Where should you invest
in technology for your
Howard Golan, DDS, JD
IF YOU HAVE SOME CAPITAL to invest in new technology for your practice, what
should you choose? As a dentist on the edge of innovation, I’ve walked down that
road. My experience may be valuable for you.
As all of us within the dental profession know, we are
in a health-care field experiencing unprecedented winds
of change and uncertainty. What will the future of dentistry
look like? How will consolidation, shifting patient dynamics,
health-care economics, and other factors affect our profession moving forward? And how will you as a practitioner
introduce change to ensure the proverbial ROI?
We, like other professionals, must have a mindset of
continuously improving our dental practices. We do this
primarily for our patients, as well as our own personal and
professional reasons. We constantly find ourselves asking
how we can make visits even better for our patients, improve
efficiency in the practice, improve our narratives and paperwork for third-party providers, all while generating more
revenue to drive practice growth.
As technology gets smaller, less expensive, and easier
to integrate, 2017 is a year where solo practitioners can
choose to merely monitor the trends—or be the year they
proactively address the challenges facing the profession,
creating windows of opportunity.
One way to accelerate improvement is to invest in the
practice through the acquisition of new technology. If you
are in a position this year to invest in a new piece of technology, what should you choose?
Let’s look at four technologies I’ve personally invested
in recently that should be at the top of almost every dentist’s
shopping list. I’ll also add comments about my experiences
with the technology over time.
DIGITAL INTRAORAL SCANNERS
Intraoral scanners are very popular in 2017, largely because
they replace impression materials where possible, digitally
capture and manipulate impressions, and improve efficiency in working with your lab. Other factors fueling
demand: costs are coming down, speed and accuracy have
improved, and there are more manufacturers than ever
jumping into this red-hot category.
However, it is important to consider that an intraoral
scanner for capturing digital impressions is just one component in a technology overhaul that may be required to
truly leverage the technology. I enjoy relying less on impression materials, and have spent years perfecting the
digital workflow between the intraoral scanner, in-office
mill, lab partners, and practice management software. Also,
I see innovation happening in this area relative to digitizing
orthodontics, implants, and even endodontics.
Make no mistake: digital dentistry is the way of the
future, but the investment required to truly leverage the
benefits of intraoral scanners can be a challenge for some
SCIENCE & TECH