Interview: Aesthetics and well-being in the practice

German-Swedish orthodontist Dr David Weichbrodt lives in Asker, part of Norway’s Greater Oslo region. In his four-person practice, he emphasises the role of teamwork and communication in fostering an optimal and personal rapport with each patient. In his practice, which he established more than ten years ago, Weichbrodt remains driven by the desire to achieve a consistently positive experience for his patients. In this interview, he talks about the path he took to orthodontics and the benefits of the interior design of a dental practice for both the patient and the dentist.

Dr Weichbrodt, you have led a multicultural yet very European life. Though you have a Swedish background, you grew up in Switzerland and Germany and now live in Norway.
Yes, I was born a Swede in Switzerland and spent my childhood and early school years in the state of Baden-Württemberg. My father was an orthodontist and I was also drawn to this profession. After studying in Germany, I moved away to complete my residency training in Oslo, where I also met my wife and fell in love with the country. After spending some more time in Switzerland, we decided to return to Norway and now live happily near Oslo.

What are the differences in practice design and practising dentistry between Germany and Norway?
In Germany, many orthodontists value having a practice with a modern design. Over the past several years, I have noticed that, in Norway, the emphasis on aesthetics, patient well-being and delivering a satisfying experience has also gradually increased. In the past, a Norwegian practice had barely enough room in which to move around. Today, practices offer drinks and snacks and some even have fireplaces. When I was looking for a place to start my practice, I found an old wooden house with great open rooms for my three treatment units.
Though I quickly became accustomed to the dental work in Norway, I still notice differences. In Germany, work is more often delegated; in Norway, we monitor each step far more and can thus ensure greater quality. Financing is also different between Norway and Germany. Norwegian orthodontists are more focused on functional orthodontics with fixed appliances.

What is important to you in your daily practice?
Primarily, it is the interaction with my patients. Whether they are 12, 40 or 71 years old, I spend a great deal of time on diagnosis with each of them. Each patient has a different starting position; not everyone cooperates well or has the financial resources for certain types of treatment. That is why I always seek to optimise the situation for each individual. For example, I treated a patient with an existing splint in the anterior area who gave me pictures from Vogue and asked me to make her teeth just like in the magazine. Even if the result in that instance did not quite meet expectations, modern orthodontics can achieve a great deal. Wishes and possibilities must, however, correlate.

Your patient reviews seem to confirm that you have succeeded in finding a balance between your patients’ wishes and what treatment can achieve.
The best thing about orthodontics is simply the experience with the patient. I love the aesthetic challenges, the technical procedures and orthodontics as a craft in general. The work is constantly changing, especially now that I have integrated digital technology into my practice.

What is the relevance of practice design in your opinion?
Much like with treating a patient, wishes and possibilities regarding the practice design must also be balanced by the dentist. For me personally, the design plays a very large role. Since my youth I have known how orthodontic practices are meant to look and operate. As a result, I have had some quite specific ideas from the initial design stages. Ergonomically orientated processes and an aesthetically appealing design were always important to me. When the patient enters the practice, the pleasant and warm ambiance should be evident. As a practitioner, I must be able to reach everything easily, communicate well with the patient and my assistants, and provide a very comfortable experience.

Many orthodontists are hesitant when it comes to which treatment unit they should choose, especially with regard to the ergonomics of its workflow and the aesthetic features of its design. How did you decide?
As it is the core element of the practice, I must be able to rely on the treatment unit every day. That is why I chose the ORTHORA from MIKRONA. I was already familiar with the brand from my time in Switzerland. When I decided on the ORTHORA, various factors played a role, such as its functionality. The large worktable (Orthodesk) is integrated directly into the unit and helps me, for example, to adjust the archwire. Another thing that attracted me was its timeless design, which still looks modern decades after it was created. The possibilities for customisability of the ORTHORA were also instrumental in my purchase decision. I wanted to have the hoses, turbines and air outlets positioned differently, and all of this could easily be specified in my order. Finally, owing to the minimal maintenance required, I have only had to replace the valves once since my practice was founded in 2006.

In the end, functionality, compactness, smooth operation, and a clean and simple design were my main reasons for investing in the ORTHORA. Moreover, the interaction with my dealer has gone very smoothly, and I have not even needed to meet the maintenance technician yet. When a minor problem occurred, I called MIKRONA directly and received immediate help from the chief mechanic. Communication must work simply and easily, whether it is with my patients, my team or my treatment unit. That is why I can recommend the ORTHORA unreservedly.

Thank you very much for the interview.

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