Industry Insider

Dan de Silva, OraMetrix Woody Estep, ChaseHealthAdvance

Robots Do the Bending, People Do the Training

Dan de Silva is vice president of marketing at OraMetrix, Richardson, Tex. He has been with the company since June 2002. Before joining OraMetrix, de Silva was with eMerge Interactive and General ElectricInformation Services.

OP: Do you have a new product that is currently on the market?

de Silva: We recently introduced Cone Beam CT (CBCT) Integration with the SureSmile digital orthodontic system. Orthodontists now have the option to use 3D CBCT images from devices, such as the i-Cat Next Generation and the i-Cat Classic from Imaging Sciences, to create 3D tooth and bracket models for digital treatment planning and customized archwire design with SureSmile. These digital models are accurate representations of the entire tooth, including the root, so treatment planning accounts for real crown and root position in all dimensions. The process of acquiring these images is also very efficient, as the scan times with CBCT are typically 40 seconds or less.

OP: How do your 3D technology devices improve the quality of orthodontic care?

de Silva: With SureSmile, orthodontists enjoy the benefit of greater control over treatment. SureSmile software allows the practitioner to visualize the patient’s final outcome, plan treatment accordingly, and design archwires that deliver the orthodontist’s vision. Through this control, orthodontists are able to direct teeth to the best possible positions for aesthetics and occlusion with greater efficiency and precision than can be done by hand. SureSmile requires a thorough understanding of tooth movement and mechanics to plan a case, since more movement happens concurrently than with conventional treatment. However, once the plan is set, the robotically customized shape memory alloy archwires control the delivery of the orthodontist’s plan. SureSmile allows the practitioner to combine tooth movement into fewer archwires because our digital process is more accurate and precise than manual customization of archwires. The overall experience is also more convenient for patients, as treatment times are reduced by 35%.

OP: Does your company provide educational information and training/support services to its customers?

de Silva: Since SureSmile treatment involves multiple steps over an individual patient’s care experience, our support teams act as an extension of the orthodontist’s practice at each step and are committed to providing a high level of service to each patient. Due to our frequent contact with SureSmile practices regarding a wide range of topics from individual case management to scheduling and workflow to consultation and marketing, we form very close relationships with our orthodontists and their staff. This day-to-day interaction is a key factor to a structured learning process that is delivered over the first 12 months of SureSmile implementation, which includes classroom, in-office, and peer-to-peer training.

Helping Patients Afford Treatment

Woody Estep is the vice president of inside sales at ChaseHealthAdvance, Tallahassee, Fla.

OP: What types of plans does your company offer to orthodontic patients?

Estep: ChaseHealthAdvance offers a wide range of no-interest payment plans—3 months up to 24 months. For patients looking for the lowest minimum payment, we offer extended payment plans up to 48 months. Orthodontists can choose which plans to offer to their patients.

OP: Do you offer no-interest financing to new patients?

Estep: Yes, and patients overwhelmingly choose the no-interest payment plan option. Patients enjoy not having to put a down payment and not having to pay up to 24 months with no interest, when all payments are made within the promotional period.

OP: What changes have you seen in patient financing in the past year?

Estep: With the downturned economy, the demographics of the average patient applying for a payment plan are rapidly changing. A year ago, the patient applying was someone who had absolutely no other payment method available in order to start treatment. In today’s struggling economy, credit-savvy patients are choosing the 24-month, no-interest payment plan with no money down, so they are not having to make a large down payment at the start of treatment.

OP: How do you help practices with case acceptance?

Estep: ChaseHealthAdvance provides a payment options worksheet, which automatically calculates monthly payments and cash discounts for easy presentation of orthodontic fees. The form is customized with the practice’s information and the patient’s name. When patients have all of the options clearly presented with this visual tool, many are able to commit to treatment that day. We also offercredit lines beginning at $5,000, so many patients are able to start treatment with no down payment.