A group of renowned local clinicians have launched a bold play to set-up a national network of dental centres specialising in the delivery of All-on-4® treatment under the Next Smile™ brand. Based on the clinically proven Malo Protocol philosophy of the pioneer of All-on-4®, Prof. Paulo Malo, and supported by Nobel Biocare, who own the All-on-4® brand, Next Smile Australia hosted its launch event recently on the Gold Coast with its entire Australian clinic network.
Dr Larry Benge, Dr Tony Rotondo and Rob Dulieu employed former Nobel Biocare General Manager ANZ, Peter Jeffers as CEO to transition their formerly loose cooperation under the Malo Dental name to a formal network of surgical clinics, accredited regional access centres and a full training regime centred around All-on-4®.
"Next Smile Australia is basically a nationally branded dental implant business, which primarily focuses on All-on-4® and the All-on-4® treatment concept," Mr Jeffers said. "We're the first true nationally branded All-on-4® business and the way that we work is by having All-on-4® surgical super clinics in most of our main population centres. We then have Next Smile Accredited Partners who provide local access in more geographically diverse locations that are selected and trained to undertake parts of the All-on-4® treatment, including initial consultation, post-surgical reviews and the fitting of the final prosthetics. And then we have All-on-4® training hubs.
"For our Next Smile Accredited Partners, we have developed a really good commercial referral model where we essentially share the journey of the patient to ensure they receive the best possible delivery of all All-on-4® treatment.
"To give that context, if you're in Dubbo, where we have an Accredited Partner, it means a patient in that region can access part of the treatment journey for All-in-4 in Dubbo, like the initial consultation and scans and then transition to Sydney, to our super clinic, for the surgery. They then transition back to the Accredited Partner for final prosthetics and ongoing maintenance. This reduces the number of appointments necessary and ensures the patient has the best possible outcome and experience."
Mr Jeffers said that in addition to providing a surgical pathway for All-on-4® patients referred from AccreditedPartners, Next Smile will also undertake direct to patient marketing to increase the awareness of the treatment option.
"We have a national brand and go-to-market strategy for patient acquisition via direct patient marketing," he said.
"We're trying to tap into the market opportunity. We know that by 2050, for example, over 25% of the population will be over 65. We know that a large proportion of these will be fully or partially edentulous. We know that by making the patient more aware of the treatment, we can help them by bringing this great All-on-4® treatment to them.
"From a commercial perspective, our surgical super clinics and Accredited Partners can tap into this market opportunity with us because we're providing the infrastructure, we're providing the training through Next Smile education and we're providing marketing tools to basically drive more patients to their practice. And we share part of the revenue and ensure the patient experience is optimal.
"Treatment is delivered using the clinically researched and proven Malo protocol using the Nobel Biocare Speedy Groovy implant system invented by Prof. Malo specifcally for All-on-4® and the surgery is being completed by clinicians who have been fully trained and already delivered thousands of cases.
"We are focussed on using the right tools, the right branding, the right marketing and the right product in order to essentially bring the best possible outcome to the patient. There's a massive opportunity out there to tap into but delivering treatment involves a complex surgical procedure and as a result, the opportunity is not available to every practice.
"We know from our market research that patients present themselves to dentists who maybe don't know or understand how to communicate about All-on-4® as a treatment option. So they tend to either refer them out to a specialist or they simply prescribe a denture. So what we're trying to do through our marketing is highlight through direct-to-patient communication is here's what All-on-4® is and you should try and talk to your local dentist about it.
"So if we can send them to our branded partners, they're going to have a much better conversation about this option, versus potentially getting an outcome which is not right for them."
Mr Jeffers said that the Next Smile super clinics currently located in Melbourne, Ballarat, Brisbane, Robina, Sydney and Wollongong are full service centres while Accredited Partners focus on completing the prosthetics only.
"Again, if we use somewhere like Dubbo in regional New South Wales as an example, it's a large area that our Local Access Partner can tap into. A patient in the Dubbo area can effectively come into our accredited partner, have their initial consultation, scan and work-up. Then, the Local Area Partner transitions the patient to our Bondi Junction super centre in Sydney for the surgery.
"Here, they also get their first provisional set of teeth with Rob Dulieu. They receive their final set of teeth and ongoing maintenance back in Dubbo.
"So from a patient perspective, it's very smooth, easy and accessible and the surgical treatment will be completed by a clinician with hundreds of cases under their belt using the Malo protocol."
Mr Jeffers said another key feature of their patient centric approach is to offer a transparent price for treatment.
"We try to include the pricing in our marketing and we try to market to the sweet spot where effectively all is included in one price. We charge $27,000 for a single arch with two bridges. That includes the whole journey for the patient apart from the anaesthetic costs, which are separate. So from a patient perspective, it's smooth and easy. They're getting the clinically-proven and researched protocol - which is the two bridge protocol - and we're using Speedy Groovy implants from Nobel Biocare. And at the end of it, we also offer a warranty."
Mr Jeffers said that despite many patients having received All-on-4®, the treatment remains little known.
"We're trying to offer All-on-4® as a treatment outcome which is as easy and accessible as possible for the patient. Because I know from my experience and background that whilst lots of patients in Australia have received All-on-4®, there's still a massive opportunity. Through our market research, we found there's still a huge swathe of people who don't know what All-in-4 is and they still suffer with removable dentures or partial dentures or don't go to the dentist at all. So what we're actually trying to do is bring it to the masses by making it really easy for people to receive treatment.
"And for the dentist, we've effectively made a turnkey package for All-on-4®. It makes it really easy for them and it makes it really easy for the patient. It's taken us a while to figure this out, but we're now starting to see the fruits of our success, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months. We know that we are the biggest group and we know that we are the biggest in terms of cumulative volume of cases completed in Australia. So now we are opening up to expand nationally and bring on more Accredited Partners."
Mr Jeffers said that working closely with Dr Larry Benge has been the key to making Next Smile a reality.
"Larry has been very, very successful with All-on-4® for many, many years. He was the original trailblazer in Australia, along with one or two others like Tony Rotondo. Education is a big part of Next Smile and this is where Larry excels.
"So one of Larry's key roles, aside from providing excellent patient care, is to assist with the education and group dentist succession planning as well because he's been doing All-on-4® the most and doing it the longest and he's treated the most cases. So where possible, Larry will continue to build his Melbourne practice with his dentists there, but also support our other dentists around the country.
"The other thing that we're very conscious of is giving back. So we're setting up the Next Smile Foundation which will be our philanthropic arm. We will treat patients in need on a pro bono basis, as fundamentally, Next Smile is about helping patients improve their quality of life.
"Overall, our model is essentially to support the dentist to treat more patients by providing the expertise in a more coordinated, formalised national way, in order to try and bring more awareness of the All-on-4® procedure to more patients."