Weekly Tech: Software

July 25, 2017
Joe Falvo

Technology is quickly transforming dentistry. From digital record-keeping to machines that seem straight out of a SciFi feature, the 21st century has gifted the medical industry some amazing devices. Dentists are especially proactive about adopting new technology in their practices, so DMD is bringing you a weekly spotlight on some of the best products on the market. Continue below to read about this week's focus, software.

Software can help dentists in every corner of their practice, from managing finances to marketing.

Digital-age dentists are using software to give the modern dental practice an electronic facelift. Here’s our analysis of key software systems and their impact on dentistry.

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Practice management

Dentists undergo some of the most rigorous didactic and clinical education to become effective clinicians. This immense scientific knowledge often overshadows the critical business management skills needed for practice success. One of the most popular practice management software systems, Dentrix, is a multi purpose tool that brings corporate efficiencies to the dental practice.

“Dentrix gives your practice the ultimate business, clinical and front office tools — electronic prescriptions, eClaims, monthly business metrics, mobile computing, third-party products and more —enabling you and your team to improve patient care while growing your business,” writes Dentrix.

In the front office, the software’s business management functionality tracks key objectives and produces custom financial reports and patient lists. The system’s clinical functionality enhances efficiency in the operatory with preset periodontal metrics, clinical notes, and 3D charts. Dentists can also use the system to manage electronic insurance claims.

Patients interface with Dentrix through customizable automatic reminders and touch screen enabled electronic check-ins. Dentrix facilitates doctor-patient communication by providing an electronic platform through which patients can select treatment options. The mobile and desktop systems are each fully integrated to minimize installation difficulty.

Digital workflow

The traditional impression process is costly, time-consuming and uncomfortable for patients. Many labs now use 3D scanners to digitally scan physical impressions and computationally fit a restoration before 3D printing a model.

With 3M ESPE’s LAVA Chairside Oral Scanner (COS), dentists can further streamline this process by electronically sending a 3D scan of the treatment area directly to a lab. LAVA uses unique 3D-in-motion technology, enabling dentists to dynamically scan the intraoral cavity in real time using a wand. 3M also offers digital workflow and 3D printed model services.

“The workflow starts with the digital impression made by the dentist followed by digital margin marking and the preparation of a virtual sawn-cut model by the dental technician using the Lava C.O.S. Laboratory Software,” 3M says. “An additional feature is new model manufacturing with stereolithography. Lava Design Software is used for the fabrication of a CAD/CAM restoration.”

Learn more about 3D printing’s impact on dentistry and the digital workflow

Digital marketing

Digitally enhanced marketing can propel practice growth by helping dentists reach patients who are most in need of their expertise. Many patients are turning toward online reviews and social media platforms when selecting a service provider, and health care is no exception. Dentists, like many business owners, often manage their own marketing, so a strong digital presence is essential to focus resources.

“For a company to be successful today, it must embrace all channels, and social marketing is a critical part of that equation,” said Chief Marketing Officer of Marketo for Hootsuite.

Hootsuite is an online platform that allows users to manage all their social media accounts from a single platform. Users can schedule posts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to optimally engage with customers. They can even track progress and conversations about their practice using the software’s analytics and social listening capabilities.

Continue to learn more about how to improve digital marketing efforts with Search Engine Optimization.

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