September 19, 2013
by Oral Health
RogersOutRank Sees A 34% Rise In Dentists Performing Orthodontic Treatments
If your teeth have been straightened in the last 20 years the odds are high that the procedure was done by an orthodontist, but new technologies may change who performs these procedures in the future.
Carrie Shaw, Director of Marketing at OutRank by Rogers has been tracking this change in dental care. “Our office helped hundreds of dentists and orthodontists connect with patients though live bidding on Google Adwords. In 2012 our team handled over 5 million patient searches relating to dental procedures and the data shows how the industry is changing. To date we’ve seen about 34% of our dentistry partners optimizing their advertising for search words like Invisalign, invisible braces, aligners, and smile correction.”
A large part of this change is being driven by the ease of integrating these kinds of procedures into a dental practice. For a system such as Invisalign, a dentists can assess alignment issues and create moulds of patients’ teeth, techniques which are already common in a dental practices. These moulds are then sent to a laboratory where 10 to 20 sets of retainers are created. Requiring no new tools or additional staff, systems like this represent an a low barrier way for dentists to generate new business.
Dr. Sundeep J. Patel, a dentist who handles numerous requests for smile correction, sees a growing acceptance of cosmetic dentistry both from patients as well as doctors. “When I started my practice 15 years ago, only about 1 in 10 adults came into my office requesting cosmetic dentistry. Now we live in a cosmetic age where aesthetic treatments make up about 6 in 10 new patient requests. A fair portion of these includes some form of orthodontic treatment.”
From his practice in Winnipeg Dr. Patel continues to refer patients to orthodontists, but explains that “choosing to refer a patient is entirely up to the dentist. Each day I see more and more dentists doing general orthodontic work and I honestly think you’ll see this trend continue especially among young dentists in saturated markets.”
Yet what’s great for dentists can be a cause for alarm for orthodontists. Dr. Bruce McFarlanean orthodontist and mentor at ICANDO explains that, “For every orthodontist there are 10 dentists. Naturally oral health care professionals are expanding their services to adapt to the increased competition, but this doesn’t signal the end of the orthodontics as we know it today”.
There are many cases where traditional orthodontics are necessary to ensure the results patients want. For example, skeletal issues, overbites, and narrow bite profiles are common issues that can’t be solved with products like Invisalign. At Dr. McFarlane’s practice adult corrections represent about 30% of his total practice and of these cases only about one third are right for braces alternatives. “The worry for me is less about the competition, and more that patients are listening to their doctor’s advice and not fixating on a single treatment option,” explains Dr. McFarlane.