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At the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting, Martin Jablow, D.M.D., gave a brief overview of different apps that can be used in the dental office. Whether for patient entertainment while in the waiting room, or for diagnostics or staff training, there seems to be an app for everything.
Our lives now revolve around our mobile devices. Why not make that an advantage in your dental practice?
On Saturday, March 25, 2017, in a session at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting, Martin Jablow, D.M.D., discussed how you can use human addiction to technology for your practice’s benefit.
According to a study assessing “year-over-year increase in app sessions by categories,” Health and Fitness apps were among the fastest-growing app categories in 2015, at a 52 percent increase compared to 2014, Jablow said. Other categories included Personalization, News and Magazines, and Entertainment.
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So how can dentists use apps to increase productivity and make their patients “ecstatic” about their next dental appointment? Jablow recommends keeping one or two tablets in the waiting room, filled with some entertainment-category apps.
“Want to watch Netflix? Want to watch Amazon Video Prime? And if they don’t have an account, I’ll use one of mine. It’s not a big deal, I pay for them anyway,” Jablow said.
You don’t need the most expensive iPad to keep the patients entertained while they wait. There are so many tablets that you can order for less than $100, Jablow said.
But tablets and apps aren’t just for entertainment, they can be used for dentistry too. Jablow broke down the apps into categories. Here are some of the ones he mentioned.
As an aside, neither Jablow nor Dentist’s Money Digest® is endorsing these products. This is meant to be for informational purposes. All apps are available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, unless otherwise specified.
Apps for Hygiene
Several companies now provide free apps that can be used alongside their electronic toothbrushes to monitor brushing technique.
The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Electric toothbrush, and the Oral B 5000 with Bluetooth allow the user to track which teeth were brushed and for how long. You can set daily goals and even send your progress to your dentist straight from the app. The Oral B toothbrush even lets you monitor pressure and recommends whether you should reduce or apply more.
Apps for Dental Staff
As in many fields, there is jargon specific to dentistry that those outside the field or those fresh into dentistry may not be aware of.
Jablow recommends the Dental Dictionary — Terms and Definitions to help train new staff or assistants. This and other apps don’t just give definitions, they also have photos to illustrate meaning or identify the different teeth. Other apps specific to dentistry include Oxford Dentistry, Dental Anatomy, and Dental Instruments (DI is available only in Google Play).
Apps for Diagnostics
While not all dentists also diagnose sleep apnea, those who do can benefit from some apps that are available to monitor sleep, snore levels, and more. Sometimes when a doctor asks a patient if their snoring has gotten better, they don’t give a definite answer, which is what’s needed from a clinical standpoint. One of the more helpful apps that Jablow mentioned is called Snore Lab. This app records and tracks your snoring levels, monitors your sleep, and recommends solutions.
Aside from sleep apnea, apps can also help with other diagnoses. VELscope Photo System can be used with the VELscope instrument to diagnose oral cancer and send images to a specialist (available only in Apple App Store). The Kardia app can also be used in conjunction with the Kardia instrument to “create a personal heart profile” for each patient.
But dental apps aren’t just for the seasoned dentist. Dentistry ProConsult can be a dental student’s best friend. Not only does the app provide step-by step instructions for dental procedures, it also has videos to demonstrate technique.