Systems, technology let practices deliver profitable, emergency cosmetic dentistry

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Systems, technology let practices deliver profitable, emergency cosmetic dentistry

Well-trained staff, clear policies and the right tools make success routine in emergency cosmetic cases. (DTI/Photos Craig Callen, DDS)
Craig Callen, USA

Craig Callen, USA

Tue. 30 April 2013


When opportunity knocks, is your practice ready to answer? As dentists we have opportunities every day to help our patients and contribute to improving our bottom line by being ready to provide emergency cosmetic dental treatment. Working such patients into our schedule generates treatment fees at a higher-than-normal profit margin, and helps generate longer-term business.

Some dentists will reserve a half hour every day for such emergencies. Because our practice has six operatories and a great staff, we are able to work these patients into our schedule.

Emergency case

For example, recently we received a frantic call from a new patient, age 32. She had fallen the day before and severely fractured her central incisor. She was crying and said she could not go to work looking the way she did. She also had pain from an exposed nerve.

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Our systems kicked in right away. At our morning huddle we had already discussed where to schedule any emergencies for that day. The front desk scheduled the patient and gave her a fee range to expect for treatment. The patient arrived at the appointed time and filled out her forms. One of our assistants seated her in the treatment room and obtained a digital X-ray film, which I reviewed while treating a patient in another room. I made a preliminary diagnosis and informed the assistant. The assistant printed the necessary consent and prescription forms from our computer.

Relieve pain, restore smile

When I had a short break, I stopped in and talked to the patient and informed her of the need for a root canal, post and a crown. She was grateful that we could care for her that same day, relieving her pain and restoring her smile.

While the patient watched a CAESY Education Systems video on the proposed treatment, our staff entered the treatment into the computer, used the Internet to verify her insurance benefits and make an application for her to CareCredit to help finance her portion of the fee. The front desk staff helped the patient complete our financial arrangement form.

After numbing the patient, the staff took digital pre-op photos, and I returned at my next break to treat the patient. First I completed the root canal using a Brassler Endosequence NiTi system with battery-powered handpiece, performing root-length determination with a Root ZX.

My EFDA-certified assistant (Expanded Functions Duties Auxiliary) set up our Cerec CAD/CAM scanning unit. I placed a fiber post and build-up using Unicem II. The tooth was prepped. It was noted that the patient’s other teeth had some older composite bonding. The preparation was scanned, and the crown was designed and milled using a B1 block of Empress porcelain from Ivoclar. The EFDA assistant fitted the crown to place. I verified the fit, and the crown was etched and silanated. I bonded the crown in, again using the Unicem II. The EFDA assistant adjusted the bite and obtained a final polish with our Brassler porcelain polishing kit.

Two hours later

In total, the patient was in our office for about two hours. I spent about half an hour chairside with her as I moved back and forth with previously scheduled patients.

The patient was extremely happy to have her smile back and said she next wants to replace her old composite bonding with porcelain. This will enable us to better balance out the width of the centrals. We were able to help the patient and add some nice bonus production to our day. A real win-win situation. By having the systems in place, technology available and a well-trained staff on hand, we were able to easily help a patient and our bottom line.

Note: This article was published in Cosmetic Tribune U.S. Edition, Vol. 6 No. 1, April 2013.


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