Add digital dentistry with a S.M.I.L.E.

Same-visit dentistry is a team sport, and team buy-in is essential. Angela Severance, RDA, CDD, explains how to get your team to share your vision for digital dentistry, overcome fears of CAD/CAM, become engaged in the technology, and even empower them to allow you to do what you went to dental school for.

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Angela Severance, RDA, CDD

Change is generally associated with a sense of fear—fear of the unknown. But what if there were a way to ensure change would expedite goals, meaning minimal disruption to your flow, your schedule, your team, and that expectations could be exceeded? If you knew all of this in advance, would you engage in change with less hesitation and more excitement? I’ll bet you would!

To engage your team in adding digital dentistry, you must take a look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if you smile. S.M.I.L.E. is an acronym for: Share, Motivate, Invest, Lead, and Empower.

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Before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to share your vision to go digital with your team. Same-visit dentistry is a team sport, and team buy-in is essential. Through open discussions of office goals, personal goals, and even fears of implementing CAD/CAM, you can elevate excitement within your team. The vision becomes shared versus individual, and together everyone will build upon opportunities this technology has to offer not only to patients, but to the office as a whole.

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Once the team shares in your vision and understands the goals of implementing this change, it is time to motivate and educate. Certain individuals have intrinsic motivation and will gladly attend a course, whereas other, more extrinsically motivated individuals might need a little extra convincing. Team excitement feeds on itself, and learning together is a great way to appease both types!

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Invest in a weekend away from the office where, together as a team, you can learn how to use the new technology and have a couple of evenings out to have fun, work on team-building, and strengthen personal relationships.

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The technology is installed; the change is here; it’s time to lead. The shared vision is crystal clear, but as the dentist, inevitably your reaction to the good days and the possibly frustrating days will influence your team’s attitude. Keep a positive outlook and set realistic expectations for yourself and your team to deliver final, esthetic, quality restorations in one visit.

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There are six steps to complete a same-visit crown: anesthesia/prep, tissue management/scanning, margin identification/design, mill, try-in/characterize, and seat. In the beginning, do each step together to enhance team understanding of preparation design and boost their design skills through chairside education on occlusion and tooth morphology.

Once you have established a mutual confidence level, empower your team through delegation. Continue to give feedback on preparation design, tissue management, and crown design to escalate overall workflow efficiency. Then, walk away and do what you went to dental school for—anesthetize, restore, diagnose, and run the business. Your team has got the rest!

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Angela Severance, RDA, CDD, is a national speaker, educator, and author. She has more than 15 years of clinical experience, specializing in digital dentistry and CAD/CAM technology integration into the modern practice. You may contact her by email at

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