Orthodontic treatment has become more efficient during the last 15 years with the introduction of new technologies, better treatment planning, and improved equipment. Today, orthodontists can bond patients more quickly, children are seen every 6 or 8 weeks, and an increasing number of patients are debanded within 18 months.

Even with these positive developments, most practices still have opportunities to increase efficiency and production. These two strategies will help orthodontic practices begin and complete treatment more effectively:

1) The 7-Day Rule: New patients should be seen for consultation within 7 days after contacting the office. Once they accept treatment, the practice should schedule patients within 7 days, if possible. This approach will help ortho practices maintain a steady flow of new patients. When parents or patients have to wait a long time for treatment to begin, many will postpone care or decide to shop for another practice.

2) Improved Debanding: The debanding process represents one of the best opportunities to increase efficiency and production. Some practices have many patients who are overdue for debanding. This leads to extra patient visits without additional fees and an inefficient use of appointments that eventually clog the schedule. Practices should constantly evaluate which patients are due for debanding, keep them on track, and get them scheduled. By correctly managing this process, practices can ensure that 98% of patients are debanded on time. This increased efficiency allows the practice to schedule other appointments, boost production, and maintain the highest quality of patient care.

Orthodontic Products readers are entitled to receive a 20% courtesy on the Total Ortho Success Seminar scheduled for April 8 to 9 in Chicago. To receive this courtesy, call (888) 973-0000 and mention Orthodontic Products or e-mail [email protected] with Orthodontic Products in the subject line.

Roger P. Levin, DDS