Digital Alternatives and the Payoff to Your Patients and Practice

Many areas of dental practice are now influenced or controlled by digital features. Most practices have already adopted some element of technology to help improve the efficiency of the business and the outcome for their patients. The majority, however, still have opportunities to integrate further digital alternatives.

Why haven’t practice owners converted to digital wherever possible? There are a number of reasons why, but they usually come down to two: cost and time. In comparison, the lucky few who have adopted digital dentistry are “innovators,” embracing technology to the fullest, and reaping the rewards.

Where is digital dentistry in the practice?

In the last few decades, digital options have become available in both the clinical and business side of dental practices, including:

  • Radiography

  • Shade matching

  • Photography

  • Computer-aided design and manufacture (CAD/CAM)

  • Diagnosis and analysis, such as detection for caries, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders

  • Practice management

The latter, although it does not have a clinical application, is becoming increasingly important in this era, since records and reports are essential to meeting organizational and legal standards. Improvements in practice management software—and the range of products available—mean that practices are becoming more efficient as businesses.

But why is adoption of digital slow?

Those who purchase digital dentistry later may have misconceived ideas about how difficult integration is into the practice. The financial investment provides barriers for many, but—due to the growing market for digital alternatives—prices are declining and becoming more affordable. Time is also a key consideration: staff training results in time away from treating patients. But those practitioners who have taken the leap are often surprised at how quick and easy the integration process is, as long as the solution chosen is user friendly and intuitive.

What about practice management software solutions?

Practice management solutions are affordable and provide a fairly quick return on investment. These solutions have been around for some time and are finely tuned to be easy to use—and incorporate—into the dental practice. From a business perspective, these solutions simplify routine tasks, record important information and improve team communication through easy access to patient records—ultimately ensuring consistency in care. Some solutions include data that facilitates highly accurate practice performance analysis. And some solutions provide a cloud-based alternative to in-house computing, which provides:

  • Access to patient data and images 24/7 from almost any web-connected device

  • The same system performance at all office locations

  • Data and image sharing with satellite offices, lab or referral destination

  • Software updates that are performed automatically

  • Predictable monthly subscription rates with no surprises

  • Patient data in a security-rich environment with HIPAA-compliant protection

Imagine the possibilities for digital dentistry

Digital dentistry for the typical dental practice can be daunting—but exciting, too. The possibilities are endless, with new innovations constantly being introduced. Cost and time are the limiting factors, but there are affordable options available. Practice management software offers a practical, simple and easy-to-integrate digital solution that benefits the dental team, the practice and, most importantly, patient care.


Carestream Dental Blog Administrator Contributor


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