Dreamers & Doers: DentiMax – “We purposely made our sensor and software open”

September 1, 2020

Special Advertising Content: DentiMax President David J. Arnett, MBA talks with Dental Products Report about his company's history and key accomplishments.

Q: What led you to start DentiMax?

DA: I was the ninth employee for a little software company by the name of Lytec Systems. We made medical and dental practice management software. When I left that company, I started dental offices. I’m here in Arizona, the Wild West, maybe the only state where a non-dentist can own a dental office.

One day, I get a call from Lee Varney, who at the time was the head developer for Medisoft, and I knew of his capabilities. Knowing how fun software companies were, we started DentiMax. At the time, most of the dental systems out there were extremely expensive. We felt like there was a big need to have reasonably priced dental software and to offer something that used better technology, too. Using newer technology at a lower price, we came out with our DentiMax Practice Management Software.

Then early on, as we started to sell our software, I noticed this big thing rolling through the industry called digital x-ray sensors. There was a buzz out there about everything going digital. The sensors at that time were so expensive, and the quality wasn’t that great. We knew we could do it better and started selling high-end sensors at a reasonable price. That’s how we got started.

Q: Could you tell me about the quality of the Dream Sensor?

DA: Today, there are several high-quality sensors on the market. DentiMax is one of them. How you can tell if a sensor is high-end is by the digital image it produces. If you zoom into an x-ray from a lower quality sensor, the image is going to get pixelated really fast­—it looks grainy. With a high-end sensor, like ours, you can zoom in pretty far before you see any type of pixelization. There are a couple of reasons why we can do this. One reason is how the sensor is built. We have a scintillator and other parts that are unique to the sensor that helps us render this high-end, clear image. The other reason is the way our software interacts with the x-ray image which helps us produce that ultra-clear image.

Q: Do your sensors work with other software applications?

DA: Yes, we do. And it is done on purpose. It has been a lot of work on our part to make that happen. A lot of systems unintentionally, and in some cases intentionally, have made their software closed. And so, we purposely made our sensor and our software open.

Having an open sensor is pretty cool. For a dental office to have to adopt new software to use a new sensor means the whole staff might have to be retrained, which is a big deal. Think of all the time and effort you perhaps spent to train your hygienist, your dental assistants, maybe your associate dentist, to learn to use your initial system. With our open sensor, it is going to work like your current sensor that you already have; it’s really just plug-and-play. We work with virtually all the systems on the market. We’re an open sensor. We are going to work with what you have.

Q: How do you make sure your sensors are durable?

DA: The one point where all sensors are vulnerable is the cord. If a sensor is going to break, the sensor cord is going to be the weak link.It’s going to get tugged and pulled on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We have spent a lot of time and effort working with dental offices to really strengthen our cord. Where the cord enters into the housing, there is a little bulge where it is Kevlar-reinforced—this reinforces the cord where it enters the sensor housing. It took us a while to figure this out.

We had an office in Texas who saw a lot of Medicaid patients—it was just slammed and super busy. I think they prided themselves in being able to break our sensors; they could break anything. We worked closely with this office and with our factory, going back and forth until they finally couldn’t break our cord. Our cord is very durable. Occasionally the sensor cord can break, but our cord is repairable, which a big deal. You don’t have to buy a brand-new sensor; you can simply repair the cord.

Then there’s just the sensor overall; it’s a solid sensor. We don’t recommend you drop the sensor, but if you do, chances are it’s not going to break. We’re going to last longer than other brands.

Q: Do you stand behind this with a strong sensor warranty?

DA: Yes, we have an extremely strong manufacturer warranty. It’s for 3 years. What does that mean? For the first 3 years of your sensor life, if it breaks for any manufacturer defect, we will replace your sensor free of charge. If there is a manufacturer defect, there is no money out of your pocket.

However, sometimes people, including myself, will do dumb things, especially with equipment. If you break the sensor and it’s not a manufacturer defect; let’s say you ran over your sensor with your chair. To cover accidental damage like this, we give all of our sensors a free 5-year protection plan. That means you can replace the sensor at a greatly reduced price. The other thing that we do is send out a loaner sensor to your office. If a sensor goes down, we’ll probably have to send your sensor out to our factory to be evaluated. During that period, we don’t want your practice to be without a functional sensor. We’ll send you a loaner sensor, so you’re up and running.

Q: How can practices see if they like the Dream Sensor?

DA: We’ve been doing this for a lot of years, and we have perfected what we call the “Try Before You Buy” program. How the program works is we will send a sensor, free of charge, to your practice to try out for a couple of weeks.

It’s super easy; we don’t even send somebody out to your office. Instead, our technicians will remote into your computer and work with your staff to do what we call “dialing in the perfect image.” We find that doctors have different preferences and tastes. Some like the images a little darker while some like their images a little lighter, etc. But either way, we’ll work with you to create your perfect diagnostic image. Especially during this time of COVID-19, it’s been pretty amazing to see how this process works.

We find that after a couple of weeks, most offices want to buy our sensor. It’s a fraction of the cost of the other brands and has a high-end image quality. If you don’t like the sensor or the timing isn’t right for you, box it up and send it back. We’ll pay for your shipping.

Q: What else do you want people to know about DentiMax?

DA: The only thing I would say is to try us out in your office. Maybe the silver lining during COVID-19 is you might have a little bit more time than you had in the past. We can ship the sensor out to you as a trial so you can try it out. It’s going to work with your existing system. It’s going to produce the image that you like. And I think you’ll also like our staff; we’re very personable. We’re going to be there for you and your team.

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