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Everything Dental Blog – April/May 2013

APRIL_001Up until recently, many of the advancements in dental technology have been based on magnification, miniaturization and cordless models of existing clinical tools. Today we are in the midst of a technological revolution. Many of the new breakthroughs are a result of software, science and technology coming together to develop new and improved clinical tools!

If I told you ten years ago that you would have a handpiece that detects cavities, videotapes intra-orally and shows gingival inflammation as well as old and new plaque, you would have flipped.

The SoproCare prophylaxis camera will enhance your efforts to diagnose and communicate the need for regular hygiene visits and perio therapy to incompliant patients. This visual representation of plaque buildup and gingival inflammation is a powerful patient education tool that will lead to better compliance and case acceptance.

The SoproCare is a cavity detection device, an intra-oral and prophylaxis camera all in one!

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Soprocare

This new device uses state of the art Photonics Technology resulting in Autofluorescence. SoproCare illuminates dental tissue with a specific wavelength of light between 440 and 680 nm and the exposed tissue absorbs the energy and reflects it in fluorescent form. The images obtained through the fluorescence analysis are superimposed over the anatomic images. This creates an easy to interpret visible representation of the tissue’s condition, which is not invisible under white light. The benefits of selective chromatic amplification is big for dentistry. Utilizing the absorption properties of the ‘blue light’, the selective chromatic amplification differentiates the color of the tissue. The subtle hues of red indicate gingival inflammation and are now clearly revealed by SOPROCARE.

APRIL_003I am excited by all the technological advancements in dentistry and look forward to what is yet to come. However, I am a realist and I know that many dentists are experiencing fiscal pressures (a reduction in case acceptance and holes in their preventive and operative schedules) and their reaction is to pull back, save, downsize and not invest. Unfortunately, that is a track to economic and practice failure. All businesses need to grow just to sustain themselves.

Our industry is evolving at an accelerated rate and we are in the midst of multiple monumental transformations that will significantly change our industry forever. The growth of DSO’s (Dental Service Organizations), group practices, increased PPO participation and the high costs of technology integration have changed the game. This is making it harder for the private care practitioner who has not adjusted their business acumen. Dentists who practice like they did in 2008 will be marginalized over time if they don’t adjust accordingly. They will not keep up and they will not compete.

With regards to technology, every general dental facility should have at least one intra-oral camera, digital intra and extra oral radiography, a cavity detection system (audible or visual) and a robust practice management system that can deliver meaningful, revenue producing data in real time. It is not enough to own these items, you and your team must be proficient in them.

There are still dental facilities that use an appointment book for scheduling. Why can Macy’s, Marriott and the local hair salon manage their business transactions and appointments on the computer and some dentists can’t?

Some offices are still taking films with wet x-rays. These offices have to develop the images with costly chemicals and then have to wait several minutes before they can begin diagnoses. Digital x-rays are instant and forever. They can be shared instantaneously with other clinicians (specialists) and allow for manipulation and magnification which leads to better and more conservative dentistry. The patient is also very impressed with the technology!

Most offices cannot see or determine incipient decay because they don’t embrace cavity detection devices. This allows small caries to fester and turn into large mushroom cavities under the enamel. In the past, we only had audible cavity detection devices but today there are many devices that are visual. The patients get to see the abnormalities or discolorations leading to more restorations.

Many offices don’t enter treatment plans into their practice management software. This is a big loss for them because they are missing out on the data mining and other revenue producing benefits. If you don’t have this clinical data in your PMS then you can’t be proactive about filling the schedule, when you have a last minute cancellation, or marketing pre – qualified patients to stimulate business.

Additionally, subpar practice management software utilization and training generally suggests a lack of real time data regarding patient insurance, eligibility and insurance tracking. Knowing the balance of a patient’s insurance benefit (at the time of their appointment) can have implications on your treatment recommendations and their acceptance! Offices that are not computer savvy or they lack the technical skills to maximize the benefits of the PMS, generally have other operational challenges as well.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

If your practice is slow to adopt technology and you feel that you are experiencing diminishing returns, call me. We can develop a plan that accommodates your needs and is in alignment with your philosophy. My experience, over a twenty year career, is that the clients who resist change are actually great clinicians and wonderful caregivers. They became dentists because they love their work and wanted to provide a valuable service. They did not sign up for a competitive business arena with all the insurance and regulatory burdens of today.

Regardless of your reasons for entering the dental profession, you are practicing in the here and now and have to deal with the forces that are challenging your livelihood. All businesses are engaged in some form of competition. When you opened up your office you competed with other local dentists for a piece of the pie (community or target audience). You and your team compete against yourselves to produce more dentistry than you did the prior year (month to month or year to year).

Today your competition is funded by venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Your challenges can range from: facility capacity, staffing, marketing (new patients), operational expertise and efficiency, access to capital and management/leadership.

These are not insurmountable challenges. They may require professional assistance, an unwavering commitment & focus and some time – but they are all manageable.

APRIL_004There is light at the end of the tunnel and I am an optimist! As the dental community moves towards a “Total Health” business model we will become more relevant in healthcare and dentistry will be seen as the first line of defense against infection and disease. We see our compliant patients more than our medical counterparts and we spend much more time with our patients during wellness/hygiene and operative visits. Additionally, most dental offices are independently owned and operated and they value the patient relationship more than today’s medical managed care facilities.

Operatory Lighting matters

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Why isn’t everyone switching to one of these L.E.D. lights?

Most dentists experience some eye fatigue by the end of a long day. This is natural because dentists do a great deal of reading and computer work in addition to their dentistry. Besides the long work hours, you are looking into the oral cavity which is dark and the views can be obstructed. You are constantly going from the oral cavity to ambient light which is overworking those eye muscles. Researchers claim that the strain associated with tired eyes and overworked eye muscles leads to decreased blinking. This causes chronic dry eye which only makes your eyes more irritable and makes you even more tired.

You can improve your work environment with today’s new operatory lights. Most of these lights have some proprietary feature or benefit that will improve the visibility in the oral cavity. Some companies boast reflective technology and new diode patterns which compensate for partially blocked light access.

Here are seven reasons why you should change your light today

  1. You deserve a brighter field of vision
  2. You deserve better visibility
  3. L.E.D lights are brighter which will lessen eye fatigue
  4. There are no bulbs to replace
  5. No heat emitted on the patients face
  6. Most L.E.D. operatory lighting are under $3500
  7. Installation is included in the price!

The upgrade to L.E.D. lighting will add to the beautification of your office and will make your facility look more hi-tech. These prices include installation and the removal of your old light! Top of Form

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