Hinman Dental Meeting: Make the Right Tech Purchases for Your Practice

What keeps dentists from making the big-ticket tech purchases they need to make their practices thrive? Fear. But they needn’t be afraid. They just need to ask the right questions. This was the message that Marty Jablow, D.M.D., delivered to attendees of his 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting lecture, titled “What’s New in High Tech Dentistry.”

You don't have to be afraid of incorporating new technology into your practice. Check out these tips from Marty Jablow, D.M.D., from his lecture at the 2017 Hinman Meeting.

For the average dentist, the thought of embracing new technology produces a common reaction, according to Marty Jablow, D.M.D. That reaction, he said, is fear.

In his continuing education session on Friday, March 24 at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting, titled “What’s New In High Tech Dentistry,” Jablow provided attendees with information to make smart choices about the big-ticket items they purchase for their practices.

“You’ve got to think before you do stuff. In this case, you’ve got to think before you buy,” he said.

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Before delving into the specifics of the latest advancements in cone beam and carry detection technology, Jablow offered three pieces of advice:

1. Stay away from the bleeding edge. The newest entrants into the dental technology market might not be the best. These devices require time to reach perfection, he said. He also advised dentists to be realistic with their goals. You will not go paperless and switch to detail, X-rays within a month, he said.

2. Get your team involved. You need to include your team members in your tech acquisition decisions. “In many cases, you (the dental team) may be using the technology, not the doctors,” Jablow said. “Doc, give it up. Let the person who wants to run the project run it.”

3. Image is everything. You don’t need to have all the bells and whistles to have a high-tech image, he told Hinman attendees. But if your practice appears technologically sophisticated and features carefully selected high-end technology, it will translate to profit. Jablow gave the example of deciding to put an early LCD screen in an operatory. Patients thought this relatively low-cost piece of technology was cool, and the coolness factor helped bolster the practice’s image. “If nothing’s been changed in your office in 30 years, there’s a problem,” he said.


Jablow told Hinman attendees that you need to question your motives for purchasing the latest gadget or technology. Is it because you want a new toy, he asked rhetorically, or because you want to drive profit. Return on investment, Jablow said, should be a determining factor in every major equipment purchase. He added that sometimes dentists do want or need toys, too, but they should “know that’s the reason.”


Amid the myriad of technological advances available in dentistry today, Jablow took a deep dive into several that are most integral to the business of dentistry. The first topic he covered was Cone Beam imaging.

Click to the next page to read about cone beam imaging, dental photography and enhanced caries detection.


Thanks to the latest imaging advances, “we’re looking at the 3D world,” Jablow said. Just how much of that world you want to see, however, is an important consideration.

Because you are responsible for whatever you’re looking it in radiographs, Jablow asked, do you really need to be or want to be responsible for the entire skull? Cone beam imaging can provide you with just that, he said, but it can also provide you with more focused fields of view. You must ask yourself, “What do I want this machine to do for me?” Jablow said.

You also want to minimize radiation to your patients, he advised, which you can accomplish by narrowing your imaging field of focus. Providing further considerations on amounts of radiation, Jablow pointed out that your antiquated 2D imaging device could be blanketing patients with excessive radiation.

Another word of caution that Jablow provided with cone beam imaging: with the increase in detailed images comes an increase in responsibility. “If you are not absolutely sure, you must get the radiologist to read it,” he said.


You want a camera that suits your level of photography expertise, Jablow advised. He recommended the Shofu camera, which comes with many useful presets that can be enabled with the push of a button, reducing the learning curve of typical DSLR cameras. Also, he said, the Shofu camera can be wiped down. DSLRs might not stand up to harsh sterilization chemicals.

In addition to providing you with more detailed images that can assist in your diagnosis and with case acceptance, dental photography builds in another layer of liability protection. Jablow said he now photographs every tooth he puts a drill to better support treatment decisions. Photos, he said, when shown to peers or review boards will lead people to say, “Well, that’s not out of the realm of possibility.


The days of sharp explorer detection of dental caries are over, Jablow said. Though the method may have been useful 100 years ago when dentists lacked modern imaging, it often leads to false positives now.

Enhanced magnifigcation, such as illuminated dental loupes, are a must-have for the modern dentist. He likes EyeZoom, which come with three magnification settings.

“I would not let anyone in here treat me if they were not wearing some kind of magnification with illumination.”

Discover more 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting coverage here.