Innovation in Group Practices

As patient expectations – and the need for greater efficiency in group practices – continue to impact dental technology, Ivoclar Vivadent focuses on research, education and training.

In a competitive industry such as dentistry, where patient expectations continue to drive office efficiency and productivity, group dental practices have come to depend on high quality products and technology. “We have observed significant changes in the dental industry in the last five years,” says Shashikant Singhal, BDS, MS, director of professional services, Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc. As patients raise their expectations for longer lasting, higher quality dental restorations, clinicians are changing their practice model to offer best treatments to their patients faster, efficiently and with options that are more economical, he points out. New, innovative products, together with the digitalization of the dental workflow process, have made this possible, he adds.

“Change can be observed both chairside in dental practices and in dental labs,” says Singhal – a prime example being computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems. “Since the first chairside CAD/CAM system was introduced in the mid-1980s, this technology has improved significantly,” he explains. “Contemporary scanners are faster, smaller, efficient, accurate and user-friendly, making it easier for dental offices and labs to implement automation in their workflow.” At the same time, dental manufacturers now offer better restorative products, he adds. The result has been new treatment options for patients with regard to fixed and removable prosthodontics, dental implantology, orthodontics and oral surgery.

That said, like all new technology, CAD/CAM systems require initial investment, and group practices must determine the level of technology that best supports their business model. Additionally, the office team must be trained and a digital workflow established to meet the needs of the office, notes Singhal. Often, dentists must expand their business model to incorporate new technology and ensure it facilitates increased efficiency, patient comfort and profitability. In the end, though, patients have a more positive chairside experience. “Today, patients can view their treatment planning by utilizing virtual software,” he says. “They can be educated during various clinical steps and receive restorations in a single visit!” Furthermore, it’s a marketing opportunity for the dental practice, which can attract and retain more patients.

“In addition, compared to analogue techniques, digital technology is cost effective,” Singhal continues. “The dental office team can scan intra-orally, and design and mill restorations for single-appointment restoration. Alternatively, scanned files can be digitally sent to dental labs with the click of a button. The dentist can discuss a patient’s dental treatment with the lab and, in turn, offer the patient an ideal solution, reducing the need for remakes and increasing efficiency, productivity, patient acceptance and profitability. And, at multidisciplinary group practices, digital technology can be effectively utilized by various specialties for multiple treatment modalities for better patient care.”

A mission to serve and educate
Ivoclar Vivadent’s mission to serve dentistry through “innovation, quality products and value-added service,” together with its commitment to dentists and patients alike, has enabled the company to develop “reliable products that maximize a group practice’s efficiency,” says Scott Welch, director of national accounts, Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc. “We invest millions of dollars each year into research and development,” he says. “These clinical trials are paramount to real practice success and efficiency throughout the industry. That’s what we feel doctors and patients understand, expect and deserve.”

Indeed, in a busy group dental practice, where clinicians are continually evaluated on their performance and efficiency, office time is often limited. As a result, training and education – the foundation for providing successful clinical outcomes – don’t always take precedence. Ivoclar Vivadent provides a variety of solutions to successfully meet these challenges, says Welch.

“Education provides the platform for cutting-edge information on techniques, technology and clinical products within the market,” he continues. “Ivoclar Vivadent believes that education is the key component to success in helping dentists address the daily challenges they face within their practice.” Ultimately, this leads to optimal clinical outcomes, satisfied patients and overall self-esteem, he adds.

By providing innovation matched with educational support to as many dental clinicians as possible, Ivoclar Vivadent strives to “increase knowledge and awareness of the various challenges that dentists face in their practice,” Welch says. “Based on the type of structure of the DSO, the training will vary. Ivoclar Vivadent provides industry-leading educational speakers, webinars and online training, all of which are effective means to meet the variety of educational needs of DSO practitioners.”

Ivoclar Vivadent collaborates with major dental learning institutions across North America, in addition to its training facilities located in New York, Florida and Ontario, Canada, according to Welch. The company also hosts Open House programs for dentists and their key staff at its North American headquarters in Amherst, New York. These are distraction-free formats where attendees can become thoroughly acquainted with the benefits associated with the Ivoclar Vivadent product line. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for doctors to peek inside products and get to meet our people,” says Welch. It’s also an opportunity for Welch and his colleagues at Ivoclar Vivadent to learn from program attendees – including dentists, dental assistants and dental technicians – and to create “confidence and long-standing relationships” with them. “Our internal education team spends countless hours creating instructional videos and hosting webinars, enabling our doctors to learn remotely,” he adds.

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