The news out of the 2021 AAO Annual Session: Expect an uptick in adult patients coming through your orthodontic practice doors. That’s according to the keynote address from Chris Bentson, of Bentson Copple & Associates. You can thank the boom in Zoom meetings for this influx. Tied to that is an uptick in the number of patients wanting aligner treatment in the next several years. 

Look at Your Instrument Inventory

So how should your orthodontic office prepare? In this episode of In the Sterilization Room with Jackie, consultant Jackie Dorst suggests you take a look at your instrument inventory and the number of cassettes you have. She provides guidance on what you may need more and less of for these changing demographics. 

The Clinic Staffing Shortage

From there, Jackie addresses a more pressing problem. The staffing shortage hitting orthodontic practices. Jackie offers some tips for dealing with a staff shortage in the clinic. She talks about the importance of freeing up your existing orthodontic assistants to focus on the direct patient care work that requires skill and experience. She suggests delegating non-direct patient care tasks like wiping down and disinfecting the patient chair, restocking the unit, running oral evacuation cleaner through the lines, and even sterilizing instruments to a non-clinical assistant who can be trained in time. But this is going to require the orthodontic practice have systems in place that allow them to efficiently and quickly train an inexperienced new hire to do those tasks and more. OP