Technology is revolutionizing the dental industry. Particularly since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have come to rely on technology more than ever before. In recent years, there have been significant advances in technology that are helping to improve the patient experience, offer transparency in healthcare, and increase the efficiency of dental practices and surgeries.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 5 technologies and tools you can use to help your patients feel safe and comfortable in your practice. We hope they provide some much-needed inspiration for your own practice so you can make valuable changes that benefit both your staff and patients now and in the future.
1. CAD/CAM Technology
CAD/CAM technology is a huge time saver for dentists and their patients. If you don’t know what this technology is, it stands for Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). These technologies are what help design and create the precision tools dentists require, as well as supporting dental treatments such as restorations, dentures, inlays and bridges (to name a few).
By using CAD/CAM technology, dentists can design tooth restorations based off of a 3D custom image that is taken of the patient’s teeth. Once the design is complete, the restoration process can begin.
The whole process saves a lot of time, both for dentists and patients, as there is no need for the 3D images to be sent to a laboratory for processing. Instead, everything can be completed in-house. This is also beneficial as everything can be completed on the same day, reducing appointment times and resulting in less invasive dental procedures.
2. Digital CT Imaging
An increasing number of dentists are improving their patient experience by offering digital CT imaging as part of their service. This special type of x-ray equipment, otherwise known as 3D imaging, produces detailed 3D images of a patient’s teeth, nerve pathways, soft tissues, and bone in a single scan. It’s an amazing technology that is widely used by dentists to support more accurate diagnosis and precise treatment advice.
Digital CT imaging is extremely beneficial for patients and is a great technology for increased patient comfort and trust in your practice. What’s more, CT scanners have been built to use less radiation than older x-ray technologies, helping keep patients safe.
With the help of digital CT imaging, patients can more easily understand what is going on inside their mouth, what problems need fixing, and how the proposed treatment will work. Dentists can show the 3D scans to their patients and share any data with them, if this is helpful.
3. Contactless Payments
Since the pandemic, many people are nervous about getting sick when attending appointments at doctors’ offices, dental surgeries, and hospitals. This is understandable as these places are typically where sick people go. However, for many, the fear of infection has caused them to avoid or put off receiving the treatment they need.
One of the technologies helping put patients’ minds at ease, by reducing the risk of infection, are safe, cashless payments. These clever, portable, and efficient payment portals allow patients to receive their dental treatment and make a payment. What’s more, contactless payment devices help reduce the risk of spreading infection by reducing touchpoints around the practice and maintaining good levels of hygiene.
An increasing number of dental practices are now offering contactless payments as a way to reassure and comfort their patients post-pandemic.
4. Patient Check-in Kiosks
Another technology improving the patient experience is check-in kiosks. These touch screen devices are ideal for patients wanting a fast and efficient service, without the hassle of waiting in line at reception. According to Business News Daily, “Patient check-in kiosks improve both the patient and provider experience from start to finish.”
Check-in kiosks are extremely beneficial for patients as they allow patients to sign in upon arrival and seat themselves in the waiting room, without the need to talk with the receptionist. They are a brilliant post-pandemic strategy for dental surgeries. Kiosks drastically reduce queues, save time (for both patients and staff), improve accuracy, reduce office workload, and offer a level of convenience many people find comforting.
According to Boost Medical, “The basic function of a patient portal is to engage patients in their own care, educating them on not only their personal health but also assisting them to take control of their treatment options.” This technology is revolutionizing the way dentists provide care and the way that patients access this care.
5. Patient Communication Portals
Just a few years ago, the only way to communicate with your dentist, find out test results, and book appointments was by ringing the receptionist at your dental practice. This would often result in a lot of back-and-forth as the receptionist tried to find out the information you wanted and assured you the dentist would be in contact. For most, the whole process was time-consuming and frustrating.
Patient communication portals are the technology transforming all that. These secure sites are typically accessed via a mobile application or website URL. They allow for patients to gain 24/7 access to their medical information without having to ring their surgery. Patient portals are extremely beneficial, for both dentists and their patients, as they provide much-needed support when it’s needed most.
There are many features patient portals have, but some of the most impactful include: direct communication with medical professionals, a list of medications, full medical records, the ability to book and keep track of appointments, prescription ordering, and visit summaries. Patient communication portals allow your patients to take control of their medical care. They provide comfort and reassurance, particularly during difficult times, and access to professional support when needed most.
As you can see, there are many technologies and tools being used by dentists to help patients feel safe and comfortable. We hope this article has highlighted some possible solutions for your practice so that you can improve your level of care, reduce staff workload, and most importantly, provide the support your patients need.
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