Going All-In with DentalMonitoring

Thanks to DentalMonitoring and dynamic scheduling, Dr. Mike Ragan has reduced stress, sees fewer patients each day, increased his off-work time, and still increased profitability.

(Left) Dr. Mike Ragan; (Right) DentalMonitoring means seeing your patients every week

Dr. Mike Ragan explains how dynamic scheduling helps him treat patients like family

Dr. Mike Ragan operates Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, Texas with a simple philosophy: treat them like family. “When a kid walks in the door, I treat them just like I would treat my kids.” In the past year, Dr. Ragan has led his practice through the process of going All-In with DentalMonitoring, which means utilizing remote monitoring for all of his patients and shifting to dynamic scheduling. Dynamic scheduling can make both patients and other doctors nervous, as leaving each appointment with another appointment on the books has been a standard practice for a long time. But Dr. Ragan explains, “I think I can be a better practitioner and a better overall person in my practice as a leader using DentalMonitoring.”

Making changes

Dr. Ragan was an early adopter of DentalMonitoring’s remote technology, but his path to optimizing his practice schedule through monitoring wasn’t a straight line. Early on, Dr. Ragan says, “I decided to try DentalMonitoring when the first rep came in the office. I visited the headquarters in Paris and met with Philippe Salah, the CEO. He showed me the technology, and I was excited.”

But DentalMonitoring was only one of the tools he used in his practice, whereas now, it’s an essential part of his practice’s success. Previously, he says, “We tended to use it only for patients who were going to college or people who live far away from our office. I had people coming from all over the nation to see me for lingual braces, so in those cases, we used DentalMonitoring.”

Everything changed for Dr. Ragan last year when Celine Cendras-White, head of DentalMonitoring marketing, called and told him he needed to come to the 2023 DM Summit. She knew he’d been dabbling with the technology, but he still needed to see what was possible. Luckily for Dr. Ragan, he heard the commitment in her voice and booked his trip. It was at the DM Summit that “Everything changed for me.”

He’d been dealing with a certain amount of stress in his practice that he wanted to change, not just for himself, but for the patients and his team members. “I started hearing what the speakers were saying about dynamic scheduling freeing up the office. I felt like I was working my tail off, both in the office, after hours, and at home on the weekends. I was always trying to catch up. We were struggling to hire staff.”

His prior experiences with implementing new technology into his practice made him feel that he needed to wait until he thought he could handle the change. He wanted the right team around him to learn the technology. He knew it would take work to shift from how they’d been using remote monitoring for certain patients to going All-In and switching to dynamic scheduling. But he finally realized that his thoughts about the transition were all wrong. “I thought I needed to hire and train my staff to make this happen, but I realized I was waiting for the wrong thing. I was waiting for enough staff to make the change easier on me.”

Instead, by committing to the technology, he was able to decrease his reliance on his staff. The transition took effort because he was continuing to operate a busy practice while getting the protocols right and training staff and patients. In Dr. Ragan’s estimate, the All-In implementation process is a difficult month or two, but it’s not a surprise. “If you change software companies, it’s painful. When you go to 3D printing, it’s painful. When you go to 3D imaging, you don’t know what you’re looking at on the screen.”

His staff initially wasn’t thrilled about the change. They didn’t want to add anything or learn new systems. But this is where Dr. Ragan thrives as a leader. He’s not prone to big emotional outbursts. Instead, he models servant leadership, empowering his staff rather than micro-managing them. He picks the direction, gives his team the tools to succeed, and shares his vision of what success looks like. By doing that, he can convert even the most skeptical of staffers. They know, after onboarding other technology in the practice, he’s doing it to make it better.

“But if you go All-In, you are committing the time to go over the protocols. You have to spend the time to set your goals. You have to spend the time to train your staff and patients on how to scan and put in a scanning station with a mirror.”

The results speak for themselves. Dr. Ragan says, “Our summer with DentalMonitoring was different than any summer we’ve ever had, and the staff loved it. We have freedom, and we’re not as crowded.”

Now in staff meetings, if his staffers forget to fill out patient cards that only take 2 or 3 minutes, he can ask, “Do you really want to go back to 60 to 70 patients a day and work during your lunch, or be forced to stay late?”

Tracking hygiene of braces patients is a game changer


In his Dallas community, Dr. Ragan and his team knew firsthand that there is a huge appetite for fewer office visits and tighter treatment timelines because kids are busy with sports and after-school activities, and families travel during the summer and holidays. DentalMonitoring has just been the latest tool to help him provide the level of care that his patients need.

Dr. Ragan has always been committed to tracking treatment time. By knowing the success metrics, he has had good reason to implement new technology in the pursuit of helping patients complete treatment sooner. Early in his career, Dr. Ragan reduced time in treatment from 2 years to 18 months through innovation. Now they’re reaching an average of 14.2 months for patients with bite correction. Dr. Ragan explains, “Our community is why we push technology. We’ve been looking for ways to decrease office visits for busy patients and busy parents for a long time. We began with indirect bonding so we had fewer brackets to reposition over time. We went to self-ligating brackets to extend the time between visits and treatment time.”

By using the AI-powered remote monitoring solution, he’s seen that his patients are falling into a bell-shaped curve. A third of his patients fall into the expected pattern, needing wire changes every 6 to 8 weeks. DentalMonitoring is actively speeding up treatment for a third of his patients, allowing him to treat based on an up-to-date knowledge of patient biology instead of treating patients based on norms from studies. For the third that is finishing slower than expected, DentalMonitoring lets his practice save office time by reducing visits. “We previously would have brought a patient like this in to learn that we weren’t ready to change wires. We would say, ‘Let’s change colors, and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks.’” DentalMonitoring provides value in all three areas and reduces visits for all three groups, which drives profitability and reduces the workload for his team. “We can spend more time with patients during each visit, and each of those visits is purposeful. If we have to fix a broken bracket, we’ll usually do the patient visit at the same time. We used to not have the time to be able to do that before DM.”

Dr. Mike Ragan and his team in Dallas, Texas

What is your why?

Part of DentalMonitoring’s culture, inspired by Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, is clarifying why doctors are looking to make a change to help them achieve their goals. Dr. Ragan says, “I’m not a person with a lot of hobbies. What I really love is being with my family. DentalMonitoring has freed me to visit my daughters more often. I can monitor my patients while I’m away from the office. I don’t have to worry about being stuck in a snowstorm.” By spending a little time in the DentalMonitoring dashboard, he can plan a day with his staff, and only patients who need specific intervention would need to be rescheduled.

DentalMonitoring does a lot of things to help practitioners, but there are surprise benefits. Using remote monitoring, they’ve spotted a pattern of losing brackets along one side. They’ve realized that quite often, this is because many young athletes chew on their mouthguards, as Dr. Ragan describes, “like a doggie chew toy.” When he receives notifications of these events, the first thing he does is send the patient’s mom a note and asks, “Are they chewing on their mouth guard like a doggie chew toy on the sidelines?” By communicating directly and nearly immediately with patients and parents through the DentalMonitoring app, his practice can help stop behavioral issues that will slow down treatment much sooner than was ever possible.

Optimize your practice workflow with meaningful data from DM Insights

While he was nervous that his adult patients would be resistant to the new remote monitoring technology, he’s found that they were the quickest to embrace the streamlined orthodontic experience. Adult patients love the convenience of not needing to leave work for an aligner check.

When he thinks about the journey, he thinks that it all really began at the DM Summit, even though he was already a customer. “I wanted to be like those people on stage. I wanted to say the same thing that they did. I wanted to see the same results that they were seeing.” While he was skeptical about what his peers were saying about how remote monitoring and dynamic scheduling were driving growth and reducing doctor days, he was ambitious enough to go for it. And now, his staff is happier, his patients are happier, and he can provide committed care and clinical excellence to his patients.

Not only can he enjoy the same results as the doctors who inspired him to go All-In with DentalMonitoring, but Dr. Ragan is also up there on stages now, sharing how DentalMonitoring has helped him run his practice exactly as he wants to, where he has the freedom and lack of stress so that when anyone comes into his office, he can “treat them like family.”

Be sure to watch the “Optimizing Orthodontic Treatment Workflow with Remote Monitoring and Dynamic Scheduling” CE webinar hosted by Dr. Ragan at https://orthopracticeus.com/webinars/

To hear Dr. Ragan discuss how DentalMonitoring works, check out his webinar here: https://orthopracticeus.com/replay/optimizing-orthodontic-treatment-workflow-with-remote-monitoring-and-dynamic-scheduling/ Pass the quiz and receive CE credits!

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