The “WHY” for Orthodontics in the GP office


By Matthew Standridge, DDS, FAGD

It is my true belief that the general practice dentist is the quarterback for a patient’s dental care.  The practice of dentistry is rapidly changing.  With that change comes both challenge and opportunity.  Most dentists are realizing that they need to be able to offer their patients more services, not only for practice production and profitability, but to meet the needs of their patients.  

In his acclaimed book “Start With Why”, author Simon Sinek stated “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year. Those who forget WHY they were founded show up to the race every day to outdo someone else instead of to outdo themselves. The pursuit, for those who lose sight of WHY they are running the race, is for the medal or to beat someone else.”

Our WHY in the general dentistry practice should be to take great care of our patients.  As times change and technology evolves, it’s up to us to evolve as well.  This is not anything new mind you.  All the way back in 1983, the ADA had a strategic plan called “The Future of Dentistry”.  In it they recommended:

  • That the GP be able to offer more services
  • Decrease the need for specialists 
  • Promote more effective continued education to impact dental practices
  • Develop new CE methods and technology

One of the most effective ways to grow your practice, become more profitable, have more time off, and find satisfaction in your office is not to get 50 more new patients per month.  It is not to extend your hours and work more.  It is not to sign up with more PPO’s.  It is to be able to do more with what you already have.  You do not need to a huge influx of patients.  Odds are, there is more than enough work to be done on your existing patient base.  By offering more services to your existing patients, you are simply offering them your best care.  

Expanding your service mix has been a cornerstone of the 3D Dentists philosophy.  One of those services, and one I have had great success with personally, is orthodontics.  Unfortunately, most dentists feel ill-educated in orthodontics during dental school.  I do not know about you, but I didn’t even learn how to put a bracket on a tooth or how to tie in an archwire.  There seems to be a disconnect there.  Luckily, we now live in the information age, along with advancements in technology that help streamline our patient care.  It is with great pride that we are bringing orthodontic training, starting with Adult Cosmetic Ortho (ACO) to the 3D Dentist lineup.  

So why ortho?  What benefits does it offer you, your office, and your patients?

  1.  It improves patient care.  The more educated and confident we are in orthodontics, the better we can inform and discuss treatment options with our patients.  Even if we chose not to provide the service and choose to collaborate with a specialist, the quality of communication and care is improved.
  2. Another step closer to a “One-Stop Shop”.  We all live busy lives.  Patients do not want to be shuffled around from office to office.  Patients already know and trust you.  Most patients would prefer to stay in your office, so why not let them?
  3. It increases our personal skill level.   Tooth position is a big deal in terms of stability, cleansability, esthetics, and function.  Being able to move teeth (at least, to some degree) should be in every GP’s toolbox. 
  4. It broadens your referral base.  As I said before, your patients like you.  A single satisfied patient can bring their entire family and a myriad of friends to your practice.  This increases further when they find out you “do ortho”.  
  5. It is rewarding. Orthodontics trains you to think in a completely different way, which is both challenging and interesting. It is also rewarding for your team, as it’s a team sport.  Not only is orthodontics profitable, but it engages your auxiliaries as you delegate to them.  It keeps them engaged and offers a route of production that does not break your back.  

If you have been wanting to incorporate orthodontics in your practice, you may be interested in the newest 3D Dentists course: Adult Cosmetic Orthodontics (ACO).  This is will be a hybrid course of an online foundations course, and an in-person hands on weekend for you and an assistant.  We will be covering the mechanics of orthodontics and tooth movement, diagnosis, case selection, and treating patients utilizing both aligners and short-term braces.

Our next hands-on weekend will be held at the 3D Dentists facility in Raleigh, NC on February 19-20th.  I hope to see you there!

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