How to Convert Dentists into a Digital Workflow 

Dentist Using an Intraoral Scanner on a Patient

It takes two hands to clap. If labs want to achieve a fully digital workflow, they’ll need to get their dentists into that kind of workflow as well. 

The primary benefit of this digital workflow is that back-and-forths are sped-up and edits are streamlined. That’s because the need to ship out a physical item (i.e., patient models, diagnostic wax-ups) is eliminated with a digital workflow.  

But getting dentists to adopt this workflow isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Especially for those dentists who have been doing things analog for the longest time.

Vjekoslav Budimir - Meet Europe's Most Digital Lab Webinar

Vjekoslav Budimir, owner of 3DLab in Croatia, discusses with Evident in a webinar interview how he was able to get his dentists to adopt digital workflows. 

Why Do Dentists Stick to Analog? 

Evident has worked with hundreds of labs and thousands of dentists. We’ve nurtured a continuous relationship with each one. We’ve found that the most hindering issues in adopting a digital workflow are: 

  • Lack of education and technical know-how. 
  • Huge up-front expenses. 
  • A purist philosophy. 

That last one is the hardest to overcome. 

But after reading this guide, labs will have more “convincing power” and better overcome the three hurdles. 

How to Convert Your Dentists into a Digital Workflow 

Here are some implementations that can help your lab convert dentists to a digital workflow. 

Educational Resources 

A helicopter is a faster mode of transportation than a car. But a car operator who doesn’t fly will arrive later with a helicopter than with a car. 

That same idea applies to clinics that are new to digital workflows. It will take a while for them to see results with new, unfamiliar technology. 

Meanwhile, dentists who’ve never done a digital workflow may be overwhelmed by the idea. So, they stick to what’s “tried-and-tested” and end up never getting into digital. 

To address the reservations about digital workflows, labs may invest in educational efforts for both partnered dentists and potential clients. 

Here are some commonly used educational sources that labs produce: 

  • Free online webinars. These webinars provide dentists with free, valuable information. The discussions in these webinars can nudge dentists into better business practices, such as adopting a digital workflow. These webinars are also an opportunity for labs to establish their authority and credibility.  
  • Complete online courses. In addition to free webinars, labs can also hold complete educational courses that can provide dentists with new skills. A useful course could be about a comprehensive guide to dental CAD/CAM, same-day dentistry, or mastering a chairside workflow. 
  • Blog articles. Blog articles have been extensively used by companies to nudge audiences to their services. Dental labs can do the same to convert their customers to a digital workflow. Blogs can cover topics such as the benefits of digital dentistry, how to get into digital dentistry, and how to be profitable with digital dentistry. 

These resources serve as an updated curriculum, which dentists may not have been taught back in dental school. 

By creating learning resources, labs build authority in their industry and help convert their clientele to a more efficient workflow. 

Support Centers 

Business 101 says that companies should support their customers even after the sale. So, if labs retail digital dentistry solutions, they should have a support center to address customer concerns. 

Having support centers allows dentists to unlock the true potential of their newly-purchased equipment. Vjekoslav mentions that his lab has satellite centers around Croatia where dentists can avail services and raise concerns. 

It reduces hiccups in the dentists’ workflow since they’ll be getting the necessary customer support. Also, they’ll learn more about operating their equipment in a business-efficient manner. 

Support centers also help disgruntled dentists with broken or defective units. By having support centers, these units can be diagnosed, repaired, and even replaced. 

This encourages dentists to continuously work with a digital workflow. 

In terms of marketing and customer support, support centers are a great way to gather common customer concerns and queries. This data will allow labs to refine their education campaigns and improve customer retention. 

On-site Representative 

When dentists purchase digital dentistry equipment from a lab (e.g., IOS scanner, chairside system), it’s recommended that the lab send a representative to the clinic. 

A well-versed representative will help set up the equipment/system, walk the clinic through the workflow, and answer any questions staff might have. 

The representative may train staff for a certain duration or until the clinic becomes productive with the workflow. 

The on-site representative should be dedicated and hands-on. The clinic should get a lab representative who will train them as if they were the lab’s staff. 

This will result in a more harmonious synergy between the clinic and the lab. In turn, this reduces cost, improves output, and, more importantly, engages the dentist with the workflow. 

Rent out IOS Scanners 

Intraoral (IOS) scanners are the first step dentists can take into the world of digital dentistry. 

Having this tool allows them to take digital scans. Also, the accompanying IOS scanner software enables dentists to manage scans and digitally collaborate with labs. 

However, IOS scanners come with a massive up-front price tag. They range from $10,000 all the way up to $50,000. 

They’re not something dentists buy on a whim. Also, the expense can discourage dentists from giving digital dentistry a try. So, labs that retail IOS scanners (and other digital solutions) may rent out these tools to dentists. 

Dentists can get started with a digital workflow, which allows them to work with the lab better. Shipping costs are eliminated, and back-and-forth exchanges are instantaneous. 

Renting also allows dentists to familiarize themselves with the digital process without spending massive megabucks. 

Vjekoslav mentions some of their dentists eventually bought IOS scanners after renting and using them for some time. 

Renting out IOS scanners gives labs an added source of revenue and shapes dentists into customers that are easier (and more cost-effective) to work with. 

Converting Dentists to a Digital Workflow 

Digital workflows don’t just benefit the clinic-lab relationship. They’re also highly beneficial for the overall healthcare sector. 

When more dentists adopt digital workflows, faster dental care becomes more accessible. 

Educating and convincing don’t stop once the dentist converts to digital. Converting is a continuous effort to ensure that dentists find success in their new workflow. So, make sure to be consistent and committed to supporting your dentists. 

Once you’ve successfully built a digital clientele, you can offload some design work to Evident. 

Increase your lab’s capacity by partnering with Evident. We’re a digital design company that employs over 100 expert designers. We finish the final designs in as little as 30 minutes. So, while you and your team clock out for the night, we’ll be churning out digital restoration designs that you can mill in the morning. 

Simply send us the scans and the Rx. We’ll do the rest.