Dental Tech Tag Archive

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How Many Sensors do you Need?


How many corded digital radiography sensors do you need? To understand the answer to this question ask yourself how many dark rooms or automatic processors did I need? The answer of course is one.

A corded sensor is not just a film substitute it is a processor substitute as well. Think of it as a reusable film that processes an x-ray in four seconds and then can be used again. If you could run your office with one automatic film processor you can run it with one corded sensor.

This is an important idea to understand because the sensor is the most expensive part of the system. A typical sensor will retail for about $8,000. I have found many dentists holding back on going with digital radiography because of cost. They have the mistaken idea that they will need two, three or even more sensors. That makes the cost of going digital $30,000 or more. In fact with one sensor the total cost should be no more than $12,000.

Most of the radiographs we take each day are taken in hygiene. The time to take re-call x-rays with a corded sensor (no developing, mounting etc.) is less than four minutes. Not every re-call patient needs x-rays. If you had three hygienists and all three hygiene patients need re-call x-rays there is plenty of time to move the corded sensor to each room during the 45 to 60 min appointment. One sensor can easily serve three or four hygienists just like one film processor or scanner can serve three or four hygienists.

Dentists take radiographs on endo and emergencies. There will be many days when the dentists never takes an x-ray. When the dentist needs the sensor just go and get it. It may be in use but the wait will only be a few minutes. It is less likely to be in use than the old auto processor and the wait will be shorter.

The idea that you need multiple sensors is just not true. However as a last resort, if you try using one sensor and it just doesn’t work, they will sell you another one!

XDR Radiography

EOT Digital Radiography Guide

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Google Plus for Dentists

Does your dental practice have a Google Places listing (also known as Google Local Listing)? If so, you have probably noticed that your listing has changed to a Google Plus listing. Before you panic, understand the differences between these Google platforms and evaluate which profile is best for your practice.

1. Google Plus Local:

What formerly was called Google Places is now called Google Plus Local; this new listing simply functions as the updated version of Google Places. It is designed for small local businesses but does not have the full functionality of a Google Plus account. These listings are also still included in the Maps section of Google. As Google implements their new scoring and review system, all Google Places accounts will be upgraded to Google Plus Local listings. If you already have an existing Google Places account, you are still able to access your regular login page.

2. Google Plus for Business:

Google Plus for Business is an option for any business, large or small. While Google Plus Local focuses on local businesses in each area, Google Plus for Business is used for large corporations as well. It is a fully functional social page (similar to Facebook business profiles). Businesses that sign up for this will need to start the process as a business. Eventually, Google is planning to merge these first two categories into one listing. As for now, they currently operate as two separate entities and may stay this way for some time.

3. Google Plus:

Regular Google Plus accounts are designed for individuals and should not be used for businesses. At the launch of Google Plus, business pages were not available and many users opted to create regular Google Plus accounts to represent their business. As these pages will not function properly for a business long-term, these pages should not be promoted. Instead, a Google Plus Local or Google Plus for Business account should be created for your dental practice.

As Google changes constantly, Solution21 can help you adapt to keep your practice’s online listings active and competitive. Solution21 offers Local Listing options that include complete setup for Google Plus Local setup. We also offer social networking packages that include setup of Google Plus for Business, Facebook, Twitter, and a custom blog.

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Anti-Buzz: You Can Stop the Signal

What is at stake when you set policy for Internet access and use in your office? There are no perfect solutions. Internet use at work, and the rules governing it, are really a matter of office culture, and every office is different; you are trying to balance safety, privacy, professionalism, practicality and morale. Here are things to consider.

Should you have Internet in the office at all?
Yes. And I probably don’t need to work very hard to convince you. Not having Internet access in your office today would be like not having a telephone number in days gone by. If you don’t allow general Internet use in your office, you will find yourself in the 20th century, with phonebooks and business cards and written memos and take-out menus and bulletin boards. Of course, if you do allow it, you find yourself in the 21st century where your employees kill time on Facebook when they should be working. The Internet can be a big distraction, sure, but we should enumerate some of the basic practical benefits of providing access in your office so that we don’t forget why we’re here:

  1. E-mail communication, both among employees and from customers.
  2. Information for troubleshooting issues around the office. “Could you look up how to fix a paper jam?”
  3. Answering customer questions about other local businesses. “Where’s the nearest post office?” “Do you have the number for that book store down the road?”  This is huge if you want to refashion your front desk as more of a concierge and less of a paper pusher – because hopefully you have less and less paper these days.
  4. Managing your website or other online presences. “While I’m thinking about it, update our webpage to say we’ll be closed next Monday.”
  5. Communicating with the other businesses you work with, (Bank, Insurance, Plumber, Collection Agency, etc.)
  6. Figuring out where you’re going for lunch.

How should I limit Internet use?
So the other side of the coin is that while the Internet is sort of like the phone of yesteryear, it’s also sort of like television, and you don’t want your employees entranced by it all day when there is real work to get done. It is of course reasonable and expected that you should have some policy governing legitimate use, and you can back this up with content filters or other technology, (more on those in a moment). However, don’t think that a good policy is as simple as “professional use only”, though that is a good standard to tell your employees to aim for.

“Professional use only” breaks down pretty quickly in the face of human employees, especially considering that your dental practice is by nature a small business and expected to have a more personable office culture. A rigid policy might be appropriate if you have an epidemic of unprofessional Internet use however. How flexible should you be? Is it inappropriate for an employee to spend 15 minutes on personal matters during a break? There might come a morning where an employee will have more peace of mind and be more focused if they can just get some light banking out of the way. Maybe an employee is about to pick up their kids after work but needs to look up directions. Maybe you want to compare menus of various Chinese take-out restaurants. Maybe one morning somebody is just dying to show off the latest funny cat video – in the name of employee morale, is that so wrong? Of course, policy can be flexible, and can allow for reasonable exceptions to the standard, but the technology you want to use might not be so understanding.

Can I block certain kinds of websites?
Yes. A content filter in your office is advisable, but be aware that it can be too aggressive and is not a substitute for good policy and culture. A filter does offer some ground floor advantages, though. First, it serves as malware protection, which is important given the risk of general-use Internet in the hands of many employees. Second, you can filter out the more egregious content of the Internet without flinching; this isn’t so much out of fear that your employees would actively seek out offensive content while at work, but in an age of pop-ups and fishy links, it might seek them.

Many filters offer categorical filtering, so you can narrow down what you consider professional and what you don’t, but be careful. First, any of the reasonable, human exceptions above need to be accounted for by your filter. Also, categorical filters can be capricious. A terrific example is the content aggregator reddit, which is very much the sort of site you would like to block in your office, but it is owned by Conde Nast and frequently finds itself categorized as “news and information” or similar, thus defeating many content filters. On the other side, you might find the legitimate-use websites might be, for whatever reason, blocked by your filter. Also, you might want to block social media – but if you have a facebook or twitter profile that you use to interact with the public, it seems silly to lock yourself out of it at your office. It is better to err on the side of permissiveness and instead let your own rules and discipline do the filtering for you.

How can I monitor what my employees are doing?
Aside from looking over their shoulder? You can do quite a bit. You can examine browser histories, but a savvy employee might delete theirs. You can probably arrange with either your service provider or your IT staff to obtain a full history of Internet use, but it makes for dull reading and does not connect websites to the employees that use them. If you want to track individuals, you will need to have your network set up to require logins, and for each employee to have their own username – then details of their sessions can be tracked. This might not be feasible for your office, or it might be easily done, depending on your current set up and your access to quality IT. If you have mechanisms in place to track Internet use, treat it like you would a drug test: you aren’t going to use it everyday, but you have it ready in case someone makes you suspicious. If employees are concerned about privacy in the face of such monitoring, remind them that if they stick to professional use only, they won’t have anything to worry about; in other words, having a mechanism in place to monitor use will deter inappropriate use without losing the flexibility of frequent reasonable exceptions.

At the end of the day, you have tools at your disposal, but there is no magic technology solution to the problem of monitoring Internet use in your office. It needs to be a matter of office policy. Communicate expectations, and keep the matter an open dialog.

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In Episode 9 of Take Five With Marty, Dr. Marty Jablow discusses the many benefits of the “magical ingredient” xylitol with dental industry consultant, author and publisher, Shirley Gutkowski, RDH.


Shirley Gutkowski, coach of CareerFusion, is a dental hygienist who practiced full time general dental hygiene in Madison, WI from 1986 to 2003. She received her RDH from Madison Area Technical College and earned her Baccalaureate Degree in Dental Hygiene from Marquette University in 1999.

She’s author of the best selling series The Purple Guide, and brings with her a talent for the written word, self publishing experience, stage work and computer expertise.

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Dr. Jablow discusses repairing spinal cord injury and interviews Dr. Paul Feuerstein about dental digital impressions

In Episode 6 of Take Five With Marty, Dr. Marty Jablow discusses repairing spinal cord injury with dental pulp stem cells and also interviews dental technology guru, Dr. Paul Feuerstein about dental digital impressions.

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