As a dentist who runs a “bread and butter” dental practice, I understand how important it is to buy the right products. Our practice has a reputation for providing both high quality work and high quality experiences for our patients all while remaining a PPO office. Since we are a PPO office, sustaining the balance of quality and cost is absolutely essential. Luckily, my practice has had more than 40 years of experience perfecting this stocking process.
When you talk about quality and cost of products, it starts to become a discussion of what comes first; the chicken or the egg. For us, we start with quality. Higher quality can come with a higher initial price tag, but the cost of losing patients due to poor quality products is much higher. Not only this, but quality products can reduce costs in other areas. For instance, when considering composites, our practice requires a high quality everyday composite that can provide easy shade-matching and we found with the OMNICHROMA single-shade composite family from Tokuyama Dental. Because of these characteristics, we are also able to save money eliminating the need to have so many different shades in stock. Along with their incredible shade-matching ability, these composites are very polishable and provide invisible margins, two qualities that are essential in longevity of restorations. Longevity means satisfied patients and satisfied patients means higher production for the practice.
Another important consideration when purchasing restorative products is efficiency. One of the best oral surgeons I assisted prior to going to dental school is so good at what he does because he has a preset, consistent process he follows every time. It makes him both efficient and proficient. I try to implement the same consistency in my practice so the burs and products I use are imperative. My restorative preparation process consists of three core burs; a 330 diamond, a 1 mm straight cylinder fine diamond, and a size 4 round bur. I predominantly use Garrison rings with Palodent matrix bands for composite fillings. For finishing, I always reduce the occlusal and remove flash with a finishing carbide football, shape embrasure spaces and round interproximal with a fine diamond Christmas tree bur, and then finish with my favorite polisher, Enhance Finishing Cup. As I previously mentioned, I prioritize a well--polished and quality restoration. It’s the simplicity of stocking fewer, but effective core burs paired with quality, polishable composites like OMNICHROMA products that allows for my practice to consistently and efficiently produce beautiful work at a reasonable cost.
Some other miscellaneous products that are key ingredients to our practice’s success are our iTero scanner, intraoral camera, and our Onpharma Onset buffering pen. Our crown preps are almost exclusively scanned by our iTero scanner. It digitalizes the process, reduces chairside time, reduces impression material costs, and allows us to design beautiful crowns in house at a significantly lower cost. Patients LOVE our scanner! The IO camera has made insurance claims more streamlined and helps us show our patients various areas of concern with undeniable clarity. Lastly, and definitely not least, both our providers and our patients have been loving our new anesthetic buffering pen. It’s an affordable, quick option to get those hard to numb patients profoundly numb while also keeping them comfortable. It’s amazing how well it works and how easily we’ve been able to incorporate it into our practice! These three products have really helped us provide a luxury experience for our patients.
At the end of the day, all of us dentists are the same. We are inherently designed to be gadget geeks. We love new products, and we love new toys. The key to success, though, is finding which of those products or “toys” help your practice thrive while maintaining a healthy overhead. Quality, cost, and effectiveness are three easy considerations to make that streamline any type of practice!