Scanning the horizon

An interview with Marcos White, whose practice recently won ‘Most Innovative Practice in the UK’ at the Private Dentistry Awards

Dentist Marcos White will tell you that he is ‘passionate about raising the profile of high-quality restorative dentistry and also the environment that it is carried out in’.

Testament to his forward-thinking approach is underlined by his adoption of digital technologies which has led to his practice being shortlisted for an impressive 14 awards over the years, including being short-listed as private dentist of the year.

Today, Marcos’ clinical practice, The Courtyard Clinical Academy, focuses largely on treating patients with implants, veneers and Invisalign. He is an Invisalign ‘Platinum Provider’ and has treated over 500 patients with the system. The Courtyard has its own on-site digital lab and is able to create every aspect of dentistry it produces, from a single veneer to a full arch implant bridge.

Ahead of the game

In 2012 before most dental companies had brought the concept of intraoral scanners to market, Marcos had already purchased his first digital scanner.  Five years on, he has three – all Itero digital scanners. 

Why? Because: ‘We ended up sharing the first Itero  we purchased, only a year ago, amongst four surgeries which was not that practical, or the most efficient way of running the practice, so the purchase of two further scanners became the most sensible option.’

‘I only purchased my first Itero 12 months ago. However, I recently added two new more for the practice. I am not the type of person to spend money extravagantly, but when you see something that works and exceeds your expectations, you just go for it. I had previous experience of digital technologies and when I finally acquired the Itero, it literally blew me away.’

Why the Itero ? Marcos adds: ‘I had used a couple of scanners over the previous four years and had kept abreast about what the digital world had to offer. I was doing lots of Invisalign treatments and Itero was the orthodontic scanner of choice, it had a successful track record, its ‘Outcome Simulator’ facility also offered a unique way of communicating with patients, so that’s really how it started.

However, since using my first Itero I have a bit more perspective on this. I admit having been a bit short-sighted or even carried away by the technology.  I essentially chose the Itero for orthodontic purposes and completely overlooked any other modality for which I could use it.  

It was only after I started using it that I realised the full potential of Itero and how adaptive it is for restorative work. In fact, I now use iTero for pretty much everything, including full arch implant cases.’

Better for the patient

‘For consultation purposes, it is such a fantastic tool. There isn’t that trust that you have to slowly build with your patients, they see their problems in colour on screen and the whole experience removes that negotiation pitch to get to the treatment stage. If it is ugly and the ‘Outcome Simulator ‘then shows them how it can be improved, they are sold instantly without real effort from you to sell that dream.

And in some cases, you even get a bigger treatment plan than initially anticipated: patients feel more involved and more in control, and are able to project themselves further.’

‘You end up with a more relaxed, more engaged patient, who has a better understanding of the overall process and is looking forward to the outcome of their treatment. 

The scanner also gives you more cachet in the eye of the patient who values you more for having such a high-tech dental practice. And with Itero being so accurate, the work is much more predictable, which gives me the confidence I need to deliver that dream.’

‘However, dentists need to understand that there is a learning and training element to factor in to get to that stage. Embracing an intraoral scanner requires a different mindset: your team has to be fully on board; you need to work with laboratories that can support it; the appointment lengths have to be changed etc.

In my practice, we actually offer dentists the opportunity to come and watch how we use the Itero. It isn’t complicated in the least but it is easier to demonstrate how the whole configuration works around patients and members of the dental team.’

A scanner with a difference

‘And why the Itero over other scanners? When you come out of dental school, you soon realise that dentistry is not just about being skilful as a dentist, you also need to learn pretty quickly how to wear a business hat. So, when investing in new kit, no matter how incredible the marketing spiel is, despite recognising the positives, one has to anticipate what could go wrong and what solutions you have in place.

The Itero scanner has a big sales force and support is far more impressive than what I have been accustomed to, you can have resellers and distributors who sell great pieces of kits but often you end up disappointed when you need the support.’

‘As for the finance side, the Itero and its visualisation tool most definitely affects revenues. I have seen an increase of 18% treatment uptake in the last 12 months. So, I think my recent purchases make a lot of business sense.’

‘My nurses, treatment coordinators and other members of the team all love it, it is a very simple scanner to use, they all feel involved and valued, and you know how important that is for the smooth running of the business. 

It also gives me more time to focus on the treatments and my patients get the best out of me too.’

‘So, more accuracy, more predictability, patients who are better informed from the start, faster consent, purer sales process, great support, all in all much easier. Well if buying three Itero scanners and going completely digital isn’t evidence of how pleased I am, then I don’t know what is!’

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