<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?authToken=0fg_&authType=name&locale=en_US&id=33105187" rel="author">Dr. Larry Emmott </a>is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry and he is considered the leading dental high tech authority in the country. He has over thirty years of experience as a practicing general dentist in Phoenix, AZ. He will have you laughing while you are learning. Check out his site at <a href="http://emmottontechnology.com" rel="author">Emmott on Technology</a>

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Dental Tech Predictions for 2012

I humbly report that my 2011 predictions regarding dentistry and high tech, which can be found here, all proved to be 100% accurate. Knowing it is not possible to improve on that record I am submitting predictions for 2012 that I expect to be 100% wrong.

Knowing these predictions will never come to pass makes them not really predictions but more like hopes or ideals. Like ending the scourge of periodontal disease or peace on earth, we’d all like to see these things happen in 2012 but know they never will.

  1. All the major creators and sellers of dental software agree to industry standards that allow a dentist in Cleveland using dental software Softrix to send a complete chart including all the notes, x-rays and medical history digitally to a dentist in Spokane using dental software Eagleworks. The Spokane dentist can simply import the complete chart and use it all with a single click. Heck it would be a big improvement if the Softrix user could just send a dental chart across town to another Softrix user.
  2. Using film x-rays becomes the social equivalent of smoking in public. Sure people still do it but they are made to feel that they are low status and unclean. After all the film developing chemicals are stinky and who knows they might even cause cancer. Of course for a dental office to stop using film they first have to really want to change.
  3. Digital impressions become main stream as dental labs start charging half price for digital impression cases. Simple business accounting demonstrates that when the lab eliminates the cost of pick up, pouring models, trimming dies and remakes for distorted, dried out bubbly impressions the lab can make a lot more profit and charge less if they can get rid of those pesky impressions. .
  4. E-Services will become so fast, so good and so cheap that dentists will finally get it. They will look back on the primitive days of 2011 and wonder how any intelligent professional could ever have sent bills by mail, sorted charts by hand to find non responsive patients, made phone calls to confirm patients or waited on hold to establish insurance eligibility.
  5. Suddenly realizing that “Google it” is now a well-established part of the American lexicon dentists will scramble to get an office web page. A few idealistic hold outs will mutter I don’t need a web page my practice is 100% referral. Of course in 2012 even the best personal referral will still Google the dental office just to find the address and phone number.
  6. Finally dental insurance companies will start to use online systems to accept dental claims, review them and transfer payments to the dental office account instantly. Seriously, it could happen.

The future is coming and it will be Amazing!

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Tablets in the Dental Office


Tablets were big news at CES last year. They are still big news. Tablets are becoming thinner, lighter, more powerful, and more affordable than ever. However the fact we are still talking about them as a future technology indicates we still haven’t really incorporated them into everyday work.

In dentistry I see tablets as a valuable extra but not as a replacement for desktops in the treatment rooms. A tablet will be the computer each team member caries with them from room to room to read and write notes view images and communicate with the rest of the office. However we will still need a treatment room computer to capture and process diagnostics such as x-ray images.

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Patients Prefer e-Reminders

NO-SHOWS – a classic issue which has plagued dental practices since the time of good ol’ G.V. Black.

No-shows are frustrating and expensive. You can get militant and charge patients if they no-show. That’s a great way to create pleasant Kumbayah relationships.

You can be proactive and call everybody on the schedule a few days in advance. This is great because it keeps the staff busy – not productive – just busy. Many if not most patients never answer the phone and when they do it is a convenient chance for them to cancel.

Technology to the rescue:

Some interesting research from Sesame Communications:

  • The typical missed appointment rate is 18% to 22%.
  • Patients prefer email appointment reminders to telephone calls by a margin of 3 to 1.
  • 77% of practices report automated appointment reminders reduce no-shows.

How much is it worth to reduce or eliminate no-shows? According to Sesame:

A typical practice loses $138,000 to no-shows each year.

Not only are automated reminders more effective than phone calls they are much less costly to the practice. The reason is that e-mails can be automated using an e-service. That means everything is done online by machines for a low monthly fee. You are not paying expensive humans to dial the phone, wait on hold and leave a voice mail.


Dr. Larry Emmott is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry and he is considered the leading dental high tech authority in the country. He has over thirty years of experience as a practicing general dentist in Phoenix, AZ. He will have you laughing while you are learning. Check out his site at emmottontechnology

Read more »

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