Biggest Dental Tech Trends in 2019

With each passing year, technology used in medical settings is advancing leaps and bounds, and more recently the dental industry has started to take advantage of it.

Nova Computer Solutions, an IT support company specializes in dental technology, compiled a list of the biggest anticipated technology trends of 2019 in the recent blog “What Are The Biggest Dental Technology Trends of 2019.”

“In 2019 and beyond, dental technology is expected to make treatment more comfortable and affordable,” reads the blog. “With the frenetic pace at which digital capabilities are evolving, these technologies will likely become even more highly-developed, allowing dental practices to carry out their work seamlessly.”

3D Printing

Three-dimensional printing is the fastest growing technological developments in the dental industry. Nova writes that dental labs are now using it to keep tasks–like denture bases and surgical guides–in house rather than outsourcing them.

Another advantage the blog mentions is that it can now be done more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

“When dentists no longer have to delegate the creation of oral apparatus to a third party, they can make these products and devices more readily available to patients, often at a lower cost,” reads the blog. “Industry leaders predict that the next big breakthrough in 3D printing in the oral healthcare arena will be the advent of permanent crowns.”

Cloud-Based Software

With so many applications now connected to the cloud, NOVA is not surprised that the platform has enhanced the capabilities of dental technology too.

Because the cloud allows both clinicians and patients to access information from any location in real time, this integrated system is transforming the healthcare and dental industries.

Dentists are now using these systems to maintain patient records and share information with practitioners in multiple locations, and clinicians and staff can access data they need — administrative, clinical and financial — within the same system.

“The cloud also makes it possible to access data on a more significant number and variety of devices,” the blog reads. “What used to only be available on a small amount of desktop computers can now be retrieved via laptop, smartphone and tablet as well. Tech developers have responded to this trend by improving communication channels– such as text and chat– and data security.”

Digital Impressions

NOVA writes that the days when patients bit down on putty to get impressions of their teeth are almost gone.

Images once taken with a foot petal are now captured with scanners that absorb large amounts of data in seconds, reads the blog.

“Current software allows for higher-quality renderings than those created through more traditional means,” the blog reads. “Information can be gathered much more quickly and conveniently– both for the patient and the practitioner. Today’s methods for taking impressions can also identify weaknesses in the process so that missing data can be supplied seamlessly, improving the accuracy of images captured and the speed at which this task can be accomplished.”

Digitizing of Tools and Treatments

NOVA believes that in the not-so-distant future, dental tools and procedures will become highly-digitized, allowing for less invasive treatments via laser technology. The painless treatments would eliminate the need for anesthesia and would shorten recovery times. They would also be much more beneficial for patients with special needs or those who have a fear of needles.

With the aforementioned technologies, NOVA predicts that dental practices could boost their bottom lines while improving service delivery by doing more with less.

“The benefits of these technologies will, in turn, make patients more likely to see the dentist on a regular basis, improving oral health among the general population and providing additional resources for clinicians to continue to customize and optimize their services,” the blog reads.





Benefits of Temping for Recent College Grads

With college graduation comes a lot of excitement.

No more early classes, no more staying up at night studying, no more tests.

But because graduating college could also be stressful, as finding the right job is often anxiety producing, Peter Vogt of Monster.com recommends temping for recent college graduates in his article “The Benefits of Temping for College Students and Grads.”

“Taking on temporary assignments can be a way for college students and new grads to do their own testing — with respect to their career plans, at least,” Vogt writes. By working for a temporary employment agency, they can test-drive potential careers, while saving time and money on the wrong ones.”

Vogt goes on to write that while temping is a great way for college students and recent graduates to make money while also learning new skills, it’s also very empowering and provides the rare chance to try out jobs in specific industries and companies without a long-term commitment.

Phil Blair, executive officer of Manpower Staffing Services of San Diego, the third-largest Manpower temp-firm franchise in the United States, told Vogt for the article that both the temp service and the temp employee are using each other to each’s gain.

“Students can temp to gain exposure to a specific industry-related skill set — for example, marketing, venture capital, law or banking — or to get a foot in the door of a specific company,” Blair said. “Meanwhile, the staffing agent is getting an opportunity to have a very bright and articulate candidate represent his or her firm in an important assignment that needs to be filled.”

Anna Ivey, author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, told Vogt that because temping is temporary, new graduates can temp without any kind of resume penalty because they aren’t expected to stay in one position for a long time while they’re in school, adding that the career exploration upside is huge.

“And these days, even recent college graduates aren’t penalized for temping for a while, because it looks more professional for people to do their homework on different careers and niches by temping than to accept a series of ostensibly permanent jobs and being faithful to none,” Ivey said. “Employers would much rather see a serial temp than a serial job-hopper, even if the actual job experience ends up being the same on both types of resumes.”

If you’re a recent college grad, and you’re interested in temping in the dental industry, check out our website and available dental temp jobs at https://dentaljobmarketplace.com/jobs/





Managers Should Develop These Skills in 2019

A manager is one of the most important aspects of any workplace.

A manager keeps the place running. A manager cultivates the working environment. A manager can make all the difference between an employee who performs to the best of his or her ability and one who merely shows up.

So, what does it take to be a good manager?

In the Forbes article “The Five Most Important Skills for Managers to Develop in 2019,” Sally Percy shares the perspective of five academics, who each give one skill managers should focus on this year.

Curiosity

Karlien Vanderheyden, a professor in people management and leadership at Vlerick Business School in Belgium, says it’s important for managers to develop a strong level of curiosity with the acceleration of digital technologies in the workplace.

Vanderheyden thinks managers should be more open to new experiences while being more aware of what technologies could work best for their business and be willing to implement them.

“Being curious allows managers to better listen to their colleagues and workers, and to take on board new ideas that could benefit their organization,” said Vanderheyden. “It enables managers to consider new solutions to any obstacles that they might encounter, allowing them to react quicker and more effectively.”

Constant Learner

Thierry Picq, a professor of management and director of early makers development at Emlyon Business School in France, said tomorrow’s most critical competence is knowing how to learn.

Picq said managers who know their learning styles are able to take on new information and knowledge at a deeper, faster rate, allowing managers to keep up with the increasing pace of today’s business world. This also allows managers to act and react as quickly and successfully as possible.

Values Staff

Nadia-Yin Yu, an assistant professor of people and organization at NEOMA Business School in France, said managers need to recognize two-way communication between themselves and their employees as a more effective approach than the traditional top-down management style.

Yu said that good leaders empower employees by listening to their voices, which leads to them managing their businesses more effectively. However, she said, empowerment must be appropriately limited, as employees vision of objectives can be incomplete.

Willingness to Empower

Konstantin Korotov, a professor of organizational behavior at business school ESMT Berlin in Germany, thinks good managers empower their employees to take on more responsibilities themselves rather than checking in with them for everything.

“Korotov points out that true empowerment relies on employees feeling comfortable about making their own decisions based on the information they get and their connectivity to the rest of the organization,” Percy writes. “They would also need to be willing to accept their own responsibility for the decisions made. For some people, that may be a significant developmental task.”

Practical Perspective

Chia-Jung Tsay, an associate professor of organizational behavior at UCL School of Management in the U.K., believes managers can cultivate dynamic business environments by having a practical perspective, which means: realistically assessing the available options, systematically considering the characteristics of those options, and making efforts to understand the perspective and interests of other stakeholders.

By taking a more deliberate approach, Tsay said managers avoid making the less informed decisions that often happen under pressure, and they create opportunities to find synergies based on shared interests.





How to Use a Self-Review to Ask for a Raise

If you’re a dental hygienist and you think you deserve a raise, odds are you probably do, writes Carly Scala, RDH, in her DentistryIQ article “The right to ask for a raise: A hygienist’s self-review can initiate a pay review.”

“Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out (while totally loving helping people overcome said situations) is exhausting,” she writes. “Sticking with one employer through the good days and bad days is tough.”

Scala knows hygienists deserve more pay because of the things they put up with on a daily basis, however, at the end of the day it’s still a business, and a business should reward stellar employees with merit increases and recognition.

And the key to that recognition, she says, is outlined in the categories of:

  • Numbers
  • Patient happiness
  • Personal investment
  • Team building

Below, Scala breaks down these categories and spells out what hygienists should be keeping tabs on when making their case for a raise.

Numbers

“Production is significant,” she writes. “Somewhere, sometime, someone said a hygienist should be getting paid 33% of his or her hygiene production. Where are you on this spectrum?”

Scala writes that you should consider these questions:

  • Are you trying to grow production by implementing a strict perio program, or are you stagnant?
  • Are you offering fresh ideas to make patients find joy in hygiene so they schedule production?
  • Are you offering the adjuncts you use on yourself to patients?

Patient happiness

Because there’s nothing better for business than happy customers, having patients submit reviews to your boss is a great way for him or her to learn how significant you are to the dentistry.

Scala created what she calls Smile Cards, which she gives to her patients to encourage them to leave a review on social media pages such as Yelp, Google and Facebook.

“Incorporate your positive reviews into your potential wage growth,” she writes. “Many times, these positive reviews say, ‘Ashley is the reason I keep coming back to ABC Dental!’ This lets your boss know you are worth investing in.”

Personal investment

Scala recommends hygienists show that, although the dentistry they work at isn’t their business, they want it to succeed.

Investing in the dentistry is making sure no one needs anything before you leave for the day instead of running out the door the second your last patient is out of the chair. It means showing up early and rarely calling off of work.

“You don’t need to pick up shifts for others to deserve a raise, but things like that don’t go unnoticed,” she writes. “Having a career should mean there is an effort on your part to make it a better place to be every day. It is not just the CEO’s job to have a successful company. We should all be invested.”

Team building

This, Scala writes, goes hand-in-hand with personal investment.

At least once a day, Scala recommends asking, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“I am well aware that everyone in your office probably doesn’t do that,” she writes. “There’s even a chance you will be the only one who asks. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”

After all, helping others is what hygienists do for a living, she writes and everyone—regardless of their position—could use a hand sometimes.

“When a coworker helps me I feel so thankful and immense relief,” she writes. “Be the change you wish to see in your practice, seriously! You usually see your team more than your own families. You want to like each other!”

Meeting with your boss

Now that you’re keeping tabs on doing the above things Scala mentioned, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your employer regarding job performance and wage increases.

“Come to your review equipped with all the information explained above,” she writes. “You must have a legitimate reason to ask for a raise.”

Scala said to be prepared to hear “no,” but she also said if you deserve it, you should fight for it.

“If your employer says no, there’s always room for improvement. Ask your employer, ‘What would I need to do in addition to this amazing list of things I already do?’ ” She writes. “If by the end of the meeting it remains (a no), that’s fine. Perhaps that means looking for a new job, or requesting that another review be scheduled in three months to evaluate your progress after goals have been set.





Reducing Summer No-Shows and Cancellations

According to the recent Dental Economics article, “Minimize your Summer No-Shows and Cancellations,” dental patients are often inclined to cancel their summer dental appointments. However, there are some tactics your practice can use that increase the possibility of your patients showing up for their appointments.

Lois Banta, dental practice management consultant, writes that because summer is a time for families to get outside and enjoy fun in the sun together, failed appointments during this time are more likely.

“When patients fail appointments, you’re temporarily unemployed,” Banta writes. “I’ve found that one unfilled $200 hygiene appointment over an average of 210 days of production loses $42,000 for a practice. Operative appointments at an average of $500 an hour over 210 days are another $105,000 in lost production. So the costs of no-shows and cancellations to a practice are huge.”

Minimizing no-shows and cancellations in summer starts when patients are diagnosed and appointments are made, and by turning cancellation calls into confirmation calls, and Banta writes that all of these things require exceptional verbal skills. How your team schedules and confirms appointments can impact whether or not a patient cancels.

“I’ve found that patients need to hear things three times and feel motivated in order to comply with your desire for them to make appointments, whether it’s for operative or continuing care,” she writes.

Banta suggests the scheduling process should start with the hygienist.

“When the hygienist is finished with a patient and ready to make the next appointment, it’s important to know whether that patient is a good candidate to preschedule,” she writes. “Some patients travel a lot, work irregular shifts, or have unpredictable schedules.”

If the patient is a good pre-schedule candidate, ask him or her if they would like to come in at the day of the week as the appointment they’re currently at. Don’t ask if the person wants to schedule or what time of day is preferred. Let patients know what you have available and expect them to comply.

“If a patient is not a good preschedule candidate, say, ‘I see that you’ve got a really busy life and you’ve had to change your appointments a few times. What we’ve found works best is to send you a notice a couple of weeks before you’re due so you can call to schedule your appointment. How does that sound?’ ” she writes.

Banta goes on to write that failed appointments usually happen during confirmation communications.

“When you contact patients to remind them of their appointments or to confirm their appointments, you can inadvertently prompt them to fail because it opens the door for them to cancel,” she writes. “Instead of reminding or confirming, let patients know you are merely informing them and assume they’re going to show. “Mrs. Smith, we’re calling to let you know you’re on the doctor’s schedule tomorrow at nine o’clock. We’re looking forward to seeing you.’ “

If the patient has previous failed appointments and you want to make personal contact to ensure the person will show up, ask the person to call you back because you have important information to share about the upcoming appointment. That information could be about traffic, weather, or current promotions, anything that creates curiosity, Banta writes.

In order to save the appointment, every effort should be made to uncover the barrier between them and making the appointment.

“During summer, patients often prioritize other activities, such as vacations, graduations, and reunions, above their dental appointments,” she writes. “To learn the barrier, ask, ‘Is there anything we can do to help you keep this appointment?’ If they say, ‘I’m going on vacation in a few weeks,” ask, “Why would your vacation in a few weeks cause you to cancel your appointment tomorrow?’ Often, when there is an out-of-pocket investment, money could be the real issue. That’s when you can let them know they can have both the trip and the appointment by introducing flexible financial arrangements.”

Banta writes that she’s a big fan of taking partial payments before the appointments if the appointment is a big procedure, as this cuts down the chance of cancellation because the patient is already invested.

She also says that if a patients wants to cancel, you might not want to make it so easy for them to reschedule.

“Ask patients if they want to reschedule and offer two appointment options four to six weeks out,” she writes. Many times they’ll say, ‘What? You can’t get me in for four to six weeks?’ When you respond, ‘I know. We’re so busy. But if I get a change in the schedule and an earlier appointment becomes available, I’ll give you a call.’

Banta says some patients may reprioritize their schedules and keep the appointment if this tactic is used. If they don’t, she suggests not offering an immediate open appointment.

“Place them on your priority list, which is not a list of all patients who need to come in for hygiene or incomplete care, but is only for people who have told you that if you get a change in your schedule, they will come in,” she writes. “Here’s the caveat: if you call a patient twice and they say no two times, take them off the list.”

Banta says she understands that no-shows and cancellations cannot be eliminated entirely, but she’s found that practices can get them down to 5 percent of their schedule time.

“As a last note, when open time does occur, use it wisely,” she writes. “One way is to make sure the entire team has healthy and beautiful smiles so you can show off the doctor’s clinical skills to patients. That’s great word-of-mouth marketing.”