From Looped Archwires to Virtual Monitoring: How One Ortho is Succeeding in the New Normal

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AI in orthodontics

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Dental Monitoring.

A Conversation With Dr Theo Baisi & Dental Monitoring

Dr Theo Baisi knew it was only a matter of time. Like almost every other trade and profession,  orthodontics was certain to evolve into the digital and artificial intelligence (AI) space. 

Dr Baisi started his career in orthodontics in the 1980’s doing full banding of all teeth and looped archwires—“developing calluses on my fingers!”

Fortunately for Dr Baisi, when COVID-19 hit he had already adopted Dental Monitoring’s (DM) virtual solutions. Dr Baisi always had an interest in computers, so he welcomed AI with open arms. He saw the value for his practice and his patients, even before COVID-19 forced everyone to adapt to remote life.

In this conversation with DM, Dr Baisi explains how his practice has evolved and succeeded using AI, and how his patients feel about it.

Tell us what your practice is like now, compared with where you were when you started.

Orthodontic practice in the 1980’s required very good manual skills and physical labour as well as knowledge and persistence to get great outcomes. Until recently, orthodontics was essentially a reactive treatment process. 

With the advent of clear aligner technology in the 2000’s, we were able to prescribe the exact positions of the teeth. So if nothing was broken, and the aligners were fitting, we could see our patients less and less. 

The only problem was, what would we do if something was going wrong? Along came Dental Monitoring.

What made you choose DM’s solutions?

Given my interest in all things digital and computers, it seemed the logical choice at the time. What captured me even more were the algorithms. They are so detailed and accurate, and you get weekly reports on how active the wire is. That means that patients could come in sooner or later if needed. 

So, now I spend a lot more of my time in front of a computer. Patients come in less but get better outcomes than ever before. This significantly reduces the stress on the staff, especially as we now also do virtual appointments for routine aligners, phase 1 expansion, and observation and retention patients.

How do DM’s solutions reshape the way you work?  

We use SmileMate for our virtual observation and retention appointments as well as initial new patient enquiries. Our greatest costs today are having patients sit in the chair. SmileMate helps us eliminate these unnecessary appointments while staying in touch with patients, so it helped our efficiencies increase significantly. 

Thankfully, when the Covid-19 lock-down happened we were already monitoring nearly 500 patients with the Dental Monitoring solution, so we were able to keep our patients safe and monitor their treatments closely. 

This has caused a major change in how we now operate.

The 100+ patients we were seeing per day has reduced nearly 40%. The number of appointments per patient are reducing, too. Only anecdotal at this stage—but at least 10% less appointments per patient across the board.

So, how would you say the patient experience has changed now with DM?

At first, we thought that patients would think that they were not wanted in the clinic and therefore wouldn’t want to pay us money. What has transpired, however, is that they are embracing the digital interaction and they like having even more access to me with less interference in their own lives.

They have really embraced it. We would never go back to the old ways again.  

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