Dental Assistants are an often underappreciated part of the process that decides whether patients keep coming back to a practice they trust or start looking for another dentist. daVinci Dental Studios recently launched a new program to make DAs central to improved collaboration between dental practices and the labs that provide sophisticated prosthetic and cosmetic products and services.
“labs.dental is on the advisory board for UEI Colleges that offer dental assistant programs,” said Jay Ramirez, Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “DAs are the eyes and ears of the industry, improving communication between their offices and dental laboratories to improve outcomes for patients from both a cosmetic and a functional standpoint. We have been hosting senior classes every other month to enable them to talk with our technicians and tech support and see the work flow, so they have a better understanding of how to help to get the details right. We take them through each department, like fixed and removable prosthetics, where they can ask questions about common challenges and special needs. DAs typically have the most interaction with patients, discussing their needs chairside, taking the impressions, filling out the prescriptions, and talking with the lab as the case progresses, so they can be sure everyone from the dentist to the artist is on the same page.”
Some DAs stay for an externship. Those in training and assistants who are already working at practices learn about the most common mistakes that are made on prescription forms, how miscommunication can be avoided, checks and balances to be sure everything is accurate, and what can hold up a speedy delivery. Patients are often not clear about what they are getting and DAs can be sure everything is covered during the treatment plan presentation. labs.dental is also training them to be empathetic when concern about finances or other personal issues is expressed and this additional emotional intelligence, with a smile, can help assure case acceptance.
“Younger Dental Assistants are digital natives working in an industry where 95% of our cases are still based on physical wax-ups and we get the most oohs and aahs during the tour when we show them that even those involve very sophisticated digital milling,” said Ramirez. “The dentist may have invested $30,000 to $50,000 in a digital scanner, but it’s often easier for the staff to take the physical impressions, as they’ve been trained. After our tour, they go back to the office as advocates for doing much more scanning, making the case for its greater accuracy and return-on-investment that will keep the budget down.”