A visit to the dental office in the 21st century. Words to describe this event: fun, informative, exciting, interesting, wow!
Are we describing a visit to the dental office or a visit to the fairground? It's true. How do I know? Our patients tell us. Lets describe a persons first visit to our office.
A VISIT TO THE 21ST CENTURY DENTAL OFFICE
|Figure 1. Front desk greeting.|
An appointment (we need a new name for this event in the future's—how about reservation?) is made over the telephone or by e-mail. The new visitor/guest (formerly known as patient) arrives and is greeted by a warm, caring, empathetic woman who has been working with me for almost 25 years (Figure 1). The guest is asked to fill out the currently required information. (In the future, we will be able to get all this information, including medical history, from an iris scanner, just as I can do now when I reenter Canada at the airport.)
|Figure 2. Greeting the rest of the team.|
|Figure 3. Four photos are taken with the intraoral camera.|
Next, guests have a tour of the office and are introduced to the rest of the team on the tour, just as if they were a guest in our home (Figure 2). Then they are escorted into a treatment room, where we take a dental history verbally and find out what goals they have for their immediate and future dental care. Next, using our intraoral camera, we take 4 photos and leave them on the screen for viewing (Figure 3). The 4 photos are full-face, smile, upper arch, and lower arch photos.
Next, an intraoral exam using a checklist approach is done. We explain to our guests that we do it this way for 2 reasons: (1) to be sure we are consistent and do not miss anything, similar to an airline pilot using a checklist every time he flies, and (2) so they will be able to hear everything we are noting about their oral condition and have the freedom to ask questions. This involves them in the exam procedure and is based on the teachings of the late Dr. Robert Barkley. At the appropriate point during this process, we will introduce them to the DIAGNOdent device (KaVo USA, Figure 4), knowing they will be fascinated by the little laser that can detect caries before the caries can be probed with an explorer and is visible on x-rays (digital, of course, and we will talk about that later). During the exam, if we need to elaborate on a particular area that needs a crown or onlay, for example, we will take a close-up photo of that area to review on the screen. Figure 5 shows a close-up as the work is about to proceed.
We will then discuss the process of doing the 2 onlays or crowns by explaining about our amazing, exciting CAD/CAM CEREC 3D machine (Sirona). We play a 2-minute DVD from CAESY that will give third-party verification (as taught by the late Dr. L.D. Pankey) and all the advantages of having crowns done with the CEREC system:
(1) one appointment instead of 2;
(2) needing anesthetic only once;
(3) not having to wear temporaries for several weeks;
(4) not having to have messy impressions;
(5) less postoperative sensitivity;
(6) and tooth-colored resto-rations.
|Figure 4. Patients are impressed when introduced to the DIAGNOdent device.||Figure 5. Close-up photo of area needing treatment. (See postoperative result in Figure 10.)|
|Figure 6. Digital radiography eases patients minds about radiation exposure.||Figure 7. A lemon-scented towel is presented to the patient.|
|Figure 8. The patient is enthusiastic upon completion of the visit because of the level of care he or she has received.||Figure 9. The CEREC milling machine.|
|Figure 10. Completed CEREC restorations accomplished in one visit. (See Figure 5 for the before photo.)||Figure 11. CEREC unit.|
Next, guests will be guided into the x-ray room, where they will be given the wonderful news that due to our use of digital radiographs, we can calm any concern regarding radiation exposure (Figure 6). Following this, a warm, lemon-scented towel is presented (Figure 7), coming from a machine that resembles a computer CPU. Then they walk to the reception area full of enthusiasm and happy to pay (Figure 8), because according to them, this was the most thoroughly they have ever been treated and they cannot wait to come back and watch their new restorations being made in front of their eyes (Figures 9 and 10). Figure 11 shows my grandson designing a full crown on the new CEREC 3D, a program that makes the learning curve for dentists much easier.
They pay for their visit with a smile on their face. Our accounts receivable stands at $0.00 after 40 years in practice. (That is another story.)
This "fantasy" dental visit is real. We do it every day, and there are still many technologies we do not have yet. We decide on what technologies we need by asking, "How will this help me provide a better service?"
As Goethe said, "It is not so important where we stand, but in what direction we are moving."