When it comes to grafts in the US dental market, by far the most commonly used is human bone particulate from a tissue bank. I think it is safe to say that dentists generally know very little about the source and processing of graft materials. This article is intended to close that gap.
As many of you may already know, the use of laser and light technology is vastly altering the medical and dental industries. Many dentists have discovered the number of benefits of incorporating laser technology into procedure implementations and treatments. Lasers have been noted to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of procedures and can diminish the amount of time necessary for treatment and recovery. Whether it is used for shaping a patients gums after periodontal disease or whitening teeth, as time passes the uses of dental lasers in cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly evident and popular.
One of the lesser known uses for a dental laser is the role this technology can play on tooth decay and carries detection. Until recently, detection of tooth decay has been difficult to detect in its earliest stages. Often evidence of decay can only be seen once it has progressed and begun to permeate through the surrounding tissue causing visible damage. The primary reason for this is that decay can move into microscopic tears in enamel where it can go unnoticed. In fact, decay cannot be seen until it is one-third the width of the tooth. This can give the bacteria a chance to do damage to the teeth and dental structure that could have been avoided if detected early. As decay progress it becomes more difficult to treat and can lead to a number of dental disorders. Until recently dentists needed to take x-rays and physically probe teeth to find evidence of decay. At this point the decay has already began doing damage to the enamel of the tooth. With the use of dental lasers however, cavity detection can begin much earlier.
Times are changing fast and technology is the primary driver of change.
You will Lose Your job to Technology, Unless…
For years I skated around the worry that technology would take jobs away from dentists and dental staff. I can no longer make that claim. Your job in dentistry will go away or at least be severely limited by technology in the future. There is one sure fire way to ensure that you will still have a job in the high tech revolution. Become the
If you believe your job is to poke teeth with an explorer and take impressions you are fast becoming out of date. If you believe your job is to understand and use digital diagnostics and digital impressions then you are ahead of the pack.
If you believe your job is to pull charts and answer phones your job is in jeopardy. If on the other hand you believe your job is to maintain paperless charts and set up an online system to answer questions and take payments then you are secure.
The person who believes that their job is to understand and use technology effectively, can easily add new systems to the mix and embraces change will become indispensable; They will be an MVP the most valuable person in the office.
Here are three simple examples:
|Practice Staff Person||Practice Technologist|
|Pulls charts every day, spends time hunting for the lost chart then puts them all back again at the end of the day.||Knows the management software well enough to create and maintain completely paperless records.|
|Hands a clipboard to patients to fill out forms then re-enters all the information in the computer.||Sets up and uses online forms that synch with the electronic records. No paper and no dual entry.|
|Spends considerable time every day phoning and mostly leaving messages with patients to confirm (remind) them of an upcoming appointment.||Sets up and maintains an online e-service that sends daily reminders with no additional input from office staff.|
It is vitally important that the dentist understand the technology available to the office. As the practice leader the dentist needs to know what is possible in order to create a vision and lead the team.
Three days of Adventure C.E. that will change your practice, your Team, and your life!
Technology on the Rocks – May 18-20, 2017
Ok. I am going to make a bold statement. Well, it’s not really that bold.
My hygienists are the lifeblood of my general practice.
I use the term ‘general’ practice very intentionally in that statement. I don’t have exact stats, but my guess would be that 75% of my general dental practice care is driven through the hygiene department.
If you don’t have your hygienists taking photographs on your patients then you are cheating yourself and your patients. Photographs speak a thousand words. They communicate in a way that words simply can’t communicate.
Now I don’t believe in intraoral cameras. In my opinion, they are 1990’s technology and promote single tooth dentistry. I prefer to utilize extraoral digital camera with mirrors and retractors.
In our practice we have a simple rule. Every visit in hygiene there must be a photo taken. I don’t care what the picture is of – just that when I walk in the room we have a photo taken and on the patient education monitor.
Now we start having regular photographs to show patients how things are progressing.
Here’s a perfect example.
Lauren has been our patient since 2013. In 2013 we took our baseline series of new patient photographs. At this visit in 2016 our hygienist noted some recession on the upper premolars.
No patient believes or wants to hear they have recession and need a tissue graft. But – a picture speaks a thousand words.
This simple picture and the comparison to 2013 allowed us to talk to the patient about several things.
The true need for a tissue graft. We have an active area of recession that needs to be corrected. The patient sees the difference and ‘owns’ the problem.
The need for some type of occlusal treatment. Likely the need for some equilibration and a guard to protect the teeth. We know that usually this type of isolated recession is related to occlusal trauma.
So there you have it. The value of photography! And to me the beauty of this is that all done by my hygienist. I walk in and the patient is prepared and all I have to do is agree and answer any lingering questions.
Are you taking photographs in your practice?
What holds you back from taking photographs?
When we buy a paper book or a DVD video what we are really doing is assuring access to that “content” whenever we want. If we want to read it or view it we just go to the shelf and get it. But if we can just go to the Internet and get it streamed to our e-reader we have the same benefit of ownership we just don’t actually have a physical book. But do you really own that e-book?
So how about a patient chart? We have charts stacked on shelves because we need assured access to that info whenever we need it. However if we could get the same chart info from the cloud anywhere any time wouldn’t that be just as good. In fact better as you could get the data at home or while traveling you don’t have to actually be at your office.
From a purely intellectual point of view cloud storage of digital content makes perfect sense it just seems strange and risky to us. Just as we are becoming comfortable with storing important information in the cloud another huge data breach is announced on the news. Then there is the other question. Who owns data in the cloud?
The vast majority of reported data breaches in healthcare (62%) are the result of lost or stolen computers. Not malicious hackers. That means that cloud based record storage is actually safer than storing the data on a computer in your closet. If the data is in the cloud there is no need to have the data stored on a local computer. If a burglar steals a computer out of the office that has no patient data on it there is no breach.
Data storage is just one aspect of cloud computing. What is even better but also even harder to accept is that the actual computing takes place in the cloud. We don’t have any software applications installed on our local computer we just exchange data with a big server in the sky and the actual processing of the data takes place in the cloud.
This idea was originally called ASP (Application Service Provider) and has been a wonderful but elusive geek dream for almost twenty years. Several dental management systems have been launched based on the ASP or cloud model and the early ones all failed. As have most of the general cloud based business applications. They failed for a variety of reasons including people’s distrust of the Internet and worries about the system failing.
Originally published on Emmott on Technology.