GDP revenue down? You’re not alone…
A recent NHS publication (1) highlighted the alarming statistic that general dental practitioner earnings have declined by some 35% over the period between 2006 and 2015.
Increased competition is driving down prices, alongside rising practice expenses and the increased cost of imported dental products from a devalued pound all spells a significant shift in the market.
So what can General Dental Practitioners do?
Well it’s certainly not all doom and gloom! With technical advances come new service lines available to the GDP, formerly the reserve of the qualified orthodontist.
We may have TOWIE to thank(!), but recent years have seen a huge rise in the number of adults being treated for tooth alignment. Another driver for the increased demand is the emergence of the clear aligner – more desirable to the adult market due to it being almost invisible, less intrusive and, more importantly, available at a lower cost than it’s orthodontic brethren.
And the good news for GDPs is that clear aligners can be prescribed and delivered by a GDP without any formal orthodontic qualifications.
Most orthodontic labs producing clear aligners, and other “short term orthodontic” appliances, offer training sessions on the implementation of these dental products, alongside support offerings to ensure a great result every time.
Growing Your Private Dental Practice
As adult orthodontics is currently unavailable on the NHS, this represents one area in which GDPs can grow their private practice, by beginning their route into orthodontics. They can take on straightforward cases in partnership with an established orthodontic lab, who can offer help and support to both patient and clinician, from assessment through to conclusion of the treatment plan.
The process is much simpler than you might think:
- The clinician sends impressions to the lab along with a prescription form and an indication of the desired patient outcome.
- The lab then uses proprietary software to calculate the optimum treatment option to move the teeth to the desired position and sends it back to the GDP to consult with the patient.
- Once both clinician and patient are happy with the proposed treatment plan, the laboratory will produce the appliance – either a set of indirect bonded brackets with a location matrix, or a series of clear aligners – which the patient will wear in series (for invisible aligners) and for the recommended duration (usually 2 weeks per aligner for an invisible aligner series or 6-12 months for bonded brackets).
- At the conclusion of the treatment, the GDP will be supplied with a retainer to keep the teeth in place.
Patient Benefits of Short Term Orthodontics
Firstly, short term orthodontic appliances such as EasiSmile C-Thru or Swift are almost invisible! This means minimal discomfort for the wearer, and minimal social impact. Adults, like teenagers, can be very put off by the idea of having a mouth full of metal for up to and beyond a year, no matter how much they want straight teeth.
They also have the added patient benefits of reduced chair time, making appointments a breeze; less discomfort tends to be experienced during consultation and fitting versus conventional orthodontic appliances; and they will generally be less expensive for the patient.
It’s win : win!
So what are you waiting for? Begin to grow your private practice today with short term orthodontics.
ArchformByte are a leading UK based provider of clear aligners and indirect bonded brackets, and are the only laboratory to offer an integrated solution. Unlike other clear aligner producers who supply only clear aligners for all patient problems, we offer a bespoke solution to every prescription received, which may mean a combination of a series of clear aligners and an indirect bonded bracket treatment.
Speak to us today to see how we can help you to increase your patient satisfaction and grow your private practice through an entry into adult orthodontics with our EasiSmile system, comprising C-Thru and Swift or book onto our Short Term Orthodontics Level One course today.
(1) NHS Digital : Dental Earnings and Expenses 2014/15, published September 14th 2016.