Lisa Alvetro, DDS, MSD, tells Orthodontic Practice US about what makes her orthodontic practice rewarding
What can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in Cortland, Ohio. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My parents were/are very supportive in all of my interests. However, no one in my family was involved in dentistry but they encouraged me to do it.
When did you become a specialist and why?
I decided on a career in dentistry in the 7th grade after completing a school project that involved my best friend’s father who was a dentist.
Is your practice limited solely to orthodontics or do you practice other types of dentistry?
My practice is solely orthodontics.
Why did you decide to focus on orthodontics?
I decided on orthodontics during my first year of dental school. My decision was based on what I saw that the orthodontists were able to do for their patients and the relationships that they established with their patients and their families. Orthodontics is so much more than creating smiles and ideal occlusions. I just wanted to be a part of that.
Do your patients come from referrals?
Our patients are referred by their general dentist or other dental specialists. However our biggest sources of new patients are our existing patients and residents of our community. To maintain healthy referral systems, we strive to stay in communication with not only the referring doctor but their staff as well. The general dentists need to become part of their patients’ orthodontic treatment. We also have a program in place that rewards our patients for continuing to see their general dentists for recall and prophy visits every 6 months. We have the patient bring proof of their prophy appointment and then they are given a credit to their account at our office. If their account is paid in full, they receive a gift card. This assures that the patients stay current with their dentists.
How long have you been practicing orthodontics and what systems do you use?
I have been in practice for 16 years. We utilize the SmartClip Self-Ligation system and the Forsus Class II Correctors from 3M Unitek. In addition, we use TADs and various soft-tissue laser procedures to enhance the treatment plan and results.
Can you tell us about the training you have undertaken?
I have attended many continuing education courses over the years. I strive to stay current in the field and offer this to my staff as well. My goal was to attend 100 hours per year when I first started to practice. Since I have become a 3M advocate, my own lecture schedule has given me the opportunity to interact and learn from orthodontists throughout the United States and around the world. Interaction with the developers and manufacturers of orthodontic products has increased my knowledge base and appreciation for the development and manufacturing of new technology and appliances.
Who has inspired you?
My parents. They have exemplified great work ethics, good character, and unconditional support. I am also inspired by my team and their dedication to the practice, our patients, and me professionally and personally.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your practice?
I love seeing the positive changes in my patients and enjoy the relationships we can build with our patients and their parents. Since orthodontic treatment occurs over several years, we feel like we’re a part of our patients’ maturation into the teen years or adulthood. We feel like we’re a part of who they become.
Professionally what are you most proud of?
I am proud that the practice has grown steadily over the years and we are able to still maintain a personal touch with all of our patients. Also, I’m an advocate for 3M Unitek, lecturing throughout the United States and internationally, conducting clinical studies and providing clinical case populations for university studies throughout the United States and Europe on the effectiveness of different treatment modalities and systems.
What do you think is unique about your practice?
Our practice revolves around not only excellent treatment results but excellence in customer or patient service. We consider all of our patients and their families as very special people and want to make sure they feel that way when they are in our presence. In many ways, our office has become a destination for our patients. We want it to be like visiting the home of a friend who is helping you with your orthodontic problem. By involving patients and their families with our projects in Africa, it has created an environment where they begin to feel a part of something larger than themselves and our small town.
Our facility includes a conference room, gathering area and staff wellness center. In order to maintain a top notch team, physical and mental wellness are essential. In the wellness center, team members have access to personal trainers and a fitness facility. Often dental professionals succumb to carpal tunnel syndrome or back and shoulder pain. Combining a program that focuses on core strength and cardiovascular fitness has eliminated many of the physical strains on my team. Access to massages also is essential in maintaining the health of the team. Our conference and meeting areas provide an excellent location for the educational programs we conduct for orthodontists and their staff. It is also used for various nonprofit groups to hold their meetings, seminars, and retreats.
The building is approximately 10,500 sq. ft. with 5600 sq. ft. on the upper level.
There are nine clinical chairs, eight in an open bay configuration and one in a private room. There are two patient consultation and exam rooms as well. We have an open front desk area, financial office, game/arcade room, and two reception areas with accessibility to wi-fi. Patients are treated to a coffee bar and fresh baked cookies. In the summer months the treat is a Slush Puppy frozen treat that is flavored by the patient. The lower level has 5,000 square feet that make up the conference center, lounge area, and wellness center.
There are 16 team members; 10 are DANB-certified as Certified Dental Assistants (COA) and one is DANB-certified as a Certified Dental Practice Management Administer. The remaining members are administrative staff.
What makes my office more unique is that I manage my office through a team approach. Major practice decisions are made through the management team. This team is made up of me plus three staff members who represent the different areas of the practice. Our decisions are guided by ideas generated by the entire staff in our annual strategic planning meeting. The vision and mission of the practice also provide guidance. Management, marketing, and organization of the practice is accomplished through committees that meet independently to accomplish their goals.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is refining our treatment to become more efficient and effective and increasing the ease of treatment for our patients. Orthodontics is constantly evolving with new advances in technology.
What would you have been if you didn’t become a dentist?
I’m not sure. I can’t imagine any other profession…orthodontics is the best!
What is the future of orthodontics and dentistry?
Current trends in technology and appliance design will lead to an increase in efficiency and treatment. The effect will be shorter treatment time, less discomfort, and better results for our patients. I see more patients seeking treatment as the treatment becomes more convenient.
What are you top tips for maintaining a successful specialty orthodontic practice and what advice would you give to budding orthodontists?
New orthodontists, especially, need to stay current, attend as many continuing education courses as possible, and spend time discussing treatment with their peers by choosing a mentor. Always be willing to assess what you are doing in your practice and be willing to evolve. Invest in your team and encourage their professional development through education and empowerment with the practice.
What are your hobbies and what do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy scuba diving, hiking and travel, but my most rewarding hobby has been Africa. I have organized several dental mission trips to remote villages in Tanzania, Africa. During these trips we not only provide necessary dental care to the people of the Mara Region but have been instrumental in building the Angel House Orphanage and helping to provide for the children of the orphanage.
Dr. Lisa Alvetro, DDS, MSD, graduated from Youngstown State University, Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology, and from Ohio State University, Summa Cum Laude (DDS), and Case Western Reserve University (Ortho Residency, MSD). She owns Alvetro Orthodontics in Sidney, Ohio, and recently opened a branch office in Tipp City, Ohio. She has been married for nearly 22 years and has three children ages 15, 8, and 6.
Top Ten List:
1. SmartClip? SL3 Self-Ligating Appliance System (3M Unitek)
2. Forsus? Class II Correctors (3M Unitek)
3. Instrumentarium Dental digital panoramic and cephalometric units
4. Dolphin Management System software
5. Dolphin Imaging
6. Dolphin Aquarium, patient education
7. ZAP OrthoLase (Discus)
8.Televox: Housecalls? and T-Link?. Automated reminder calls and email messages. Patients can also access their account and appointment information via T-Link.
9. Hold-It Systems. On-hold telephone system that is customized each month with fun facts that are related to the office current events or the world. We prefer no infomercials and this provides the perfect fun system.
10. Keurig Coffee System. Brews one cup of coffee at a time. No waste and perfect coffee each cup.
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