Ready to Switch to a New Practice Management System? Follow This 5-Step Guide

Callie Norton
January 9, 2024
5 min read

Changing Your Orthodontic Practice’s Software Doesn’t Have to Be Challenging

Ever been ready to switch practice management systems, then revisited the decision after considering how much you might need to change?

If you spend any time on social media, you may have noticed countless inspirational quotes, usually in front of a scenic backdrop, encouraging optimism surrounding change. With all these reminders, it’s as if there’s an inherent unwillingness to embrace it—which is, let’s be honest, is often the case.

Change can be stressful and intimidating. But change can also be a good thing. Remember opening your first orthodontic practice? It may have been overwhelming, but it got you where you are today. The same can be said for decisions about the technology your practice uses.

If your current practice management software (PMS) no longer suits your office’s needs, it’s time to confront the necessity of change.

You’ve always dreamed of running a successful practice, but that dream can’t be a reality if your PMS isn’t up to par.

To help you kickstart your new beginning, keep reading for Tops’ 5-step guide to switching your practice management system. Our guide aims to make The Big Switch easier so that you can fully embrace these changes. And because we believe in you, we’ve included extra motivation along the way. You’ve got this!

1. Accept That It’s Time to Move On

Using an outdated and unreliable orthodontic PMS that’s consistently stalling, doesn’t handle payments, or can’t integrate with your favorite scanners isn’t doing you any favors, and you know it. It’s totally normal to grieve the system that got you this far. It’s a natural part of the process.

But now it’s time to move on to the next phase: acceptance.

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”Nathaniel Branden

In this early phase, you need to start looking for better options. As you’re shopping around, ask specific questions:

·      Does this PMS integrate with other software?

·      Does it include payment processing?

·      Is it cloud-based?

Taking the time to have these questions answered early on prevents you from disappointments later down the road.

Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to take full advantage of the free demos that software companies offer. This way, you can test the merchandise first to see if it’s a good fit for your practice.

2. Call in the Experts

Committing to a new practice management system can be incredibly daunting, especially if you aren’t aware of the full scope of its functionality and how it can benefit your practice. Sure, you’re an expert in your field, but you can’t be an expert on everything.

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” – Walt Disney

Once you’ve found an ortho PMS that piques your interest, the brand’s sales team can help with the transition. Sales teams know how to create a suitable, tailored package for your office.

Tops’ implementation team, for example, guides clients through this early stage by piecing together a completely customized PMS for orthodontic practices. In doing so, they help orthodontists decide which hardware to recycle, the hardware and software they need going forward, how to transfer practice data, and how to configure cloud storage.

By leaning on the software’s experts, your practice will get the most out of its new ortho PMS.

3. Take Your Practice to Software Bootcamp

Now, you’ve taken action to switch practice management systems. As Winston Churchill would say, you’re on a path toward perfection.

That’s it, right? Not quite.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”Winston Churchill

Without a doubt, the most important part of the entire software implementation journey is knowing how to actually use the software.

As such, you should consider your team during this process. Your staff will use this technology daily to complete almost every task.

Frustrations with an ortho PMS can cause setbacks, higher turnover rates, and costly errors that harm your practice. Because of these risks, you really need to take care in how you introduce new practice software to your team.

First, communicate why this change is necessary. Perhaps they’ve already encountered issues with your previous PMS, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to avoid resistance to a newer one. Remind them that learning this new system requires patience and will be an ongoing process. Mistakes may happen, but you’ll learn together.

Next, you should seek technical assistance to understand the full scope of your new management system’s capabilities. Without this guidance, it’ll take far longer to see the change you want, and your staff will be inefficient—disappointing you, your practice, and your patients.

When practices choose Tops, they automatically receive a custom, comprehensive 3-day training session. Training involves a deep dive into the functionality of Tops’ features and role-playing how to use them, so staff fully understand everything.

4. Lean on the Support Team

After getting technical help, you or your staff may forget a few of the things you went over. But don’t fret—that’s completely normal, and you shouldn’t be discouraged by it.

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to switch to an orthodontic practice management system with an available support team that you can always contact to answer questions and resolve issues.

Tops’ support team is exceptional because it’s comprised of people who have worked in orthodontic offices, which means they’re familiar with the industry and the many complications that pop up. Thus, you’ll always talk to someone who actually understands you.

5. Celebrate Your Wins

It’s been a long journey that’s required a lot of time and patience from you and your staff, but you did it! You’ve left your old orthodontic practice software behind and made progress learning a new one, which is no small feat.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

As you start to notice positive changes, don’t let them slip by without acknowledgment. It’s an exciting time for your practice. Its workflows are finally beginning to flow as they should, pushing you even closer to success.

So, importantly, you should make an effort to celebrate every win with your new software—both big and small—to let your team know their hard work is paying off. Validation of a job well done and the positive changes your new ortho software is making will further encourage your team’s openness to the big switch. And with positive associations surrounding this change, they’ll have more incentive to use the system as they should.

Switching Your Practice Management System Is Easier with Tops

A lot goes into switching your practice management software, so the initial process of making such a big change can be frustrating and intimidating. But an ortho PMS that helps guide you through the journey can help make your transition much easier.

Tops offers more than highly advanced, reliable, and secure software. Its sales, training, and support teams provide you with valuable resources so your practice can benefit as much as possible from it.

And, for an orthodontist, we think that’s pretty motivating.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

The entire patient journey in one place

The technology inside your orthodontics practice should work hard for you. Tops’ complete ecosystem gives you the power, speed, and agility to move on to what’s next.


Gawel, R. (2018, December 12). How to Switch Software Systems as Painlessly as Possible. Dentistry Today.

Herrity, J. (2022, October 12). 120 Uplifting Quotes About Change in Life To Inspire You.; Indeed.

Higgins, S. (2018). 25 Inspirational Quotes About Change That Will Help You Think Differently.; HubSpot.

Loria, G. (2019, January 8). Five Best Practices for Training Staff on Using a New EHR. Software Advice.

Manos, D. (2013, January 8). EHRs not enough, study finds. Healthcare IT News.

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