We Can Do It! – Your Dental Assistant and CAD/CAM: A Powerful Combination

By Jennifer Blackburn, Practice Consultant, Burkhart Practice Support Team

The introduction of chairside CAD/CAM dentistry has expanded opportunities for the dental assistant and the dental practice as a whole.

Using digital technology, dental assistants now have a more vital role in all phases of the restorative process. They have the capability to streamline the schedule, free the doctor up to accommodate mid-appointment hygiene checks, increase production, and decrease overhead costs – all the while, increasing their involvement and job satisfaction.

Streamline the Schedule
Through the use of digital technology, the doctor and assistant are able to take advantage of breaks within each appointment to provide higher production treatment in both restorative ops by staggering the schedule. It also maximizes the patient experience and efficiencies and supports timing of hygiene evaluations to occur mid-appointment.

Imagine a schedule like the one to the right. The first patient arrives at 8:00 a.m. for a same-visit crown restoration. Anesthetic is administered, the assistant scans the opposing arch, captures the bite and selects the shade. By this time, the patient is numb and the doctor can prep the tooth.

It is now 8:30 a.m. and patient No. 2 arrives. The patient is seated and topical is placed while the doctor performs the exam on the patient in the hygiene room.

The assistant, after placing topical anesthetic, returns to the 8 a.m. patient to design* the crown restoration. This replaces the final impression and bite registration, saving the doctor time and the cost of impression materials.

It is now 8:45 a.m. and the doctor returns to approve the design and the assistant initiates milling while they begin the same process with patient No. 2.

Accommodate Mid-Appointment Hygiene Checks
Greater case acceptance results from the patient having time to process treatment recommendations and ask questions if necessary. By performing the hygiene exam mid-appointment, the patient has time to consider the treatment discussed and the hygienist has time to support the doctor’s recommendations. In addition, the front office now has time to prepare a financial plan for a smooth transition at the end of the appointment.

Increase Production
Having the assistant take on a larger role frees the doctor to do more productive and clinically intense procedures, in addition to treating another patient, consulting, or a hygiene check, without sacrificing precious time during the day.

Decrease Overhead
A dental assistant capturing images for orthodontic or restorative care procedures removes or limits the expense of impression trays, impression materials, temporary crown materials, lab fees and packing and shipping costs.

Increase Job Satisfaction
Empowering the dental assistant to more fully participate in all aspects of care provided by the practice leads to higher job satisfaction, increased motivation, improved employee retention and better patient care.

For more information about scheduling efficiencies, please reach out to the Burkhart Practice Support Team to request our Zone Scheduling Template. If you’d like more information about the bottom line impact of adding digital impressions to your practice, see page 6.

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