Technology can move a practice forward, but the wrong technology can make your practice inefficient. Here are three questions to task when deciding if a technology is right for your practice.

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

Entrepreneurs and companies create products and sell them to customers. That’s the way the world works. In most cases the customer really needs the product and will benefit from owning it. However, we are now seeing orthodontic practices adding technology that is not necessarily in their best interest. It creates complexity, drives up overhead, and sometimes makes the practice more inefficient. If you want to get the best of any technology purchase there three things you should consider.

1. Will this technology improve our quality?

There are technologies that either do not improve technology or improve it so little that it’s not worth it. Unfortunately, in the sales world you were made to feel that if you do not access every 1% opportunity for improvement you are not practicing standard of care or achieving maximum clinical quality. In the business world there is an expression “when does the customer not even notice?” Improving orthodontic clinical care is a good idea, but the cost, time, and effort of some technologies for very minor clinical improvement if at all is often not worth the investment.

2. Will it make the orthodontic practice more efficient?

The word technology automatically connotes that it will make the practice more efficient. After all, why would anyone ever invent a technology that doesn’t. It is important to make sure that when you are purchasing a new technology it will make the practice more efficient and not less. We have seen so many examples of technology being implemented, causing upheaval and never reaching the levels of efficiency that were intended.

3. Will the new technology make the orthodontic process faster?

One emphasis in the business and healthcare worlds are technologies that increase speed. If the case can be completed faster, if results are achieved earlier, if less visits are needed by the parent or patient, these are all good considerations for adding a technology. But be careful. The first generation of many technologies pales in comparison to the second or third generation. There’s nothing wrong with being first, but the second and third generation may be far superior to the first. Have you ever bought the first model of a brand-new car and found out that all the bugs hadn’t been worked out?

Technology moves the orthodontic practice forward in many ways, but not all technologies achieve this. Some technologies should not be added especially considering the amount of investment, time, effort, and sometimes inefficiency that results. Technology is great and essential, but not just for technologies’ sake. OP

Roger Levin

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO and founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on orthodontic practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the United States and around the world. To contact Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].

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