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Top Five Ways To Use The iPad In Your Dental Office

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You don’t want to get caught holding the dinosaur’s tail. Have you ever thought about when dentistry began? Would you believe that it predates the practice of law? The earliest records of dentistry date to 3000 BCE to an Egyptian named Hesy-Ra. In his tomb they found inscriptions proclaiming him Chief of the Dentists. In fact, the Egyptians documented false teeth techniques and according to the Code of Hammurabi there were two punishments recorded for poor dentistry. One included removing the offending dentist’s teeth and the other stated that both his hands be removed! From the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia the use of chewsticks is well documented.The use of gold was adopted from the Egyptians by the Romans to invent gold crowns. Ancient ointments of roasted earthworm and spikenard were injected into drilled holes to prevent further tooth decay. That’s how important people take their dental hygiene.

So it would seem that dentistry has come a long way from the muddy huts and bow drills of the past, or it would seem. In truth, many dentists are reluctant to embrace the latest technology available to them, and with good reason. Most companies are slow to develop software and integrate across both the MAC and PC platforms. Tablet technology has been around for several years but its practical application had been somewhat elusive until the iPad. Until recently the limitations of the apps available for dental applications have been sparse, but now exciting new tools for dentistry are becoming available.

With the explosion of the mobile era, demand has driven progress. It was only ten years ago that people were marveling at cable modems and the emergence of early social media. Dr. Hall, a Colorado Springs Dentist, shared this anecdote about the new, mobile technology. “I overheard someone on a recent flight upset that the in-flight internet connection would be down. Well I couldn’t help but laugh.” Now we can shop, bank, blog, review, and record every aspect of our lives with an urgent immediacy that is unprecedented in recent memory. With something that can fit into your pocket or purse. “I remember when the phone was attached to the wall!” exclaims Dr. Hall. So as a forward thinking individual, he knew that the times would catch up to his early adoption of new technology.

We’re Only Getting Started

Now people like lists. It breaks things down. Makes sense of large, expansive subjects. Like utilizing the iPad in your practice into a simple top 5 list.

5. New iPad Dental Apps
Now that apps like edgeDMS and SmartDental Chart have been developed, dentists have a practical way to chart and track every patient with stunning accuracy. Perio Charting, X-rays, and pictures are all conveniently laid out in a scroll & select style format. No more fumbling through large filing cabinets searching for the most recent charts or files. With simple touch screen elegance, over wi-fi, dentists can have immediate recall for every patient. Instantly.

4. Patient Interaction
The ability to interact with patients is very key, to their comfort and confidence. The fact that any dentist can pull up x-rays on the iPad, and hand it over to their patient and enjoy that stunned look on their faces. Being able to zoom in and examine the x-rays while being explained what they are reviewing not only involves the patient with their examination, but allows them to feel included in the decision making process. Being able to schedule check up reminders and routine visits via email and txt helps keep patients on track and current.

3. Connecting With Your Staff Remotely
With apps like Facetime, Skype, Adobe Connect, or TeamViewer a dentist can use their iPad communicate with their staff remotely. Regardless if it an urgent staff meeting or just a check in, the ability to connect with your personnel is something that is invaluable. With functionality like remote computer control the collaboration and presentation of information is remarkably simple and operator friendly. Some situations are too complex for an email, why shouldn’t you be taking advantage of visual teleconferencing? Being able to communicate face to face removes a lot of the ambiguity of an email or txt allowing a clear understanding of the patient’s needs.

2. Making Dentist Visits More Enjoyable
How about some fun? Let’s toy with the idea of how patients would feel if they had their own iPads available during their visit. Just think if after you checked in for your appointment, you were handed an iPad to review your charts, maybe watch a movie streaming on Netflix, or play a game with your nervous child waiting for their appointment. Trips to your dentist shouldn’t be fraught with anxiety or paranoia, they are after all here to help you remain healthy with a beautiful smile.

1. Get Feedback with Reviews
With the state of social media the potential to remain relevant and current in today’s market is at your command. With apps like PollDaddy and sites like FourSquare, the iPad provides happy patients the opportunity to revel in their satisfaction to their friends and contacts. And as we all know, word of mouth even if it is digital, is still the most reliable method of developing more happy patients.

It is still going to take a bit to get to there from here, but after all this is the 21st century and we don’t want to get caught hanging onto the dinosaur’s tail.

Bo Colen is a screenwriter and sometime author for e-Marketing Partner Dr. Andrew Hall is a technology officianado and owner of The Studio for Exceptional Dentistry.

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