Featured Practice: How technology can help build the dream dental practice

February 12, 2013

Dreaming of creating a high-tech practice? Let Dr. Kristine Aadland’s high-tech success story inspire you.

Dreaming of creating a high-tech practice? Let Dr. Kristine Aadland’s high-tech success story inspire you.

Dr. Kristine Aadland knew exactly what she wanted.

She wanted to open her own practice in the town she grew up in, a practice that patients looked forward to visiting and felt comfortable in. She envisioned a practice that gave more of a spa-like atmosphere than a dental office, complete with the most up-to-date technology that would not only wow her patients, but provide them with the best care possible and make her and her team more efficient in providing that care.

Her vision was clear. All she needed was a partner to help her get there. She visited her first dental convention to find that partner, and after two other dental suppliers told her she was crazy for dreaming so big, the then 26-year-old met someone who believed in her vision and who understood what it would take to build her $1 million practice. For the next three years Greg Sork of Patterson Dental walked Dr. Aadland through the entire process, from checking out sites in Vancouver, Wash., to making sure her office was equipped with the technology so key to her vision.

How it all started

Dr. Aadland didn’t always want to be a dentist. Her family owned a construction company, and early on she assumed that was the career path she’d follow. After rooming with a hygienist in college who was so passionate about dentistry and getting to know others in the profession, a career as a dentist seemed like the right fit. She loved the patient experience, and her engineering background helped her understand the importance of technology to enhance that experience. After looking at possible locations to build her practice with Sork, she decided to go back to her roots and build a brand new facility on the site where her family had their construction company.

Why high-tech?

Like many of the patients she sees, Dr. Aadland once hated going to the dentist. It terrified her, and when she decided to build her own practice, she knew she had to help patients get over their fears. The technology she has incorporated, such as digital radiography, Galileos 3D cone beam, CEREC and Eaglesoft Practice Management Software helps her do that every day.

“The technology definitely increases efficiency, which helps with dental phobic patients,” she said. “We know they don’t want to be in a dental office so we strive to be proficient and give those extra comforts to help them relax. So much of being scared is mistrust and not knowing what’s happening to them and around them.

With intraoral cameras, extraoral cameras, and 3D cone beam, they see exactly what we see. This creates trust and empowers them to make decisions about their own care and not rely purely on the advice of someone they just met.

Equipment like CEREC, where we can make and deliver crowns in one appointment, means so much to them. They can be in and out and don’t have to worry about the anxiety to come back again.”

Technology also helps with patient education and case acceptance. If someone is missing a tooth, the team can virtually place an implant and crown with 3D scans and show him exactly where the tooth will go. Patients can see digital X-rays and photos of their teeth blown up on flat screen monitors right in front of their dental chair.

Showing patients what’s going on in their mouth, versus just trying to explain it, leads to quicker understanding and fewer patient questions, making hygienist Erin Voss’ job easier. When she’s working on periodontal patients, Voss can chart through Eaglesoft and show them how much their gum health has improved. When the doctor comes in, she can add needed treatment into the chart and create a treatment plan.

That plan, which prioritizes treatment and breaks down cost, is ready before patients walk to the checkout counter and easily can be emailed to them later if they have questions.

A different view

Many people believe high-tech dental offices are only for the wealthy. Not Dr. Aadland.

“I built my office from scratch so I’m in a unique position,” she said. “I became a provider for 15 different PPOs to grow my patient list, hoping that with good customer service and care, the patients who participate in PPOs would then refer their friends and family members as well. Consultants continually tell me that when you have a high-tech office you’re not supposed to do that. But because the technology makes us so efficient, we can afford to be on PPO lists.”

Dr. Aadland wants every patient to consider her and her team members friends, to trust them and to joke with them, to be comfortable and know they’re receiving high quality care, no matter their income or dental plan. The technology investment and the continued support from Patterson makes that possible.

It keeps growing

When Dr. Aadland moved into her space in 2010, she planned to have four cross trained staff members but has added staff as the practice grows. The practice has five operatories and 1,756 active patients, with about 50 new patients joining the practice monthly. Most of those patients find out about the practice via word of mouth and Google. She doesn’t do much outside marketing, because she doesn’t have to.

Patients notice her practice is different the moment they walk in. The reception area has a warm, family room feel, and all the operatories look out to a calming landscape. She even brings her dog, Bronco, to work, and many patients seek him out as another source of comfort. Who wouldn’t talk up this practice?

The right partner

Dr. Aadland knew creating her dream practice was going to take a lot of time and dedication, but she also knew it’d be worth it. Meeting and working with Sork from Patterson Dental was crucial to making this happen. Sonya Rose, her current Patterson rep, also has been instrumental in the practice’s growth. Patterson has helped her prove it is possible to create a successful practice with technologies running in the background to bring greater profitability and efficiency, such as Eaglesoft.

“Patterson has been absolutely invaluable to my growth, to what I have accomplished,” she said. “They’ve been there to hold my hand every step of the way, not to just sell me a product and then never hear from them again. They’re here for every need and that allows me to be confident in my purchasing decisions and my dentistry. I use a lot of technology. I push the edge. I train. I mentor. I love it and I know Patterson is next to me to support me in any way they can. I have Sonya’s cell number on my favorites list and can text her at any hour and know she’s going to answer my questions or get the answers I need. It’s so comforting knowing they are right there beside me. I strive to have the same customer service in my practice that I receive from them.”

Dr. Aadland's Must-Have
Dental Technology

Patterson Dental’s Eaglesoft Practice Management Software

comes with a host of features designed to make using the software and running a practice much easier. One of the most important updates to the program is the line-item accounting feature, which allows the user to apply a payment directly to a specific line item.

This method is an excellent way to group services and payments that are related, making the user’s account ledger easier to manage. User interface upgrades include new customizable windows and dockable panels that let the user choose how much information to display on the Account, Appointment, and OnSchedule windows, as well as where to place the information within those windows. The Patient Bar lets the user quickly access patient specific information from a toolbar with customizable icons. To help streamline the practice, Eaglesoft now has the ability to process a walkout for all family members at once when they are all in the office on the same day-all on 1 receipt.

Sirona Dental System’s CEREC AC

dental CAD/CAM system helps dentists harness the full potential of digital impression-taking. Thanks to Bluecam, capturing half-arch impressions in 40 seconds and full-arch impressions in 2 minutes and then creating multi-unit restorations of the highest esthetic quality is possible. CEREC AC provides a balance of speed, ease of use, and precision for both chairside CAD/CAM applications as well as stand-alone digital impressions for use with CEREC Connect labs nationwide.


 

Sirona inLab MC XL

inLab MC XL features a modern, elegant design with solid, heavy-duty construction. Milling precision has been optimized to +/- 25 microns. The burs spin at 60,000 rpm resulting in considerably faster milling times-approximately 6 minutes for a crown. The machine is powerfully productive and can mill 40-to-60 restorations per day, with 4 gearheads capable of milling all available materials.

Galileos

The GALILEOS 3D imaging system with cone beam technology goes beyond traditional diagnostics and treatment capabilities. The unit rapidly scans the oral maxillofacial region, producing more than 200 x-ray images in a single 15-second scan. The images are combined into a large volumetric 3-D image set, which is processed and presented in GALAXIS software.

The software works in conjunction with the GALILEOS system to provide new options for pre-operative planning and enables clear navigation and diagnosis in the traditional pan, ceph, and cross-sectional images. With its integrated software, the system maximizes efficient workflow.

 

Sponsored by Patterson Dental