1. Dental sector overview.
The dental sector in the United Kingdom is a dynamic and thriving industry, catering to the oral healthcare needs of millions. With a focus on maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you as dentists play a crucial role in helping us, patients, achieve optimal oral hygiene.
Well, let’s not dig into these numbers to avoid extra stress, but let’s look at what dental is about and how it’s been changing.
2. Preventive care? Neglected, but brought back as a growing aspect of each dental business.
What’s so important about preventive care, one may ask. There’s a lot to say, as prevention is better than cure. Let’s ask yourself 2 questions:
- Do you as dentists actually do that?
- Do you educate your patients on the basics and the most important things they can do themselves at home?
If you haven’t started, you better do it right away and start teaching them on:
- proper brushing and flossing techniques - so as there’s nothing left in between,
- regular scaling - to have a beautiful, shiny and sparkling smile,
- using mouthwash - to have a fresh breath, kill even more germs and enjoy a nice healthy oral condition,
- using a proper toothpaste and toothbrush, so going back to the basics - as every patient has different resistance, different problems, likes different tastes of a paste and is used to using different softness of a toothbrush.
It is very important to also emphasise the importance of regular dental check-ups for early detection of potential issues. We both know that patients can easily forget about all of this, especially when their oral condition is good or above that. Such a proactive approach helps avoid more extensive treatments down the line.
What else? We also found out that you are embracing holistic approaches, so how oral health impacts general wellbeing. Apparently, it very much does and we as patients suspected that just a little bit. For example, recognizing the interconnectedness between oral health and systemic conditions, like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, allows for better prevention and long lasting and healthy life of patients (of course if something is not that right, refer such patients for a further diagnosis, but we don’t have to remind you about it).
3. Traditional or digital dental sector? Welcome to digital dentistry.
As with every aspect, digitalisation and AI are not forgetting about dentists too. How and in which areas? In many and can be applicable to all, actually. For example, the digital era has opened up new avenues for marketing dental practices. With your love of social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, posting educational and fun reels or posts to reach out to potential patients is more than a pleasure. It’s good when they can:
- reflect before and after photos - because why not to brag about what you have achieved, how you changed patients life and how difficult of a job you do,
- share informative content about various treatments - we as patients love to know more about treatments we want to do, to limit the level of stress, avoid the unknown and shake all the uncertainties off,
- share content on yourself and your dental practice - we enjoy getting to know you more, so you can finally stop being scary and terrifying to us, patients, with all your dental burs, explorers, ball burnishers and the rest,
- run online promotions that attract new clients - because there’s never too many patients and always not enough patients.
If you thought digitalisation and AI will not reach out to you, sorry to say so, but you were all more than wrong. However, using it smartly and treating it as an enhancement, can bring amazing results, limitless possibilities, shorten the time and pain for patients and become a blessing in disguise. There are a few growing in popularity and you as dentists, cannot just pass them by:
- the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems for diagnosis - be careful, as ChatGPT will not replace your knowledge and expertise, but can only enhance it,
- 3D printing technology - for creating custom dental prosthetics, for printing physical models of digital images taken with intraoral scans, making appliances, temporaries, surgical guides,etc.,
- computer-aided implant dentistry,
- digital X-rays,
- virtual and augmented reality and many more.
Start looking at your profession a bit further than just teeth saver, healer or restorer. It’s become more than this and it’s good to put things in perspective, before seeing another of your patients, ordering another equipment or choosing the right filling.