup, Dr. Cameron noted. Lightwave seeks to break down the barriers in traditional links between dentists and patients by providing access to streamlined digital workflows along with products and services that patients want.

Dr. Lauren Steddum, CarolinasDentist-Cary, is consistently using her iTero Element as she leads the use of digital tools and technologies in her practice.

“Invisalign® clear aligner treatment is one of the things that my patients were asking for,” said Dr. Cameron. “I am dedicated to finding the best products and right support. Partnering with Align allowed us to create customized educational pathways for our doctors to build their confidence that ultimately helped us meet our increasing patient demand.” 

Today, Lightwave works with Align Technology, Inc., the manufacturer of iTero Element® intraoral scanners and the Invisalign system, to drive best practices, technology and leadership training, helping doctors create straighter, healthier smiles for their patients. Through the Align Digital Platform, general dentists have access to an integrated suite of unique, proprietary technologies and services – delivered as a seamless, end-to-end solution – that can help them transform smiles and change lives.

When dental offices are equipped with Align’s iTero Element intraoral scanners, patients can be scanned for restorative treatment and to identify high-potential Invisalign aligner treatment opportunities. The scanners are critical to streamline workflows, grow practices, engage patients and give dentists more confidence. A study of general dentists showed an average growth of 120  Invisalign cases in the 12 months post iTero scanner integration, resulting in a six-figure revenue increases for those providers.1

“We scan all new adult patients on their first visit,” Dr. Cameron said. “It inspires patients and creates a ‘wow’ factor at a peak moment, building the same confidence for our patients that our providers have – and that’s a unique recipe to have both patients and providers on the same level.” 

Treatment planning using the viewer tool allows patients to see their dental and restorative challenges in 3D, and that helps with chairside patient education. 

“It’s an awakening. With awareness comes responsibility and the patients see it and understand it, and will make it happen,” Dr. Cameron explained. “If patients have malocclusion, it’s important to educate and inspire them to no longer ignore it. We do that by making them aware of their teeth shifting and grinding. Establish the concern using the viewer tool. Then show them what’s possible using Invisalign clear aligner therapy using the Invisalign Outcome Simulator. So, when they’re ready, they’ll come back to us.” 

Upon investing in five iTero Element intraoral scanners, Dr. Cameron said doctor confidence grew exponentially. “The Align Digital Platform of tools, technology and education provides doctors the assurance to plan treatment for their patients. This technology is the standard of care.”

When Dr. Cameron partnered with Lightwave in 2019, his relationship with Align helped drive same practice sales growth in its Virginia practices. “Invisalign treatment starts are up 44% year over year in Virginia,” Dr. Cameron said. “Using the iTero scanner, the viewer and the tools have allowed our doctors to communicate more confidently to our patients.” 

“Traditional DSOs see 2-3% same store sales growth and we’re seeing 9-10% same store sales growth,” Dr. Cameron continued. “There’s at least one iTero scanner in all Lightwave offices and we’re working to get a second and third iTero scanner in each of our offices.” 

“iTero scanners are a great technology,” Dr. Cameron said. “But Align isn’t just a product or supplier. They are a true partner in our educational journey. Lightwave also encourages their doctors to connect with orthodontists, and recently partnered with world-class orthodontic leaders in their markets, creating an even smoother pathway to other specialists, thereby removing traditional barriers to treatment.”

1 Study sponsored by Align Technology. Mackay M, Fallah M, Danyal T. Acquisition of a Digital Intraoral Scanning Device: An Examination of Practice Volume Changes and the Economic Impact via an Interrupted Time Series Analysis. Journal of Clinical Dentistry. 2017 Nov;28((Suppl)):S1-5.