Digital dentistry drives our practice growth

Digital dentistry drives our practice growth

Principal dentist and implant surgeon, Hussein Shaffie, reflects on how digital dentistry, and Suresmile Clear Aligners by Dentsply Sirona in particular, have driven his practices’ expansion.

I completed my dental qualifications in Sweden and relocated to the UK with my family in 1998, starting my own dental practice just five months later.

In 2004, I also took over Bexleyheath Dental Practice, a well-established mixed practice just south-east of London, and began a refurbishment project which, by 2012, had expanded the practice from two to nine surgeries.

Interlinking with Bexleyheath Dental Practice is Sandford Dental Implant and Cosmetic Centre, a private state-of-the-art practice that has become a leading referral centre with all dental specialities under one roof.

This allows us to carry out multidisciplinary advanced and complex treatments including endodontics, implants and orthodontics.

We have now started on another ambitious expansion project, having recently taken over Danson Park Dental Practice just a few hundred yards away.

This will allow us to expand the Bexleyheath Practice as a mixed practice to nine surgeries and the Sanford Practice as a private practice to 14 surgeries, along with one floor dedicated purely to orthodontics which will become known as The Ortho Suite.

This will be run by my daughter, Nina Shaffie, a specialist orthodontist who joined the Sandford Practice around six years ago. At the time we did not have an established orthodontic department, so she built up her patient list from scratch.

A clear difference

Adult orthodontics has been on the rise over the last few years, and as a multi-disciplinary referral practice treating a lot of adult patients who want straighter teeth without having to wear fixed braces, we needed an aligner system that could meet the challenge.

Nina had been offering clear aligner treatment using a well-known brand, but she was not satisfied with the treatment outcomes which rendered her unable to achieve the same standards of results compared with her fixed orthodontic cases.

She eventually lost confidence in the product, which was a frustrating situation considering the recent rise in popularity of aligner treatment and significant advances in digital dentistry.

However, everything changed when she made the switch to Suresmile clear aligners by Dentsply Sirona, an all-in-one platform that allows for planning both fixed and clear aligner cases. Suresmile’s predictability and fantastic treatment outcomes have restored Nina’s confidence in clear aligner treatment and given her back full control as an orthodontist.

Suresmile is delivering results that are far superior to any aligner system we have used in the past, and Nina’s patient list has grown so much, now she has a long waiting list.

Many of our patients are referred to us by NHS dentists who do not always have the resources to provide the treatment that patients require.

Others have had treatment in the past that has relapsed and they want to try again. In my opinion, some cases, particularly extraction cases, may not be treatable with other aligner brands, but Suresmile can take care of them all.

Embracing digital dentistry

Suresmile is a scan-only system and we use a Primescan intraoral scanner from Dentsply Sirona for treatment planning, prior to sending cases to the Suresmile technicians.

A digital scan is far more accurate than conventional impressions and our patients prefer them. Many patients are nervous about visiting the dentist, some may have a gagging problem and some patients even require sedation before taking a conventional impression.

Primescan eliminates these problems; a scan takes only minutes and is a more relaxing experience for our patients.

They also love to see the scans, seeing their full dentition usually for the first time. They then go on to tell their family and friends about their positive experience with us which brings in new patients and revenue.

We use Primescan for planning Cerec same-day crowns and bridge work as well as orthodontics. It makes the turnaround time much faster and treatment planning more seamless.

Patients have a digital impression taken in the morning and a few hours later they leave with a newly fitted crown; this has become a big practice builder for us.

The value of customer service

Patient care and customer service are high priorities for me. If you give patients great customer service, care for them properly, and have treatments available that deliver results, patients will keep coming back. This in turn attracts new patients as well.

From a practice perspective, we receive great customer service from Dentsply Sirona, especially from our local Dentsply Sirona representative, Adrian Britton. With any new treatment such as Suresmile , there is a learning curve involved. However, I have to say the training that Dentsply Sirona has given us has been excellent.

For our practice expansion, we are investing in a wide range of Dentsply Sirona equipment including dental chairs, imaging equipment, and possibly another Primescan.

Currently we have several different types of chairs and equipment from different manufacturers and they do not always work together well. Having all our equipment from Dentsply Sirona means not only does the equipment work together seamlessly, but also when it comes to servicing or repair, we only need to deal with one company.

We want to make both Bexleyheath Dental Practice and the Sandford Practice as beautiful and as comfortable as possible for our patients. Being in such lovely surroundings with all the latest high-tech equipment and friendly staff, why would patients want to go anywhere else?

To find out more about Suresmile by Dentsply Sirona or to book a no-obligation 1:1 consultation with a Suresmile Specialist, please visit:

Listen to Nina Shaffie talking about SureSmile in her recent podcast

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