Same-day dentistry significantly reduces chair time, maximizing the number of patients you can have in a day. Just as with any business, this means more cash inflow for your dental office.
It also offers a better patient experience since patients won’t have to come over for a second, third, or nth time. It’s a great help for patients who carefully consider their PTO (Paid Time Off).
Same-day dentistry, also known as one-visit dentistry, is the process of shortening two-or-more-visit procedures into just one chair session. In terms of dental restorations, same-day dentistry allows you to provide your patient with a case immediately, instead of having them wait a week or a month.
So, not only are you getting more customers, but you’re also providing a better customer experience with same-day dentistry. Dr. Miguel Casanas, the owner of Meadowbrook Dental, discusses in-depth how dentists can offer same-day dentistry in this Evident webinar interview. This guide goes over some critical takeaways on the easiest way to get into same-day dentistry.
Have the Right In-House Equipment
Dr. Casanas has set up his own in-house digital facility that allows him to offer same-day treatments and restorations. With this, he can create crowns, bridges, and other cases right in his dental office.
There are just a few items you need to produce cases in-house.
- Intraoral Scanner. This scanner is used chairside, accurately capturing a digital impression of the patient’s mouth. Instead of a physical wax impression, you’re getting model files in various formats. High-end digital scanners will cost you upwards of $10,000.
- 3D printer. You’ll need a 3D printer to print the cases you design. After you’ve scanned the patient’s mouth and designed an appropriate denture for them, you can 3D print their denture for them to try on. A dental 3D printer has tons of uses, from creating diagnostic wax-ups to final fixed dentures. A good entry-level dental 3D printer is priced at around $4,000.
- Resins and materials. You can’t have a printer without ink. Depending on the dental 3D printer you get, you’ll need the appropriate resin to go with it. For example, if you’ve gone and bought yourself a mill instead of a 3D printer, you’ll need blocks and discs instead of cartridges. Generally, a single-item order (e.g., cartridge or disc) of zirconia will cost you about $100. You’ll need to resupply this on a regular basis.
- Sintering Oven. A sintering oven sinters a 3D-printed or milled case, fusing its particles together. This results in a restoration that is stronger, denser, and more biocompatible than the pre-sintered material. It also removes any porosity from the case, allowing it to function properly as a tooth (or set of teeth). A dental sintering oven can cost around $6,000.
- CAD/CAM software. CAD/CAM software allows you to digitally design and manufacture your cases. The most used dental CAD/CAM software are 3Shape and exocad. Make sure you legitimately purchase the software; pirating software used for health applications is a breach of HIPAA regulations and can come with costly fines.
Dr. Miguel mentions that his equipment has had a return on investment after a year. But do note, this equipment isn’t as easy to use as sales agents make it seem. Yes, they do make the restoration workflow easier, but there’s a learning curve to them that you’ll have to overcome before you see a more streamlined process.
Train Your Staff
It doesn’t matter if you have the latest and greatest dental equipment in-house or an entry-level intraoral scanner; if your staff isn’t well-equipped to handle these tools, you aren’t going to maximize their use.
Educating your staff is critical to running a same-day service. If everyone on your team can fully utilize the tools at their disposal, cases will be fabricated faster and possibly within the hour of sending your case.
A well-equipped team also means you won’t have to do everything yourself. For example, as you’re scanning a patient in the afternoon, some of your staff could be staining and glazing a case for a patient who came in that morning.
So, in addition to a more efficient team, you’d also be freed up for other crucial tasks. Pair this with a fully digital workflow and the right equipment and/or partners, and a same-day dental service will be within arm’s reach.
Adopt Digital Workflows
The benefit of a digital workflow over an analog one is that you don’t have to send a physical item (e.g., an impression, model, or prototype try-in) back to the lab whenever there’s an error. This back-and-forth shipping consumes time and shipping fees, which can be exponentially problematic if you’re operating in a high-traffic area.
Digital workflows eliminate the need for physical impressions and models. Everything is done digitally, which means that if you need to send a design back to your design partner, they can correct it in one or two hours. As opposed to an analog method, which could take up to two weeks to be remade.
You also won’t be shelling out for shipping since you’ll be sending the design file over the internet. This also means that the state of traffic outside won’t affect your turnaround time.
If you wish to step foot into digital dentistry, you need to have at the very least, an intraoral scanner. The next step would be purchasing a 3D printer and its compatible material.
Dr. Miguel reported that since going digital, one of their offices has quadrupled in revenue within two and a half years. In that same time frame, another office grew by about 40%. All-in-all, he estimated about $3 million in revenue from adopting digital operations.
The upfront cost for an in-house dental facility can be hefty for a lot of dental offices. That doesn’t mean they can’t still provide same-day service to their customers, though.
Suppose a dental office can only afford to invest in an intraoral scanner. In that case, they can outsource to dental labs to design and fabricate dentures for them.
But if you’re marketing and promising a “same-day” service, you’d want to choose your partners carefully. Make sure they can deliver immediately so you can still provide a same-day service for your customers.
At Evident, we can create digital designs for labs and clinics. Simply send us the scans along with your notes, and we’ll design a case for you within hours. You may then print or mill this design yourself or have someone else fabricate it for you.
Evident’s partnered labs and manufacturers are likewise capable of same-day fabrication. Our various partners can give you immediate solutions, such as a same-day fabricated crown.
Do note that if you outsource to partners, you may not be able to achieve a single-appointment workflow. But at the very least, you can attach a patient’s new crown on the very same day if they come in before lunch.
Faster Turnaround, More Patients
Delivering the best possible care for your patients involves making sure they get the restorations they need as soon as possible.
This includes overcoming the challenges of traditional dentistry and integrating modern methods into your operations, such as investing in the right equipment, adopting a digital workflow, and educating your staff. You may also acquire the help of an outsourced partner to help create cases for you. Do these things, and you’ll achieve same-day dentistry.
Same-day dentistry minimizes chair time and the number of required visits. Not only does this provide a better patient experience, but it also allows them to immediately get back to the routine of their lives.
From a business standpoint, this increases your capacity to see more patients in a day. As a result, you also increase your revenue.
But it’s not just about the money; it’s also about future-proofing your clinic, your staff, and yourself. Being left behind by the rapidly changing technology curve can cost you more in the long run, especially if you’re trying to grow a business.