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    14 things dentists should look forward to in 2018

    From advances in materials to new technology, 2018 looks to be a promising year for the dental industry.

     

    Cloud-based patient software

    Dr. Jason Watts, DMD, a general dentist in Lithia, Florida, looks to cloud-based patient software as a growing area in 2018.

    “It’s cheaper when you start an office, on the IT setup end of it because you don’t need such a large control room,” Dr. Watts explains. “It can also be accessed anywhere on a computer. With all the natural disasters that are occurring from the previous year, I know a lot of dentists who lost multiple backups. At least with a cloud-based software, it’s much more simplistic, where you don’t need such complex technology in your office for your digital software. The only concern is really if the internet goes down, you can’t use it. But, I mean, how long do power failures really last these days? And you can buy a personal hotspot that you can use until your power comes back on.”

    Going fully digital

    Dr. Watts expects more dentists to embrace the digital workflow, too.

    Read more: Why it's time to embrace the digital workflow

    “People are just constantly questioning scanners and electronic health records and digital X-rays and whether it’s worth it or not,” Dr. Watts says. “It’s just time. No longer, ‘Is it worth it or not?’ The technology is there, it’s incredible, it’s cost-efficient. The only people that are resisting the change are the ones who just don’t want to make an investment because they’re just so stuck in their ways. No longer is it a discussion of, ‘Is this scanner good?’ Now it’s, ‘Which scanner is better because there are so many scanners.’ It’s just like going to a smartphone. ‘Is the smartphone better than a flip phone?’ People were so resistant, but now everyone is saying, ‘Which smartphone should I buy?’ There is no longer an excuse to not be digital in your office.”

    Utilize a consultant

    “If you want to grow, or think you are doing all you can, hire a consultant to come and challenge you further,” Dr. Watts says. “They will find out more you can save or better ways to improve.”

    He notes that consultants can help with many different facets of one’s practice.

    “If you are a practice owner or a dentist that’s wanting to grow and you feel like you’re stuck or you feel like you’ve already maximized your practice or your practice isn’t growing or you should be making more money, everyone should have a consultant,” Dr. Watts says. “The best dentists in America have consultants because it’s someone else challenging them to do more and someone else offering a different perspective that’s fresh and new to the practice.”

    Bulk fill composites

    Advancements in materials will make treatment as well as inventory management easier for doctors.

    “Cutting costs on composite isn’t necessary anymore,” Dr. Watts says. “We have universal composites that can pretty much do almost anything. Instead of having 100 different inventories of composites in your office, you really only need one or two, and dentists that are just so old school when it comes to layering, it’s just not necessary anymore. The patient, in the end, just wants something that’s functional and they’re more concerned in today’s world about the length of an appointment than what it looks like because no one is going to look in their mouth that closely. Obviously, it’s personal pride to reconstruct artwork that belongs in the museum, but the end story is that patient will have a better experience coming in and out of the office faster than they would sitting there for 20 to 45 minutes to do a basic filling that you could do in 15 to 20 minutes.”

    The new year promises exciting things for dental practices. Whether it be advances in materials, technology or the industry itself, 2018 will offer some exciting advances.

    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...

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