Technology to Support Your Orthodontic Practice
Dr. Michel Champagne, BA, DMD, MAGD, IBO, CDE
SMS messaging has changed the way we communicate. Everybody sends text messages in way or the other, maybe on different platforms but let’s be honest, who has not sent a text message in the last week starting with your kids, yourself or your parents and even grandparents. We are all present on the web no matter where and how, probably even more in this time of COVID. Many dental offices already use some algorithms for booking appointments, confirming them and even analyzing radiographs. Their use is much more popular than some of us might think. We could use them even more in areas as prevention, treatment follow up, etc. The pandemic has made the dento-medical world more inventive.
Some of us have used group SMS to make patients aware of what to expect before and during a dental appointment in this time of COVID and individual SMS for emergency consult, etc. This web relationship between doctor and patient may not be a panacea but still it can be used in a positive and constructive way. Orthodontic web follow up blends extremely well with patient care. Keep in mind that a well-informed patient is more prone to stay in your office and also recommend you to others. You will gain using such tools both for marketing and patient care. It makes it possible to give adapted and personalized advice to your patients. Think about reminding the patient on appliance wear, hygiene protocol, elastic wear or having the patient take a picture with his smartphone of his bite to see the progress or answer a question the patient has. The purpose of the SMS is not to replace an appointment but can certainly be complementary.
Make your patients take responsibility for their treatment simply by a reminder sent to a smartphone!
Yes, I must not forget to change my elastics 4 times a day.
I have to open my appliance screw 2 times a day,
Hey, I did not do my swallowing exercises today.
When patients leave your office, we are often questioning ourselves if they really understood the instructions. An SMS is an excellent way to repeat the instructions, often linked to a short video. An SMS control saves time to everyone, both patient (parents) and the doctor. With a personalized approach, you will have a better relation with your patients, which is a fundamental aspect both in treatment and marketing. You may not be a better doctor because you do that but you will certainly get a better office reputation. The market is full of orthodontic and general applications to make those follow up easy. First, I suggest you do a thorough examination to evaluate your needs thus avoid adding an expense that may not give you back any benefit because you made the wrong choice. If you already have some kind of basic system, see with your provider if they offer other options you might need to meet your goals. After a brief web research, we found 11 applications related to conventions and lectures, 3 to publications, 3 on products, 1 on ceph tracing-analysis and 2 on space analysis. Regarding direct doctor-patient relation for reminders on elastic wear, aligners, hygiene, we found 12 but not all were of good quality.
Listed here are the ones that got our attention:
- Dental Monitoring : the patient has the possibility to take pictures of his occlusion and smile in a pre-determined manner to assure a quality shot and then send it to the dental office. This way the doctor can appreciate patient’s progress. The price is not low and you need to have a big load of patients to make it worthwhile. Look it up at https://dental-monitoring.com. Annual fee for a determined number of patients, different plans available.
- IvoSmile Orthodontics: works only with 3Shape TRIOS. It is more of a consultation tool to show the patient how an orthodontic treatment can change and improve their smile. Free but you must have 3Shape TRIOS for it to work.
- Clear-PG : The patient has the possibility to take pictures of his occlusion and smile, send it to the office and discuss with the dentist. See it at https://clear-pg.com/virtual-consult-for-orthodontists-and-dentists.Annual fees apply.
- Ortho Screening : similar characteristics as Clear-PG but you have to register to get a quote. Different packages available depending on patient load. Look it up at https://orthoscreening.com. Annual fees apply.
- Smile-radar : Small application that has been on the market for the last few years. At the time of writing this blog the site was down and under reconstruction to give it a new look. Should be back in a few weeks with an upgraded site. The old version was free and we will see if they will charge for the new one. I will let you know on this blog when it is back and running.