OraQ AI —Increasing Treatment Plan Conversion for DSO Success

Dr. Lou Shuman describes how the OraQ Clinical Decision Support System boosts patient engagement, their dental health, and acceptance of treatment plans.

Let me begin by stating that I am honored to be given the opportunity to provide this ongoing column for DSOPro. As President and CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry’s leader in introducing new technologies from all over the world, I’m excited to introduce you to standout technologies that I feel can impact the DSO community. The Cellerant “Best of Class” Technology Awards, now in its 15th year, is an unbiased, nonprofit initiative where the winners are selected by the leading experts in the field. This recognition has helped to grow some of the most important technologies in the industry today.

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This column will be more than a product showcase — the technologies we handpick for you each time will impact your DSO’s strategic relationships, operational practices, and marketing, as well as improve business and clinical areas. In this issue, I introduce you to OraQ, an AI-powered clinical decision support system and machine-learning platform that improves how dentists as individuals and DSOs engage, diagnose, and treat patients.

AI in dentistry often brings to mind applications related to radiology. OraQ is different. It uses AI and machine learning to create a profile around patients’ individual needs, verifies and validates treatment recommendations, reveals treatment opportunities, generates a customized risk assessment for each patient, and produces an overall office diagnostic workflow. For DSOs, information like this can lead to greater efficiency and opportunities for improvement.

Gathering and analyzing information

Here’s how it works. Before the first visit, patients complete an electronic form on the OraQ app that includes personal information, medical/dental history, biometrics, patient preferences, and other customized information. All that information is housed on the OraQ dashboard for analysis. As treatment progresses, exam diagnostics, imaging, and radiography are also populated into the patient record. Then, the power of AI takes hold. OraQ’s AI takes this information and checks with the expertise of thousands of other dentists in the system to identify possible precision treatment strategies that improve dental health and reduce risks.

Founder and CEO Dr. Amreesh Khanna explains why OraQ is different than other AI applications for the dental space. “The unique differentiator is that we’re the only clinical AI solution that’s engaging with the patient before, during, and after the whole process.” The information from the pre-intake form creates the patient’s wellness profile, which is influenced by seven key risk scores. Risk areas include overall patient wellness, including medical risks, sleep-related risks, biomechanical risks (like cracks in teeth, overall wear patterns in the mouth), caries and periodontal risks, occlusion, TMD, ortho, and esthetics.

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With this information, the doctor, assistant, or hygienist can be prepared to discuss those risk areas when the patient arrives and guide them to the right options for care for the right reasons. For example, the risk assessment may indicate the need for certain adjunct hygiene treatments. The risk score may show a possibility for a sleep breathing disorder that should be checked. As patients complete procedures that will reduce their risk scores, they can actually watch the dials move as their wellness profile dynamically changes in real time.

Besides staffing and recruitment, a big challenge for DSOs is guiding their many clinical teams to consistent treatment plans and ensuring that options for patient care have been considered. “So many possible treatment options are being left on the table, and dentists are struggling to be able to research and offer optimal treatment planning,” Dr. Khanna explains. “It’s important for patients to have the confidence to know that their dentist has explored all their individual options. Treatment planning inevitably drives organic growth, which, unlike staffing, is something that we can control.”

Grow from Within

Organic growth comes from within the practice — existing patients. It’s a lot easier and less costly to create a discussion for ongoing treatment with patients already in your practice. From personal experience running a multi-practitioner practice, I have seen too much emphasis on finding new patients when there are so many ideal treatment planning opportunities in the existing patient charts. OraQ documents and tracks all that information so that no treatment option falls through the cracks. The result is the ability to convert treatment ideas into actions.

OraQ has seen conversion rates grow from 40% to 70% after the platform is initiated. Much of that has to do with direct patient engagement. “The patients are involved through co-discovery from the moment they start the process,” Dr. Khanna says. “Their profile and recommendations are literally in the palm of their hands. They see their own risks, any images that you put into the system—3D scans, x-rays, photos, their treatment plan—it’s all there. And that changes the conversation. The clinicians or hygienists are not just talking ‘at the patient’ with much of the information going right over their heads. When they see their risk on their phone screen, they want to discuss what it means. ‘Do I have sleep risks? What is a bite risk?’”

As they proceed through care, their risk score lowers, reflecting completed treatments. “Patients want to celebrate improvements in health,” Dr. Khanna notes. “It’s not like they’re just getting stuck with a needle and a bill. They’re actually seeing themselves getting healthier.” And because their profile is on their phone, they can show their progress score to family members or medical providers.

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Performance Measures

On the management side, OraQ is compatible with most practice management systems, including Dentrix, Open Dental, Curve, and Eaglesoft. Dr. Khanna noted that the company currently is in discussion with three more practice management companies working on direct integration. “Even if multiple platforms are used throughout the DSO, they are still able to integrate OraQ,” he explains.

DSOs need to monitor performance throughout many locations to mentor the offices that may not be flourishing. OraQ’s analytical data gives DSOs consistent analytics for all locations. The Dashboard, perfect for multisite management, shows key metrics so regional management teams can actually take a data-driven approach and clinically support their DSO teams. DSO educators can focus on their individual clinicians with a data-driven discussion guided by objective facts, not subjective opinion.

For example, management can see conversion rates across all their offices. Specific training could be tailored to an office that is not converting patients or not having patients use the app to its potential. If patients are saying yes to certain treatments, but rejecting certain types of treatment, that could trigger an opportunity to improve communication skills. DSO management and dental teams can improve by addressing the metric that’s most important to that practitioner or that practice.

Dr. Khanna described a recent meeting with 10 regional managers who collectively oversee about 100 offices in Canada. “They were struggling, spending hours trying to focus clinicians on improving their diagnostic skills and communicating options for care. When I showed them the flow of clinician metrics that are captured, patient evaluations, and recommendations on how to improve patients’ AI-driven risk scores, they were amazed.”

OraQ also promotes consistency within the practice, which creates confidence. One manager confided that a husband and wife went to the same dental office for their cleaning appointments at the same time. They both walked out of the office with a completely different experience.

Certain practices may not have enough mentoring to build confidence and consistency. Dr. Khanna notes, “In the past, older doctors built relationships with younger doctors, mentored them and nurtured them to take over their practice. Capabilities among clinicians can vary significantly. With a DSO, often the newer doctors do not have the experience of that kind of slow mentorship and nurturing. OraQ brings some consistency to the treatment approach. It provides evaluation, which is really important with the number of doctors you have in how they’re seeing patients.”

OraQ customizes training based on the individual DSO to maximize integration. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach, but a team-driven solution that is not just focused on the dentist. Practice information is tracked on a week-by-week basis internally, so the DSO can flag lagging usage of the application at certain locations, and management can reach out right away.

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Customer Success Team

After bringing OraQ onboard, the OraQ customer success team supports the processes and improves the capabilities of the practices.

Regional managers of DSOs will greatly benefit from OraQ’s data. “A regional manager can look at all the DSO’s practices, and notice that practices one, two, and three are really rocking and rolling with the first stage of rollout, but practices three and four have barely moved the needle. The regional manager can contact the office, figure out the problems and answer any questions to break down barriers to success,” Dr. Khanna explains.

In the future, OraQ will continue to include and expand access to different types of information for the DSO management, doctors, and patients. One future plan is to build interoperability between other types of practice systems, bringing the power and all the solutions together in one place. “That’s the true vision. We’ve got great imaging AI solutions out there—scanning technologies, CBCT, and other solutions that dentists are using every day,” Dr. Khanna says. “But it’s siloed. If you look at something on one scan image, and maybe it’s got an AI component to it, it’s still up to the clinician to piece that together with all of the other types of information in the patient’s records. OraQ is built to be the system that can now take those factors, add them to the overall wellness profile, and help guide that overall care.”

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About Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS


Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, is the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, known for bringing new technologies into dentistry from all over the world. He is also Co-founder of LightForce Orthodontics, the first company to create a fully customized 3D printed ceramic orthodontic bracket, and recently launched DSO Technology Solutions providing valuable technologies to DSOs.  

Cellerant Consulting Group

Cellerant Consulting is a highly acclaimed full-service boutique consulting firm for dental companies from early stage to well-established companies that seek to accelerate their growth.

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