2018 tech trends

Investing in technology to maximise your profitability in 2018

John Clarke Practice Management Leave a Comment

Investing in innovative technology is a must for any ambitious dental practice that wants to drive growth in today’s highly competitive dental market. Advancements in digital workflow systems and sophisticated computer-aided design software can provide better treatment outcomes for patients and significantly boost efficiency by automating time-consuming manual processes.

With 2018 just around the corner, more dental practices intend to embrace modern ways of working to maximise profitability and meet rising patient expectations next year. According to the BDIA’s recently published Technology & Trends in the Dental Surgery research, the top three products intended for purchase in the next 12 months are digital intra-oral scanners, intra oral cameras and soft tissue lasers.

The BDIA’s bi-annual survey, which this year attracted responses from 382 UK dentists, highlights that the adoption of technology within the profession is progressing. 81% stated they have implemented practice management software within the last year, compared to just 42% over five years ago. Leading systems now offer advanced functionality to enable the smoother running of a dental practice. They include the ability to manage patient appointments, monitor the success of marketing campaigns and ensure surgery time is utilised effectively to ensure gaps in schedules are filled to increase revenues.

“A new wave of technological enhancements are set to revolutionise the dental profession in the next five years.”

While practice management systems have become more widely adopted, a new wave of technological enhancements are set to revolutionise the dental profession in the next five years. Computer-aided milling (CAM) solutions are able to streamline the process for a crown fitting, from moulding to delivery, in just a day compared to the typical timeline of a month.  However, the capital expenditure costs for CAM adoption can total tens of thousands of pounds, making it prohibitive for NHS dentistry but potentially more appealing to private practices who are looking to improve their service offering.

3D printing is another technological trend which is likely to become more mainstream in dental practices by 2020. In combination with oral scanning and CAD/CAM design, 3D printing techniques can accurately and rapidly produce crowns and bridges in minutes to transform patient experiences. Despite the obvious productivity benefits this provides, many dentists appear reluctant to commit to investing significant sums of money in evolving technology which could soon be superseded. This is evidenced in the BDIA’s survey findings in which 84% of dentists admitted that whilst they were aware of 3D printing they had no plans to purchase such technology. Could this represent a missed opportunity?

“Undoubtedly, dental practices that are willing and able to invest in the latest equipment are in a stronger position to deliver higher quality services and differentiate themselves from their competitors.”

Undoubtedly, dental practices that are willing and able to invest in the latest equipment are in a stronger position to deliver higher quality services and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Accessing new innovations can be expensive but forward-thinking practices do not have to be left behind.

Tailored and flexible asset finance solutions, from specialist alternative finance providers such as Wesleyan Bank, offer funding for a wide range of dental technology and equipment. As a result, dentists no longer have to impact their cash flow and attempt to purchase new items in one lump sum. By using finance, instead they can spread the cost (usually over one to five years) to preserve vital working capital without compromising their existing banking lines with their day-to-day business bank.

Dentistry is advancing at breakneck speeds. Progressive practices who seek to leverage commercial financial solutions to get ahead in 2018 are likely to have plenty to smile about.

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