How to Overcome Soft Skills Deficits with Digital Dentistry

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There is a common need between patients and the care team. Patients want a clear understanding of the pathway to a better smile, improved and assured health, and a more comfortable lifestyle conveniently and painlessly. The dental team should be confident in their ability to offer a predictable and efficient treatment plan. With the means to communicate the pathway and result to the patient, the patient clearly understands treatment from start to finish and is convinced that a positive outcome is worth their time and participation.

Dentistry is a blend of talents – the beauty of artistry, curiosity and scientific problem solving, and the heart of compassion. However, a dental care team requires proficiencies beyond hard technical skills to be successful.

All staff needs to be more than technically proficient – behavioral or soft skills – communication, time management, and problem-solving are necessary to work effectively. Recruiting for these skills from the latest graduating class or new talent becomes critical to practice success. In addition, “newbies” can lack confidence or a practice mentor to help them learn how to communicate treatment plans to patients. A nervous tone and lack of structure could unintentionally overwhelm a patient talking them out of a procedure, delaying needed care, or causing them to seek treatment elsewhere. Without calibrated treatment protocols, care coordinators may be confused about the best next steps of care that are most efficient for the practice and associated specialists and labs. Ultimately, frustration sets in and seeps into the office culture. The staff and patients notice. Resignations begin, and production decreases when the appointment calendar is open.

What can dental groups employ as a tool when the skills are lacking to improve outcomes and right the cultural course? Dental technology is more than a diagnostic tool. It is a beneficial means of enabling conversations, enhancing efficiency, synchronizing patient care, and bolstering both staff and patient confidence in care.

Consider the number of scans, patients out the door, and ROI beyond production stats when evaluating technology. Then, go beyond and factor in the inherent value of digital dentistry as an essential resource for the practice. Your dental technology portfolio becomes the source of better medicine and a tool for the staff to communicate treatment to the patient. You don’t need to understand the algorithms’ sophistication and magic, but you need to use it to its full capability to appreciate the total return on investment. The potential of technology is in its capacity to improve the lives of the staff and patient – and even those of your colleagues as you become easy to work with, timely in care delivery, and clear and concise in treatment.

Connecting diagnosis, treatment, and patient satisfaction can begin with superior Planmeca CBCT imaging to the advanced capabilities of the Planmeca FIT® Plus CAD/CAM system. The open architecture of Planmeca Romexis® to an easy way to share and consult with specialists and labs. The integration of the Planmeca workflow opens the ability to come to a treatment conclusion, be it from the ease of open and collaborative consultation without inconveniencing your patients with referrals and multiple appointments to raising the bar to advanced in-house restorative treatments.

Take advantage of the full features when setting out the treatment case. A complete workflow sets the stage through CBCT imaging, intraoral scans, and photography. The value of robust technology such as the 3-1-1 features of the Planmeca Emerald® S scanner – intraoral scans, photographs, and transillumination caries images, are presented to quickly explain the diagnosis in a clear, precise, and easy-to-understand way for the patient. Supported by digital smile design mock-ups, clinicians can easily present the clear and precise path to an improved look, and case acceptance rates will top the scales.

Digital dental technology has set the stage to share the vision with the patient – but now focuses on enhancing the team’s skills. Quality training will level up skills and enhances the team’s worth. With the array of support that is the heart and soul of Planmeca, from introductory and advanced classes to in-office hands-on integration and digital support access, the drive to improve engagement is an investment in job satisfaction and retention. Dentistry becomes artistry again when assistants advance to master-level classes in design and learn the sophistication of esthetic design. Couching up new skills becomes a tangible improvement perceptible across the office as they become passionate about improving themselves and, ultimately, the lives of their patients.

From start to finish, with no surprises, the result of an investment in digital dentistry is an investment beyond measure to elevate the patient, doctor, and staff experiences. When everyone has the tools to communicate, there is assurance that you are on the path to better practice outcomes.

To learn more about the digital dentistry’s leading technology,
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