Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Email Fraud Attacks on Healthcare Jumped 473% Since 2017


This is a shocking stat, but in the last 2 years healthcare systems have seen a tremendous increase in fraud attacks launched via email.  By tremendous, I mean 473% tremendous.  That is no small number and given the amount of data that can be purloined via breaking into a repository of medical records, it is definitely an indication of just how vigilant we need to be of threats to our data security.

I recently read that the value of a medical record is around $20 apiece to those purchasing them, while viable credit card numbers are worth about $0.50… that’s right.  A credit card number is worth 50 cents while a medical record is worth twenty dollars.  Personally I would have never thought our records were actually worth that much, but that is what the market is paying.

I have had a chance to peruse the Healthcare Email Fraud Report  that has been put together from security company ProofPoint.  The information is fascinating and also a bit frightening.  As Dentistry’s “Technology Evangelist” I look upon my job as to not only present information on new devices, techniques, and materials, but to also help with things such as security and help with HIPAA and other data protection issues.  To that end, that’s why you are seeing more and more posts here leading off with my “biohazard” graphic (seen here at the top of this post) because things are just getting crazier from a standpoint of protection.

Recently I’ve become quite interested in a company called “ProofPoint” because they seem to be doing a very commendable job or monitoring the trends in the security aspects of our profession.  Like any aspect of our profession, you cannot have too much good information and ProofPoint is a powerhouse when it comes to tracking and warning of the problems we are facing every day.  

Proofpoint regularly conducts extensive research to highlight
the threats, trends, and key takeaways we see within our large
customer base and in the wider threat landscape.

Every day, we analyze more than 5 billion email messages,
hundreds of millions of social media posts and more than 250
million malware samples to protect organizations around the
world from advanced threats. We continue to see sophisticated
threats across email, social media and the web. That gives us a
unique vantage point from which to reveal and analyze the tactics,
tools and targets of today’s cyber attacks.
Here are some of their  Key Findings:


Healthcare organizations were targeted in 96 email fraud attacks on average in Q4 2018—
a 473% jump over Q1 2017.
Wire-transfer fraud is healthcare’s most common form of email fraud.
Within targeted healthcare organizations, 65 staff members were attacked in Q4 2018
on average.
The largest volume of email fraud attacks targeting healthcare arrived on weekdays between
7 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the targets’ time zone.
95% of healthcare organizations were targeted by an attack using their own trusted domain.
And all of them had their domain spoofed to target patients and business partners.
45% of all email sent from healthcare-owned domains in Q4 appeared suspicious, including
65% sent to employees, 42% sent to patients, and 15% sent to business partners.

For more information on the state of security in healthcare and to be able to access reports as well as read their very informative blog, head over to the ProofPoint website and bookmark it.  I think you’ll find it a great place to learn more.  I know that I certainly have.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Kulzer and DENTCA Partner to Launch World’s First Web-Based Denture Design Software

Kulzer, a global leader in dental materials, announced today that
it has officially launched a web-based denture design platform that will allow dental labs and

clinicians to design a denture online using digital Mondial and Mondial i teeth, download the
design files and print the denture. The result will be significant time savings and accuracy
enhancements that will benefit dental practices, labs and patients alike.

Kulzer’s new design platform, Pala Design Studio, allows lab technicians to design a denture
case in under 20 minutes, which is a small fraction of the time it would take with conventional
dentures. The technology also allows practices to require only two visits from their patients,
compared to up to five visits with conventional dentures. Pala Design Studio generates
digital denture designs as STL files, which are the standard format for additive manufacturing

The digitally designed and printed dentures created with Pala Design Studio are significantly
more accurate than those produced conventionally. Moreover, Kulzer’s cara Print 4.0 3D
printer yields smoother, more homogeneous surfaces than other 3D printers. The cara Print
4.0’s exceptional precision in the z-axis and the finely tuned parameters for each material
mean that dental professionals can position appliances in almost any direction and always
achieve the perfect fit.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with our sister company to bring DENTCA’s
outstanding digital design platform to our valued customers,” said Lesley Melvin, Kulzer’s
Director of Marketing and Product Management. “Our commitment to helping practices, labs
and patients benefit from the exceptional efficiency and accuracy of digital dentures is
unmatched in our industry, and this partnership is just the latest example of that

Pala Design Studio advantages over other denture design platforms:

  • Faster Web-based design process with pay-per-download fee structure
  • Simpler design process and available as a diagnostic tool
  • Multiple cases can be designed at the same time
  • No software to install
  • Portability - designs are stored in the cloud and accessible from anywhere
  • No extra module needed to use impressions
  • No dongle necessary
  • Design supervisors can have access to all designs for a lab from anywhere
  • Ease-of-use - teeth placement is more intuitive, less manipulation is required afterthe automatic placement, and adjustments are more user-friendly and natural looking

Kulzer’s denture design platform, powered by DENTCA, is the most recent addition to
Kulzer’s complete digital workflow for denture production, which includes:
  • cara Scan 4.0, a compact and precise model and impression scanner with an excellent price-performance ratio
  • cara Print 4.0, the first 3D printer for dental practices that meets all of their speed and accuracy requirements for polymer-based dental appliances
  • cara Print Clean, an automated cleaning system that utilizes an agitated contained volume of isopropyl alcohol to clean excess, uncured, 3D printing liquid material from 3D printed parts (coming soon)
  • HiLite Power 3D, a high-performance light polymerization curing unit that can be used with all light-curing dental materials
  • dima Print Denture Base Materials (4-shades), light-curable resins indicated for fabrication and repair of full and partial removable dentures and baseplates
  • dima Print Denture Teeth Materials (6-shades), light-curable resins for fabricating, by additive manufacturing, preformed denture teeth to be used in a denture

While Pala Design Studio will initially be used for 3D printed dentures design, over time it
will also be used for milling dentures, all-on-4 design and splint and night-guard design. It
also has the potential to be used in orthodontics.

For more information about Kulzer and its award-winning products and services, please
visit To set up an account in Pala Design Studio and begin designing
dentures, please visit

Monday, May 20, 2019

DMG Donates Toothbrush Testing Machine to UNC’s Adams School


This is some pretty cool news.  DMG makes some innovative products and now they’ve made a pretty serious donation to dental research.  The company has agreed to donate a toothbrush simulation machine to the University of North Carolina’s Adams School of Dentistry.  The UNC school has long been well known for its research and has been home to quite a few heavy hitters in the dental research arena.

By utilizing this toothbrush simulator, researchers will be able to study the long term viability of materials since they can now simulate what would take years of brushing to test finish, wear, etc of materials.

Here is all of the info:

DMG is proud to support the University of North Carolina Adams
School of Dentistry with their recent donation of a toothbrush simulation testing machine.

“A critical key to our ability to bring our customers and their patients the most effective and safest materials
possible is to support independent research at such pioneering institutions as UNC’s Adams School of
Dentistry, which is renowned for its dental materials research,” said George Wolfe, President DMG America.

"We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of DMG,” said Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA, dean of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. “It is because of contributions like these
that we are able to work toward our ultimate goal of becoming the global model for oral health education, in
care and discovery."
DMG’s goal is to streamline the lives of dental professionals by producing premium quality dental materials
that put their customers in a better position for clinical, operational and financial success. The company’s
commitment to innovation is fostered by its strong collaborative relationships with many partners, including:
  • Dental schools
  • Private educational and research organizations
  • Product testing facilities
  • Leading dental practitioners and influencers
The need for a toothbrush simulation testing machine was first discussed in a meeting between Dr. Taiseer
Sulaiman, Assistant professor, Division Director of Operative Dentistry and Biomaterials, Department of
Restorative Sciences at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, and Dr. Susanne Effenberger, DMG Head of
Clinical Research, during her spring 2018 tour of the dental school. Discussion topics also included an
educational grant by DMG and two possible in-vitro studies to be conducted by Dr. Sulaiman’s Biomaterials
Laboratory at the school to confirm the quality of the chemical properties of an innovative new DMG material
for use in dental practices. In the fall of 2018, plans for both the educational grant and the donation of the
tooth brush simulator were finalized, and two months later the agreement for the two research projects was
finalized. The tooth brush simulation testing machine was delivered to the school in early 2019.
“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to DMG for their continuous support of research in our
Biomaterials Laboratory at the UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry,” said Dr. Sulaiman. “Their support allows
us to provide clinicians with guidelines and recommendations that support newly introduced materials.
Maximizing the clinical relevance of in-vitro testing may help bridge some of the gaps that are currently
present. With machines like the toothbrush simulator, we can investigate many properties related to surface
gloss, roughness and color stability. DMG understands the importance of supporting research institutions with
such equipment, and of enabling researchers and clinicians to have a better understanding of dental materials
with the ultimate goal of providing our patients the best care possible.”

For information about DMG and its category-defining products, please visit

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Twitter Releases Data on a Bug Impacting Collection and Sharing of Location Data on iOS Devices


Security issues are becoming more and more a part of my reporting here.  Between reporting on HIPAA breaches, encouraging methods to protect your data, and reporting on security issues that can affect you both personally and professionally I’ve been pretty busy as of late.  As the Technology Evangelist, I’ve got a lot of subjects to cover and report to you on and currently it’s more focused on security.

This latest issue is from the team at Twitter.  The company recently announced that they were exposing location data of iOS users to a Third Party that they have some type of business relationship with.  Obviously if your location is being broadcast to someone without your permission, that’s a major invasion of your privacy.  The good news is that this problem affected a fairly small subset of users.  I feel the takeaway here is that sharing your location is something to really think about before doing it.  While there are certainly benefits to sharing your location, there are also serious detriments.  Weigh your decisions carefully!

Here is what Twitter had to say in their announcement:

You trust us to be careful with your data, and because of that, we want to be open with you when we make a mistake. We have discovered that we were inadvertently collecting and sharing iOS location data with one of our trusted partners in certain circumstances.
Specifically, if you used more than one account on Twitter for iOS and opted into using the precise location feature in one account, we may have accidentally collected location data when you were using any other account(s) on that same device for which you had not turned on the precise location feature. 
Separately, we had intended to remove location data from the fields sent to a trusted partner during an advertising process known as real-time bidding. This removal of location did not happen as planned. However, we had implemented technical measures to “fuzz” the data shared so that it was no more precise than zip code or city (5km squared). This location data could not be used to determine an address or to map your precise movements. The partner did not receive data such as your Twitter handle or other unique account IDs that could have compromised your identity on Twitter. This means that for people using Twitter for iOS who we inadvertently collected location information from, we may also have shared that information with a trusted advertising partner.   
We have confirmed with our partner that the location data has not been retained and that it only existed in their systems for a short time, and was then deleted as part of their normal process.
We have fixed this problem and are working hard to make sure it does not happen again. We have also communicated with the people whose accounts were impacted to let them know the bug has been fixed. We invite you to check your privacy settings to make sure you’re only sharing the data you want to with us.
We’re very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us and are committed to earning that trust every day.
If you have any questions, you may contact Twitter's Office of Data Protection through this form.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Studies Show Charcoal Toothpastes Do NOT Whiten Teeth


JADA (the Journal of the American Dental Association) has performed an analysis on over 100 articles covering charcoal toothpaste.  Their conclusion was that "there was “insufficient clinical and laboratory data” to support charcoal toothpaste’s safety or effectiveness, and warned dentists and patients to “be cautious” in using them."

Also recently the BDJ (British Dental Journal) performed a study that determined charcoal based toothpastes are a “marketing gimmick” with no scientific evidence to support claims they whiten teeth.  One of the study’s co-authors Dr. Joseph Greenwald-Cohen had the following to say:
"When used too often in people with fillings, it can get into them and become difficult to get out," Dr Greenwall-Cohen said.
"Charcoal particles can also get caught up in the gums and irritate them."
He said charcoal toothpastes and powders were more abrasive than regular toothpastes, potentially posing a risk to the enamel and gums.
The charcoal contained in today's toothpastes is usually a fine powder form of treated charcoal, the review says.
Charcoal can be made from materials including nutshells, coconut husks, bamboo and peat, and possibly wood and coal.
Prof Damien Walmsley, from the British Dental Association, said: "Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached.
"So don't believe the hype. Anyone concerned about staining or discoloured teeth that can't be shifted by a change in diet, or improvements to their oral hygiene, should see their dentist."

The JADA study can be accessed here and the BDJ study is discussed in this article on the BBC website.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New Version of Dharma Ransomware Masquerades as ESTV Anti-Virus Attached to a Warning Email


In the never ending battle against malware, there is a new variant in the Ransomware realm.  The malware itself, called Dharma, has been around for a while, but what is different this time around is how the payload is delivered.  

Usually with Ransomeware there is some type of user action required to get it installed.  Often it is some type of  phishing email that tricks the user into opening a file which then installs Dharma.  This time the perpetrators have tried something even more nefarious.  The user receives an email that appears to be from a trusted source such as Microsoft and warns the user that their “computer is at risk”.  It makes some type of doom and gloom threat of how you have been infected and the only way to fix it is to download and install a new antivirus software.

The email looks and reads very legit and fools the recipient into downloading and double clicking the file.  What happens next is the antivirus (which is an old version of an actual AV software) begins to install and at the same time the Dharma ransomware is also installing.  Since the user thinks the AV software is making beneficial changes to the computer they don’t think twice about windows opening & closing, etc.  Unfortunately when the process is over, the user is faced with a screen informing them of the Ransomware and the way they can pay to get their data unencrypted.

This a true instance of good social engineering.  They attempt to catch you off guard, provide a very strong threat that must be acted upon immediately, and disguise their tracks with the AV install.  The entire time the user is in actuality doing the bad guys job for them.

The moral to the story is NEVER open a file you are not expecting and always do research about these types of problems by searching Google or another reputable search engine.  Vigilance is important to prevent these types of disasters!

Trendmicro was the company that discovered this new variation.  You can read their blog post about it here.  

Monday, May 13, 2019

MouthWatch CEO Brant Herman Speaking on Teledentistry Opportunities in Private Practice During CDA Presents in Anaheim


Brant Herman, the CEO and founder of MouthWatch, LLC a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices, will be a featured speaker during CDA Presents in Anaheim. MouthWatch will also be exhibiting in booth #2323.

During the lecture, entitled “Teledentistry Opportunities in Private Practice” Herman will provide a brief background on teledentistry technology and legislation, focusing on how the landscape has changed to create exciting opportunities for private practices, ranging from solo practitioners to groups practices. The learning objectives are as follow:

• Explore the teledentistry technology currently available.
• Discuss a range of private practice opportunities incorporating teledentistry.
• Understand how teledentistry can augment their current practice model.

The lecture is being held on Friday, May 17th, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM in the Spot Hall C, in the Anaheim Convention Center. According to Herman, “The technology of teledentistry is not exclusive to
public health programs, DSOs and consumer-direct clear aligner companies. It can be easily adopted and afforded by private dental practices seeking new ways to grow their businesses.”
During his lecture, Herman will review examples of how his company’s all-in-one teledentistry platform, TeleDent™ 2.0 can be used successfully in a variety of scenarios, including:

• GP/Specialist Referrals & Clinical Collaboration
• DSO Access to Specialists Rotating in Different Locations
• Medical-Dental Collaboration
• Innovative Dental Hygiene Business Models
• Public Health / Private Practice Hybrids
• Pop-Up Dental Clinics

Teledentistry technology is now within reach of the average dental practice to improve the patient experience, simplify workflow and provide easier communication amongst internal and external care team, all of which contribute to the ability to seize upon new business opportunities that previously didn’t exist.”

For more information about MouthWatch, visit, call 877-544-4342 or send an email to

About MouthWatch, LLC:
Headquartered in Metuchen, New Jersey, MouthWatch, LLC is a leader in leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices. The company is dedicated to finding new ways to constantly improve the dental health experience for both patient and provider.

The founders and management team of MouthWatch have relevant backgrounds and successful track records in dentistry, consumer products and communications. Since 2012, this team has pioneered the integration of digital imagery and communications technology in the field of dentistry. Their cumulative experience makes it possible for the company to take the lead in introducing the benefits of telemedicine to the world of dentistry.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Charlatan Posing as Licensed Dentist Now Charged Under RICO Statute


You know, it takes all kinds to make up this crazy world and that includes unethical and dangerous buffoons.  

This story revolves around Krista Szewczyk and her husband John.  It seems that Krista was arrested twice within 2 weeks for posing as a dentist.  She performed dental procedures for years without ever having gone to dental school or been certified to practice.  She had a case brought against her in 2013 but since she was married to a deputy sheriff, she was allowed to enter a diversion program. However before even completing the diversion program, she was seeing patients again.

She is accused of (at a minimum) performing extractions, bonding orthodontic brackets, and performing fixed prosthodontic services.  Some of the charges she is currently accused of are:
• 40 counts of practicing dentistry without a license
• 3 counts of unlawful prescription
• 1 count of forgery in the first degree
• 4 counts of insurance fraud

Now the feds are involved and are prosecuting husband and wife using US Federal RICO Statutes.  Here is a bit from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

The woman accused of working as a dentist despite not having a license must now answer to additional charges, along with her husband. On Wednesday, a Paulding County grand jury indicted both Krista and John Szewczyk on charges related to their alleged illegal dental office.

It’s the second indictment in Paulding since August for Krista Szewczyk, who is also charged with practicing dentistry without a license in Cobb County. But it is the first time her husband, a former Paulding sheriff’s deputy, has been criminally charged in the case.
The Szewczyks, who live in Dallas, are accused of racketeering, practicing dentistry without a license, insurance fraud and writing an unlawful prescription in the 56-count indictment obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Neither Krista Szewczyk or John Szewczyk are licensed dentists but owned and operated a business that provided dental services,” the indictment states.
The pair is charged with two counts under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. RICO is often used by prosecutors to prove that a legal business was being used for illegal means. In the Szewczyk’s case, the dental office was a licensed business. But according to investigators, the two schemed to provide illegal dental services and then billed insurance companies fraudulently. 

If you would like to read AJC’s entire article follow this link.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Ultradent Brings You My Lecture: Day-to-Day Technology That Can Improve Your Practice


I *love* technology!  I mean I *really love technology*!!!  It’s a passion, a hobby, and sometimes my mistress.

I’m the kind of guy that when I see a problem the first part of my thought process is “how can this be done better, faster, with lower stress, and a better outcome?”  In both my personal AND professional life, I can usually find that solution by seeing what new ways there are to tackle that problem.  That’s how I became “The Technology Evangelist” and since the late 90’s I’ve been working to make the world, and especially my profession, better through the use of high tech.

I’m very grateful to the good people at Ultradent who sponsor me for some of my lectures.  My next stop on my 2019 Ultradent Tech Tour is San Francisco on June 14th.  The Early Bird registration time is about to expire, but you can still register by following this link.

At this event, held at the Westin St. Francis, I’ll be discussing a variety of topics such as lasers, digital caries detection, handheld drug databases, the science of curing, cone beam computed tomography, sensitivity free restorations, and many others.  I’ll also be discussing the Ultradent products I pick up every day and the reasons that I use them.  This is going to be a really fun lecture because it lets me cover a wide variety of things that I use every day.  I never do this lecture the same way twice because tech keeps changing.

If you are interested in taking your practice to the next level with minimal stress, come spend the day with me on June 14th.  I guarantee you’ll have a good time!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Oregon Passes Bill Allowing Dentists to Administer Vaccines


Here is some tremendous news that extends the scope of dental practice in the state of Oregon.  Hopefully this process extends across the rest of the states of the union in short order.  According to the ADA News, dentists in Oregon will soon be providing several different kinds of vaccines to patients.  These will include flu vaccines as well as HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccines.  

In most states that I know of, flu vaccines can be administered certified personnel in pharmacies and other type of “minute clinics”.  This would offer a tremendous opportunity to help immunize the general public.  Most people see their dentist 6 times more frequently than they see their medical doctor and this could help stem the tide of individuals missing these vaccinations.

Here’s the story from the ADA News:

Dentists in Oregon can soon provide vaccinations, including annual flu shots and the human papilloma virus vaccine, to patients.

The Oregon state legislature approved a bill that adds the prescription and administration of vaccines into a dentist’s scope of practice. House Bill 2220 received overwhelming bipartisan support and passed the Oregon Senate on April 25 and now awaits Gov. Kate Brown’s signature, according to the Oregon Dental Association.

“Dentists are highly trained medical practitioners who are well-positioned to provide this additional preventive care service,” said Dr. James McMahan, Oregon Dental Association president, in a news release. “Increasing our scope of practice to the administration of vaccines will help further integrate oral health with physical and behavioral health, ultimately better serving our patients.”

Under the bill, dentists providing vaccinations are required to take an additional continuing education training course and must meet current state mandated vaccine storage and reporting requirements. The Oregon Dental Association announced it will work with Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Board of Dentistry to create training programs for dentists who wish to provide vaccinations in their practice.

The bill, according to the ODA, would allow dentists to help Oregon reach state health goals that call for 70 percent of Oregon adults to regularly receive annual flu shots by 2020; increase the number of school-age children receiving vaccines; and, of particular interest to some dentists, administer the HPV vaccine to prevent oral and throat cancers.

The ADA in 2018 adopted a policy that urges dentists to support the use and administration of the HPV vaccine, recognizing it as a way to help prevent infection of the types of HPV associated with oropharyngeal cancer.

The Oregon bill passed the state House unanimously on March 28.

Monday, May 6, 2019

New Ransomware Variant Infects by "Self Installation"


Security continues to be more and more complicated to implement… and even more complicated to provide protection.  The latest security concern that has hit the news is a new form of Ransomeware.

In its previous designs, Ransomware was like a virus.  It required user interaction of some kind to install it.  Sometimes this was a phishing attack while other times it was an email attachment.  Either way, the end installer had to click on something which basically gave the script permission to run and that caused the infection.  

Now comes word of a new type of Ransomware that infects Cloud servers.  Basically the attackers can break into a Cloud server and install the Ransomware which then encrypts the server.  The next time the end user attempts to log into the Cloud server, they are greeted with the image at the top of this post.  Many of us are now incredibly reliant on Cloud based systems and this could very well have created havoc.  The other devastating part of this new attack is that the malware also tried to search for backups of the server and destroy them.  This is one reason that I am still using redundant backup drives that I store offsite.  It’s not the easiest solution, but those drives are just one more link in my backup chain.  For those of you relying *only on Cloud backups* I’d advise you to consider the possibilities of how you would handle being unable to retrieve your data.

While I haven’t heard of any impact from this attack, it does beg the question of dental cloud based systems and the potential effect this type of thing could have on them.  One of the best things about Cloud based dental or medical practice management systems is the stability and backup that those systems provide.  Obviously if you open your browser to your management system website and are greeted with a Ransomware graphic it’s going to be a bad day.  This is a situation that will keep Cloud service providers up at night.

It’s also worrisome to those who depend on those Cloud software services since something you depend on could potentially become infected and encrypted through no fault of your own.  This is (at least for now) a problem that is affecting servers in the Cloud and nowhere else.

Fortunately Oracle released an emergency patch quickly which closed the vulnerable part of the system.  Good for them for locking the door pretty quickly after the problem was discovered.

This is an interesting change of attack when it comes to  Ransomeware.  Whether this type of malware can ever cause problems on local servers and workstations is only a guess right now.  However, if you prepare for the emergency it ceases to be an emergency…  To that end, I’m encouraging all Cloud based systems to allow for a local backup to be kept in the office.  Since it now appears that the future may hold a scenario where not only the Cloud server is encrypted, but the Cloud backups are either encrypted as well OR deleted.  If ALL Cloud providers gave users an option to store a backup of their data in their office, losing the cloud server and backup is not catastrophic.  To the best of my knowledge, no Cloud dental company is offering that as an option, but it SHOULD be and it SHOULD be available quickly.  The time to close the corral is NOT after the horses are gone.

This entire scenario, even though it has not impacted dentistry, should be a wakeup call to the healthcare industry as a whole.  There is a storm brewing on the horizon and the time to prepare for it is NOW and not after disaster has struck.  Doctors in private practice need to realize this could happen to them and that when it does, the financial consequences will be dire.

This is one more reason to have a good local AND cloud backup utilizing a system such as DDS Rescue.  Being prepare is the best defense!  The good folks at DDS Rescue are providing a *FREE*  risk assessment analysis that will show your vulnerabilities.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

HHS Guidance Clarifies HIPAA Liability with use of 3rd-Party Health Apps

As our world becomes more digital and thus more connected, we are seeing ways to share data that have never existed before.  One of these changes is the “smartphone centric” society that has evolved in the wake of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lines.  We are now seeing a multitude of “health apps” that allow for smart phones and smart watches to track and report all kinds of information on personal health.  
In the wake of these apps and the information sharing ecosystem that has evolved around it, now we come to a point where providers are being asked to provide information to patients to use as they see fit on their own personal healthcare apps.  Of course, with security concerns being what they are, a lot of questions abound as these changes take place.  It is especially critical since healthcare providers are required to secure patient data in accordance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  The big question for providers has been about liability of the data security.  Basically it boils down to “if I share PHI (Protected Health Information) with a patient and then the security of the data is somehow compromised, am I (the provider) liable?"
Obviously this question has put providers in a Catch-22.  If they don’t share the data, they are denying patients access to their own information.  However, if they were liable for a data compromise why would they share the data?
To help clarify the situation, HHS (The Department of Health and Human Services) has released information designed to provide guidance for the liability involved with the use of 3rd party apps.
Here is the information, straight from the HHS website:

The HIPAA access right, health apps, & APIs



1. Q: Does a HIPAA covered entity that fulfills an individual's request to transmit electronic protected health information (ePHI) to an application or other software (collectively "app")1 bear liability under the HIPAA Privacy, Security, or Breach Notification Rules (HIPAA Rules) for the app's use or disclosure of the health information it received?


A: The answer depends on the relationship between the covered entity and the app. Once health information is received from a covered entity, at the individual's direction, by an app that is neither a covered entity nor a business associate under HIPAA, the information is no longer subject to the protections of the HIPAA Rules. If the individual's app – chosen by an individual to receive the individual's requested ePHI – was not provided by or on behalf of the covered entity (and, thus, does not create, receive, transmit, or maintain ePHI on its behalf), the covered entity would not be liable under the HIPAA Rules for any subsequent use or disclosure of the requested ePHI received by the app. For example, the covered entity would have no HIPAA responsibilities or liability if such an app that the individual designated to receive their ePHI later experiences a breach.


If, on the other hand, the app was developed for, or provided by or on behalf of the covered entity – and, thus, creates, receives, maintains, or transmits ePHI on behalf of the covered entity – the covered entity could be liable under the HIPAA Rules for a subsequent impermissible disclosure because of the business associate relationship between the covered entity and the app developer. For example, if the individual selects an app that the covered health care provider uses to provide services to individuals involving ePHI, the health care provider may be subject to liability under the HIPAA Rules if the app impermissibly discloses the ePHI received.


2. Q: What liability does a covered entity face if it fulfills an individual's request to send their ePHI using an unsecure method to an app?


A: Under the individual right of access, an individual may request a covered entity to direct their ePHI to a third-party app in an unsecure manner or through an unsecure channel. See 45 CFR 164.524(a)(1), (c)(2)(ii), (c)(3)(ii). For instance, an individual may request that their unencrypted ePHI be transmitted to an app as a matter of convenience. In such a circumstance, the covered entity would not be responsible for unauthorized access to the individual's ePHI while in transmission to the app. With respect to such apps, the covered entity may want to consider informing the individual of the potential risks involved the first time that the individual makes the request.


3. Q: Where an individual directs a covered entity to send ePHI to a designated app, does a covered entity's electronic health record (EHR) system developer bear HIPAA liability after completing the transmission of ePHI to the app on behalf of the covered entity?


A: The answer depends on the relationship, if any, between the covered entity, the EHR system developer, and the app chosen by the individual to receive the individual's ePHI. A business associate relationship exists if an entity creates, receives, maintains, or transmits ePHI on behalf of a covered entity (directly or through another business associate) to carry out the covered functions of the covered entity. A business associate relationship exists between an EHR system developer and a covered entity. If the EHR system developer does not own the app, or if it owns the app but does not provide the app to, through, or on behalf of, the covered entity – e.g., if it creates the app and makes it available in an app store as part of a different line of business (and not as part of its business associate relationship with any covered entity) – the EHR system developer would not be liable under the HIPAA Rules for any subsequent use or disclosure of the requested ePHI received by the app.


If the EHR system developer owns the app or has a business associate relationship with the app developer, and provides the app to, through, or on behalf of, the covered entity (directly or through another business associate), then the EHR system developer could potentially face HIPAA liability (as a business associate of a HIPAA covered entity) for any impermissible uses and disclosures of the health information received by the app. For example, if an EHR system developer contracts with the app developer to create the app on behalf of a covered entity and the individual later identifies that app to receive ePHI, then the EHR system developer could be subject to HIPAA liability if the app impermissibly uses or discloses the ePHI received.


4. Q: Can a covered entity refuse to disclose ePHI to an app chosen by an individual because of concerns about how the app will use or disclose the ePHI it receives?


A: No. The HIPAA Privacy Rule generally prohibits a covered entity from refusing to disclose ePHI to a third-party app designated by the individual if the ePHI is readily producible in the form and format used by the app. See 45 CFR 164.524(a)(1), (c)(2)(ii), (c)(3)(ii). The HIPAA Rules do not impose any restrictions on how an individual or the individual's designee, such as an app, may use the health information that has been disclosed pursuant to the individual's right of access. For instance, a covered entity is not permitted to deny an individual's right of access to their ePHI where the individual directs the information to a third-party app because the app will share the individual's ePHI for research or because the app does not encrypt the individual's data when at rest. In addition, as discussed in Question 1 above, the HIPAA Rules do not apply to entities that do not meet the definition of a HIPAA covered entity or business associate.


5. Q: Does HIPAA require a covered entity or its EHR system developer to enter into a business associate agreement with an app designated by the individual in order to transmit ePHI to the app?


A: It depends on the relationship between the app developer, and the covered entity and/or its EHR system developer. A business associate is a person or entity who creates, receives, maintains or transmits PHI on behalf of (or for the benefit of) a covered entity (directly or through another business associate) to carry out covered functions of the covered entity. An app's facilitation of access to the individual's ePHI at the individual's request alone does not create a business associate relationship. Such facilitation may include API terms of use agreed to by the third-party app (i.e., interoperability arrangements).


HIPAA does not require a covered entity or its business associate (e.g., EHR system developer) to enter into a business associate agreement with an app developer that does not create, receive, maintain, or transmit ePHI on behalf of or for the benefit of the covered entity (whether directly or through another business associate).


However if the app was developed to create, receive, maintain, or transmit ePHI on behalf of the covered entity, or was provided by or on behalf of the covered entity (directly or through its EHR system developer, acting as the covered entity's business associate), then a business associate agreement would be required.


More information about apps, business associates, and HIPAA is available at




1.↩ See also OCR FAQ 2039, "What is the liability of a covered entity in responding to an individual's access request to send the individual's PHI to a third party," available at

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hola! Spanish is Coming to Amazon Alexa Devices


Amazon has done an amazing job with their continuing evolution of the Alexa system.  More than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold and that number continues to climb.  I know in the Flucke household they are sprinkled around the domicile…  I even went so far as to hot wire an Echo Dot into my Tahoe a while back.

One of the great things about Alexa is the constant development from both Amazon and 3rd party developers who continue to create newer and better “Alexa Skills”.  On Monday, Amazon announced that Alexa will now be speaking Spanish before the end of the year.  

The announcement was made on the Amazon Alexa developer blog.  Here is part of the announcement:

We are excited to announce that developers can start building skills for Spanish-speaking customers in the US using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) with the new Spanish for US voice model. Skills that developers create now and are certified for publication will be available for participants in the Alexa Preview program, and to all customers when Alexa launches in the US with Spanish language support later this year. Commercial hardware manufacturers who want to develop Alexa Built-in products for Spanish-speaking customers in the US can request early access to the invite-only Alexa Voice Service (AVS) developer preview. Along with the Echo family of devices, later this year Bose, Facebook, and Sony will bring Alexa Built-in devices and Philips, TP Link, and Honeywell Home will bring Works with Alexa devices that support Spanish in the US.

We are pleased to announce that as of today it is possible to offer skills for Spanish-speaking Alexa clients in the United States using the Spanish voice model for the United States. From this moment, the skills that the developers believe and that are certified for the publication will be available for the participants in the Alexa Preview program and for all the clients when Alexa launches the Spanish support for its clients in the United States, later this year. . Commercial hardware manufacturers that want to develop products with integrated Alexa (Alexa Built-in) for Spanish-speaking customers in the United States, can request advance access to the preview for developers of the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), only by invitation. Later this year, along with the Echo family of devices, brands such as Bose, Facebook and Sony will bring the devices ' Alexa Built-in ' and Philips, TP Link and Honeywell Home will bring ' Works with Alexa ' devices that support Spanish in the United States .

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ultradent Announces Promotions


Ultradent Products, Inc., a global manufacturer and distributor of dental materials and equipment, is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new vice presidents to its executive team. Dr. Jaleena Jessop has been promoted to vice president of Clinical Affairs, and Karen Phillips has been promoted to vice president of Sales and Marketing. Both women bring a rich background and breadth of experience to their new roles and are proven, outstanding leaders in their fields of expertise.


Dr. Jaleena Jessop, Vice President of Clinical Affairs
Dr. Jaleena Jessop, a practicing dentist for over 17 years, has brought an impressive depth of understanding of dental products and procedures and an expert, critical eye and voice to Ultradent’s R&D, Marketing, Product Development and Regulatory departments in the last two years in her role as the Director of Clinical Affairs.
Additionally, Dr. Jessop has made valuable contributions to Ultradent for many years, playing an important role in the company’s New Product Evaluation Committee, as well as consulting on numerous product development and design projects. Dr. Jessop has also participated regularly for several years in the company’s upper management meetings, helping to establish the strategic direction of Ultradent and contributing her vast clinical acumen to many of the company’s decisions.
Dr. Jaleena Jessop began her undergraduate work at the University of Utah, studying medical biology prior to attending dental school. She then went on to graduate with honors in oral surgery from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 2002. She later completed a two-year certification for straight wire orthodontics from the American Orthodontic Society. Dr. Jessop has served for two years on the Utah Dental Association board, and has served for several years and continues to serve on the national advisory board at the University of Utah Dental School. She also currently works as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah Dental School. Dr. Jessop owns a private dental practice where she has worked for 17 years with an emphasis on esthetic and minimally invasive dentistry.


Furthermore, thanks to Dr. Jessop’s connections and talent for recognizing other outstanding clinicians, she has built the team of doctors that make up our Clinical Affairs team. “With Ultradent’s vision to improve oral health globally, as well as her commitment to go above and beyond in serving both the clinician and patient, it is completely appropriate that Dr. Jessop should represent our Clinical department at the highest level of the organization, which will enable her to offer solutions that are driven from her clinical insights for many years into the future,” said Dr. Dan Fischer, founder and CEO of Ultradent Products, Inc.


Karen Phillips, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Karen Phillips brings 19 years of dedicated, passionate experience and service at Ultradent to her new role as the company’s vice president of Sales and Marketing. Additionally, prior to coming to Ultradent, Karen worked for 24 years in the clinical side of dentistry with several years as Dr. Gordon Christensen’s course clinical coordinator and lead dental assistant.
Starting as a territory account manager at the company in 2000, Karen’s vast clinical knowledge, experience, and passion for product education and training led to her promotion to regional manager, and later, to her role at Ultradent’s corporate headquarters as the sales and product training manager. In this role, Karen created, defined, and structured Ultradent’s training program that it still uses today, known as “Ultradent University.”
Later, Karen’s promotion to U.S. Director of Sales resulted in consistent growth in sales during her six-year tenure, as well as the expansion of the company’s salesforce from 92 to 140 territory account managers.
In 2018, Karen became Ultradent’s Director of Field Marketing and Events, overseeing seminars, public relations, training, universities, the company’s key opinion leader program, trade shows, and technical product advisors.
In her new role as vice president of Sales and Marketing, Karen will continue to lead the Field Marketing team, while adding the eBusiness, Sales, Marketing, and Brand Management teams to her field of responsibility. “In addition to her vast business experience and 24 years of clinical experience, including having worked closely with Dr. Gordon Christensen, one of the most renowned dentists in the world, Karen’s professionalism, care, and work ethic has earned the respect of her peers throughout the organization. She will be an outstanding addition to our executive team for many years to come,” said Dr. Fischer, founder and CEO of Ultradent Products, Inc.

About Ultradent Products, Inc.

Ultradent Products, Inc., is a leading developer of high-tech dental materials, devices, and instruments worldwide. Ultradent’s mission is to improve the level of dental health care and to make dental procedures more predictable and hassle-free. Consistent with its mission, Ultradent works to improve the quality of life and health of individuals through financial and charitable programs. For more information about Ultradent, call 800.552.5512 or visit

Monday, April 29, 2019

3D Printing is About to Change Dentistry...


In dentistry, for years now we’ve been using CAD/CAM to create restorations via CEREC and E4D.  Those systems used digital capture of preps via acquisition devices that also doubled as design devices that communicated with mills.  The mill would  take a block of porcelain and then, using diamond drill bits and servo step motors, cut the porcelain into the required shape.  This process of milling is referred to as “subtractive manufacturing” because it takes a larger piece and reduces it down to the necessary smaller size.

In the world of 3D printing, we’re dealing with an ”additive manufacturing”  process because we’re starting with a blank slate and adding material together to create the necessary shape.  There are currently 2 ways to do this in the world of dentistry.  The first is referred to FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and is the one most people think of when hearing the term “3D Printing”.  FDM takes a filament of plastic (usually PDA or polylactic acid) , melts it, and then injects it onto the build platform via an extrusion nozzle.  This nozzle lays down thin layer upon thin layer and the process builds from the bottom up.  This process is handy for things that don’t require an incredible amount of accuracy such as a custom impression tray.

The second type is SLA (Stereolithography).  It uses a vat of a liquid resin which is specifically cured using a laser beam and incredibly accurate positioning mirrors to cure the liquid resin into the desired shape.  The very basic explanation is that it is similar to dental composites.  A plastic that is cured by a specific wavelength of light with incredibly accurate results.  The SLA systems are the principle ones being used in dentistry because of the ability to use a variety of light cured materials and also due to their accuracy.  The MoonRay SLA unit I am currently evaluating has accuracy settings of 100 microns, 50 microns, and 20 microns.  Obviously the amount of accuracy needed is determined by what is being printed.

The great news is that, in addition to their accuracy, these devices are incredibly affordable.  The highly accurate SLA type systems can be purchased for way less than $10K which makes them a great option for doing all kinds of things in the dental practice.

I’m currently working with both types of printers, but my evaluations are just starting.  Expect much more on 3D printing as I get much further into the processes and much further down the 3D rabbit hole...

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dentsply Sirona sells Futuredontics to Congdon Street LLC


The divestment of Futuredontics is part of Dentsply Sirona’s plan to focus on the core business and deliver innovation.

“We are very happy that Congdon Street LLC will take over the ownership of Futuredontics. Fred Joyal is well-known and appreciated within the company and the industry and has strongly contributed to the success of the company in the past,” comments Walter Petersohn, Chief Commercial Officer at Dentsply Sirona. “We are convinced that with Congdon Street LLC as new owner of the company, Futuredontics will continue its success story. We look forward to continue working with Fred Joyal and the Futuredontics team.”

“We are extremely pleased that this transaction creates an opportunity from which both sides will benefit,” says Fred Joyal, of Congdon Street LLC and former CEO and Co-Founder of Futuredontics. “Futuredontics will remain an important partner of Dentsply Sirona while, at the same time, we will be able to focus even stronger on our own specific customer base and further develop our company as an independent business. The Futuredontics team and I are eager to serve our customers in new and exciting ways.”

The parties have agreed not to disclose financial terms of the transaction.

Founded in 1986 in the U.S., Futuredontics is the parent company of 1-800-DENTIST, the premier consumer brand in dental marketing, as well as a new online consumer destination for dentistry (, and a sophisticated patient communications software product (PatientActivator). Futuredontics optimizes the dental patient lifecycle by coupling world-class marketing and office support services with unparalleled service. The company is based in Los Angeles and has 150 employees. Fred Joyal co-founded 1-800-DENTIST in 1986 and is a renowned industry expert and veteran.

Congdon Street LLC is an investment company focused on the health care industry.


Dentsply Sirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, with over a century of innovation and service to the dental industry and patients worldwide. Dentsply Sirona develops, manufactures, and markets a comprehensive solutions offering including dental and oral health products as well as other consumable medical devices under a strong portfolio of world class brands. As The Dental Solutions Company™, Dentsply Sirona’s products provide innovative, high-quality and effective solutions to advance patient care and deliver better, safer and faster dental care. Dentsply Sirona’s global headquarters is located in York, Pennsylvania, and the international headquarters is based in Salzburg, Austria. The company’s shares are listed in the United States on NASDAQ under the symbol XRAY

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Cercon® xt ML Now Available Exclusively Through Dentsply Sirona


Layers ahead of the rest, Cercon xt ML features a perfect lifelike gradient, guaranteed color accuracy, and simplified workflow

Dentsply Sirona is proud to announce the immediate availability of an exciting new material to the dental lab community, Cercon® xt Multilayer, or for short: Cercon® xt ML. The brand new Cercon xt ML provides life-like esthetics, reliable color accuracy and faster production processing.
Cercon xt ML is an extra-translucent zirconia that provides excellent esthetics, even in monolithic restorations. This is due to the material’s unique multilayer zirconia composition, which includes two transition layers in-between an incisal layer and dentin layer. The layers create an ideal shade gradient for the restoration, resulting in a perfect natural look after sintering, with no veneering or additional characterization required.

In addition to the material’s lifelike shade gradient that mimics the dynamic vibrancy of natural teeth, Cercon xt ML also features True Color Technology that precisely matches all 16 colors of the classic VITA* shade guide including one bleach shade (BL2). In addition, every shade has its own incisal shade to further replicate the esthetics of natural teeth. This unprecedented level of shade accuracy eliminates extra correction steps and reduces remakes.

The material offers 750 MPa flexural strength, and is indicated for all-ceramic anterior 
and posterior restorations including crowns and 3-unit bridges up to the second premolar. Cercon xt ML enhances the lab’s productivity, as it uses the same sintering program as all other Cercon materials (eg, Cercon® xt and Cercon® ht shaded), enabling more work throughput in the same amount of time.
Purchasing Cercon xt ML directly from Dentsply Sirona will greatly benefit new and existing customers, as Cercon xt ML will use the same buy/get free disc bundles for Cercon xt and Cercon ht that were launched in mid-March of this year. These exciting new bundles let laboratories pick and choose the discs that they need based on their laboratory’s demand.

For more information on how to take advantage of the many benefits of purchasing directly through Dentsply Sirona as well as a list of all current Cercon family pricing and bundles, please contact your Dentsply Sirona sales representative or call 800-243-1942.

*VITA is a registered trademark of VITA Zahnfabrik H. Rauter GmbH & Co. KG

About Dentsply Sirona

Dentsply Sirona is the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, with over a century of innovation and service to the dental industry and patients worldwide. Dentsply Sirona develops, manufactures, and markets a comprehensive solutions offering including dental and oral health products as well as other consumable medical devices under a strong portfolio of world class brands. As The Dental Solutions Company™, Dentsply Sirona’s products provide innovative, high-quality and effective solutions to advance patient care and deliver better, safer and faster dental care. Dentsply Sirona’s global headquarters is located in York, Pennsylvania, and the international headquarters is based in Salzburg, Austria. The company’s shares are listed in the United States on NASDAQ under the symbol XRAY.

Visit for more information about Dentsply Sirona and its products.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Blue Cross of Idaho Alerts Patients of Data Breach in Payment Fraud Hack


 Here is a new twist in healthcare data breach security.  

Patient PHI (Protected Health Information) is incredibly valuable to criminals because it almost always contains all the information necessary to successfully complete identity theft.  There aren’t a lot of places on the Internet where nefarious parties can find that much data all in one place and that is why there is such an effort, both by the feds and the industry, to keep that data secure.  A patient record can easily contain, name, address, phone, SSN, DL number, DOB, and lots of other information.  All of that information on massive amounts of individuals is valuable to those wanting to commit identity theft OR to sell the data to those who do.  The last I heard, a clean credit card number was worth about $.50 while a health record was worth about $15.  And that is why we see such an effort by cyber criminals to break into databases and make off with this information.

However, the Idaho Blue Cross hack is a twist on cyber theft.  Rather than simply breaking in and stealing patient data, in this case the thieves attempted to intercept payments and have them rerouted to the thieves bank accounts.  Normally providers (doctors, hospitals, etc) would submit electronic claims for payment and Blue Cross would send the funds electronically to the providers bank accounts.  This is routine and happens in healthcare every day.

 In this case, the hackers broke into the website and attempted to reroute payments that were supposed to be routed to providers, but instead were to be routed to the criminal’s accounts.  While it’s terribly illegal, one has to admire the crooks ingenuity.

Fortunately, the security team at Blue Cross of Idaho managed to catch the hack the same day that it was perpetrated.  This allowed them to shut off the hacker’s access and prevent further damage and theft.  I salute those professionals for an incredible job well done!  

The bad news for Blue Cross of Idaho was that in addition to the hackers gaining access to portions of the system, they also inadvertently managed to gain access to some PHI in the process.  This means that about 1% of the company’s insured customer base.

The FBI was immediately informed of the breach and an investigation into the hack was commenced immediately.  Insured customers will receive now ID cards & new membership numbers as soon as possible.  They are also being given 3 years of ID theft restoration as well as 3 years of free credit monitoring services.  The access to the PHI seems to be not what the crooks were after, but happened none the less.  At this point it has not been determined how the hackers got into the system, but hats off to the security pros who noticed something was amiss and shut it down fast.

As always, let this be a lesson to anyone in the field.  Our data is valuable and you cannot leave security to inexperienced people.  Data security MUST be handled by well trained professionals and cannot be taken for granted.  The healthcare system is a favorite target for hackers and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Weave is Bringing VOIP to My Office

As technology has permeated every aspect of our lives and businesses, things have changed greatly.  However, many businesses and especially dental practices, have not done much to change their office phone systems.  The majority of offices are still using what is called POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) and until now, I’ve been right there with you.  In healthcare the phone is the lifeblood and lifeline to your business and it *must* be reliable.  We need the phone connection to always be there and to be a solid connection with no cracks, pops, or cutting out.  
For some time now, perhaps a decade or more, we’ve been hearing about the advantages of the next generation of landline service called VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).  VOIP is pretty amazing because it transmits the phone call as digital data and not just electrical impulses down a copper wire.  This means that VOIP can also carry data, such as built-in Caller ID, and potentially cleaner sound because the data is digital and transmitted as packets.
Why is it such a big deal?  In a nutshell, it’s because the digital data can interface with data in your dental practice and bring an incredible amount of information to the administrative team who handles your phone calls.  This means that a phone call to my office will have the caller identified and then all of the needed data from the practice is provided.  When the phone rings a window on the PC will give the admin team the name and other demographic information including such things as needed appointments, last recare, children in need of appointments, etc.
There is no more “have you seen the doctor before?”  If the patient has an electronic record all of the needed data is right in front of the team member.  
VOIP has needed to prove itself, and now I feel the time has come.  Previously call quality was less than optimal and sometimes high call volumes could knock providers offline.  I’ve followed this technology for some time now and after careful consideration, I have determined that VOIP is ready for prime time in my office.
I’ll be reporting back as we bring Weave online soon and will report back on the process, but now that I’ve made the decision, I can’t wait to implement!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Academy of Laser Dentistry Installs New President & Officers During Annual Meeting in Dallas


Mel Burchman, DDS to Preside as ALD President from May 2019- May 2020

The Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) the only independent and unbiased non-profit association dedicated to improving patient care with the proper use of laser technology, recently installed its new president and officers for 2019-2020. The announcement was made during the ALD’s recent 26th annual meeting in Dallas.

Mel Burchman, DDS, President: Dr. Burchman has maintained a private dental practice in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, for 38 years. He has been using lasers for more than 18 years and has 8 lasers in his office. He has served on the Board of Directors for one 3-year term, and in numerous chairmanship positions including 2019 Conference Chair for the Annual Meeting, and as Certification Committee Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Dr. Burchman has volunteered as a mentor and examiner for more than 15 years. In 2012, he was the honored recipient of the ALD Leon Goldman Award for Clinical Excellence. Dr. Burchman also holds ALD Mastership status.

Ed Kusek, DDS, President-Elect: Dr. Kusek graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry in 1984. He has served as ALD Communications Chair and Testing subcommittee Chair. He holds the titles of Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry, Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, Mastership in Academy of General Dentistry and Academy of Laser Dentistry, and Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Dr. Kusek is in private general practice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Arun Darbar, BDS, DGDP (UK), Treasurer: Dr. Darbar is at the forefront of laser dentistry in the United Kingdom and lectures on the subject worldwide. He has been a clinical laser user for nearly 25 years and provides cutting-edge dentistry to his patients. Dr. Darbar is an accredited member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Credentialing Committee. He holds ALD Mastership and Educator status and has served as co-chair of Education and Certification, and International Relations Committees. He is a published author, and some of his concepts in low-level laser therapy (LLLT) data have been published as proceedings of SPIE in 2006, 2007, and 2009/10; WALT 2008 South Africa and 2012 Australia; and in UK dental publications. Dr. Darbar is the first and only laser dentist in the UK to be invited to the House of Lords for a charity fundraiser organized by Lasers for Life. Dr. Darbar maintains a private dental practice in Leighton Buzzard, UK.

Samuel B. Low, DDS, MS, M.Ed., Secretary: Dr. Low is Professor Emeritus, University of Florida College of Dentistry, and Associate faculty member of the Pankey Institute with 30 years of private practice experience in periodontics and implant placement and 12 years with laser management of the periodontal patient. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and past President of the American Academy of Periodontology. Dr. Low provides dentists and dental hygienists with the tools for successfully managing the periodontal patient in general and periodontal practices and is affiliated with the Florida Probe Corporation. He was selected “Dentist of the Year” by the Florida Dental Association, Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Texas Dental School, and recipient of the Gordon Christensen Lecturer Recognition Award. He is a Past President of the Florida Dental Association and past Trustee of the American Dental Association.

Raminta Mastis, DDS, Immediate Past President: Dr. Mastis graduated from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in 1987. She maintains a private dental practice, Michigan Cosmetic and Laser Dentistry, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Raminta previously served in each Officer role as ALD President 2018, President-Elect 2017, Vice President 2016, Treasurer 2015 and Secretary in 2014. Prior to her service as an Officer, Dr. Mastis served as Co-Chair of Certification and Education Committees, Chair of Laser Safety and Communications Committees, and was the 2014 General & Scientific Sessions Chair of the Annual Meeting. Dr. Mastis has been using lasers since 2000 and has 18 lasers of various wavelengths in her practice. She holds ALD Standard Proficiency certifications in Er:YAG, diode, Er,Cr:YSGG, and CO2 laser wavelengths, and has achieved ALD Advanced Proficiency in the Er:YAG wavelength. In addition to laser dentistry, her practice is focused on implant surgery and restoration, laser dentistry, esthetic and cosmetic dentistry, and integration of advanced technologies into practice. Dr. Mastis also holds ALD Mastership status.

Gail S. Siminovsky, CAE, Executive Director: Ms. Siminovsky is a leadership professional and has served as executive director of the Academy of Laser Dentistry since 1999. She raises awareness of the role of lasers as beneficial tools that dentists and hygienists have for treating dental disease. Gail serves the ALD Board as an advisor and is a member of ALD’s 22 committees. She earned and maintains the credential Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and served on ASAE’s Small Staff Advisory Committee. Gail graduated from the State University of New York in Binghamton, serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE), and is a member of the American Dental Association’s Committee on Dental Meetings and National Coalition of General Dental Organizations (NCGDO). Gail has a passion for helping dentists revitalize the way they interact with patients by providing new and improved solutions for dental care. She speaks on governance and board leadership, building strategic alliances, and the importance of associations being knowledge brokers.

Note: These newly-installed ALD officers will serve a term that concludes with the installation of a new slate of officers during ALD 2020 in San Diego, that will take place from April 4-6th, 2020.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Isolite 3 Evaluation Currently in Progress

Starting a few days ago, we began evaluating the Zyris Isolite 3 system in the office.
For those of you who may not be completely knowledgable about the system, the Isolite 3 is a retraction, vacuum, and illumination device.  It provides a bite block, tongue, and cheek retraction in a disposable mouthpiece.  The system is connected to the office vacuum pump.  The mouthpiece has several holes that provide incredible removal of water and saliva leaving a dry well isolated field in which to work.  The non-disposable part of the system has 2 high intensity LEDs.  One of the LEDs is bright white from illumination of the field while the other is orange and works as illumination while performing procedures with light sensitive materials such as composites.  It allows the field to be brightly defined without worry of premature photo polymerization.
The concept of the device is a good one.  It has been around for several years and each generation seems to build on the success of the previous one.  I intend to put it through clinical testing here in a variety of situations and then report back on progress.  I can definitely say that it is working quite well, but that is only from a limited number of cases.  Definitely stay tuned for more information on this one...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

OmniCore from Henry Schein the All-In-One IT Solution for Dental Offices

Keeping your hardware up to date and functioning properly can be difficult.  The IT piece of the healthcare business requires a high degree of diligence and monitoring.  Not only to keep you office running efficiently, but also to avoid things like malware, ransomware, and potential data breaches.  Hospitals and large medical clinics have dedicated IT teams that keep things up to date and running smoothly, but dental offices do not have that luxury.
To help with this situation, Henry Schein has developed a solution they are calling “OmniCore”.  I was given a sneak peek at the technology in August of last year, and I was impressed.  Now that it is available to the market, I think it’s important that all of you know about it.
Here is what the folks at Schein have to say about it:
Your OmniCore computer network comes complete with a virtualized server, network-attached storage (NAS), a business-grade wireless access point and firewall and hybrid data backup, all contained in a sleek, mobile, low-profile rack that can easily be rolled into an office. With OmniCore, TechCentral will provide, monitor and maintain your network for a low, regular monthly cost that’s easy to budget in, so you don’t have to give the IT that runs your practice a second thought.
TechCentral now has an innovative proposition to simplify and streamline IT: OmniCore, a hardware as a service offering. OmniCore is an all-in-one “dental office network in a box.” The network hardware and services are all supplied, maintained, monitored and cared for by TechCentral, for a low monthly subscription cost.

With OmniCore, practices don’t have to worry anymore about which à la carte equipment and services they need, what to do when their network isn’t working, when to replace or update components or how to budget for IT surprises. OmniCore is a set-and-forget solution that enables dentists to get back to focusing on the wonderful care they give their patients, while TechCentral keeps an eye on their network with remote monitoring, proactively resolving any issues that may arise.

OmniCore comes with high-quality, business-grade equipment, with the services and support that practices need for a comfortable IT experience. It’s optimized to work with other TechCentral and Henry Schein One solutions but can integrate with other third-party hardware as well as most practice management software solutions.
Basically the OmniCore system does everything to run your network.  In the most basic terms, you install it in your server closet, plug your network connections into it, and you are good to go.  The system runs a server, backup, antivirus, and more.  The system is monitored by Henry Schein remotely so they can perform updates when needed and also make sure everything is running exactly as it should.  IF there is a problem, they are on it.  No need to call in your own IT people.
Dental IT is tough.  Hiring companies that do not necessarily understand all the nuances of dentistry and HIPAA can make things difficult.  I’ve always been a fan of dental specific IT for your mission critical systems and all of the things covered by OmniCore are definitely mission critical.
Also, when the system ages and needs to be updated, they simply send a new unit.  An all in one solution for a simple monthly fee makes this a system that offers a lot to the profession.  I love technology and am a diehard “gear head” but even as much as I love tinkering with technology, I don’t have the time to guard and configure my systems.  That’s a difficult task to perform when you already have a full time job taking care of your patients and running your business.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The MoonRay S High Resolution DLP 3D Printer from SprintRay Will be Going Through Clinical Testing Soon

Shhhhhhh… do you hear that?  That noise you hear is the sound of an approaching change in technology in dentistry.

Digital 3D printing is coming to dentistry and it is coming in a big way.  In the past 2-3 years we’ve seen its arrival in a lot of different ways and it is only getting better.

3D printing can be used for models, occlusal guards, surgical guides, stents, even dentures.  You can even print in materials that can be used in a burnout oven to perform similar to the lost wax technique, which “sort of” allows for digital printers to be involved in the fabrication of permanent prostheses.  However, no one yet has come cup with a material that can print a permanent restoration… not yet anyway.

The technology promises a lot for our profession and not in some faraway future, but right now.  There are several companies that have entered the dental space and are looking to gain market share with reliable, accurate, and easy to use hardware.  One of those companies is SprintRay.
This week I’m going to be installing and then I’ll be using their MoonRay 3D printer.  The device is incredibly accurate in its printing due to the fact that the light curing unit is a UV DLP projector named RayOne.  It virtually eliminates distortion that is a problem with regular DLP and laser SLA 3D printing.  There is an array of tiny mirrors that reflect the light and cure with uniform precision.  If you don’t have the best quality DLP projector, you don’t get a good quality 3D rendering.
Here are some specs:

  • 100 Microns XY Resolution (Pixel Density)
  • 1280 by 800 Pixels
  • Glass + Polycarbonate Lens Construction
  • Texas Instruments DLP Chip
  • 405nm Blue-Violet Light
  • LED-based Light Source
  • 50,000 Hours Expected Lifetime
  • Machined Aluminum Structure
  • Build area: 13 x 8 x 20 cm
  • Layer Thickness Options: 20 x 50 x 100 Microns
  • Minimum Feature Size: 100 Microns
  • Print Speed: 1 in/hour at 100 Micron z height
  • Wireless: LAN or Ad-Hoc WiFi b/g/n
  • Wired Connectivity: LAN via Ethernet
  • Unit Size: 38 x 38 x 50 Cm
  • Unit Weight: 14 kg
I’m excited to begin integrating this system into our clinical workflow including our CBCT 3D x-ray unit, digital impression acquisition unit, and now the MoonRay 3D printer.

I’ll be putting the device through some testing in the office and have it work on a variety of projects for me.  I’m planning on his evaluation taking a while, but rest assured that I’ll be back with some thoughts and opinions after I’ve taken adequate time to experiment and test.  The MoonRay is available from SprintRay.