BY JOHN MCCURDY / MANAGING EDITOR //
Given the choice between the standard orthodontic experience – painful, drawn-out treatment and loads of visits to a dingy office – and that offered by Dr. Wendy Katz at Innovative Orthodontics, the decision is clear. A more efficient course of care and fewer but more pleasant visits to the doc are easy sells to kids and adults alike.
Dr. Katz sees patients of all ages at her Marietta office and not only straightens out teeth; she also gives folks a reason to smile. Entertainment abounds for the youngsters (a TV at every chair, plus a gaming area with Xbox and Playstation), and adults love how quickly results come about.
How? Innovative Ortho features SureSmile technology, which utilizes 3D computer modeling and custom-made arch wires to ensure accurate diagnostics, spot-on precision and a quick turnaround.
“The most important thing for the patient – the clincher – is that you don’t have to wear your braces for as long,” Dr. Katz explained. “So I’m finishing up cases now in almost half the time that I used to, and I have more operability and more precision. I’m doing the best work of my career now with the help of this software.”
The Atlanta Jewish Times got a chance to speak with the doctor about her approach, the benefits of technology to her field and the rewards of her profession.
Atlanta Jewish Times: So how did you get into orthodontics?
Dr. Wendy Katz: I went into dentistry because I loved the sciences – in high school, I wanted to take extra science courses, and in college, I took all that I could. I also used to sew, do crafts, macramé, beading, all sorts of handiwork.
So this was a way to combine both things I had passion for. Then, I decided to specialize – I did general work before going back to school for a two-year program.
AJT: Tell me a bit about your business model. From what I understand, you won’t charge a patient until the braces are put on their teeth.
WK: Right; we have complimentary new patient appointments. I’d rather people come in and have me take a look to see if they’re ready than wish I’d seen someone earlier.
Some orthodontists do charge for that first new patient exam, but we don’t; I just have a different philosophy from other doctors in the area. And with orthodontics, it’s not like it’s a procedure that can be over in a day or an hour; so we tend to charge a “case fee,” which generally incorporates the time it’s going to take to get the job done, provided the patient’s going to cooperate.
We might charge something up front, but that’s for the hardware that we’re going to be utilizing throughout the whole treatment. So you can think of it more as though like you’re renting something; you’re going to get started by paying for the hardware, and then you get set up on a monthly payment schedule.
AJT: I’ve also heard that your office is true to its name in that the layout is quite “innovative.”
WK: It’s an open-bay concept. In pediatric orthodontics, it’s not that unusual; I think originally it was done so that kids could see the other kids, and they would get comfortable and not scared because they can see what’s going on in the room.
It just kind of has stuck, and I like it like that. We do have one private treatment room for people who don’t want to be in an open room, but we’ve never had anyone choose that. I’ve been doing this for so long – I’ve been practicing for 28 years – so I’m used to the open bay.
We have fun. And I don’t have any anesthesia, I don’t have shots, I don’t have any of that. We want it to be fun. But what’s so amazing about our practice is that 40 percent of our patients are adults.
AJT: On that topic – how are you able to meet the needs of both child and adult patients, and what’s the difference between seeing one versus the other for you?
WK: I enjoy the kids. They’re entertaining and fun to work with. But the adults are great to work with, too, because they’re compliant; they’re here because they want to be here, not because their parents are paying for it. So if you ask them to wear a rubber band, you’re also guaranteed that they’re going to wear they’re rubber bands.
But [regardless], it’s the relationship between doctor and patient that makes treatment so much fun. With kids, you see them mature and develop over the course of the years that you’re seeing them; they really develop that self-esteem, and that’s just a wonderful gift.
I love what I do and I look forward to going to work every day. To me, orthodontics is very, very, rewarding.
Editor’s note: Visit innovative-orthodontics.com or call (770) 952-5255 for more info or to schedule a visit to Innovative Orthodontics (1229 Johnson Ferry Rd., Ste. 100).