Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How to Ensure the Entire Team is On Board with Technology


As most of you know, I’m a hard core tech lover.  That’s why this blog and my column in Dental Products Report and called “Technology Evangelist”.  Both of these platforms give me a chance to spread the word about all things tech and to get this information into the hands of those who need it the most… my peers.

I recently put together an article on getting the team involved with your technology.  Dentistry is a team effort in *every* sense of the word.  It is important to have everyone pulling in the same direction to make predictable and sustainable progress.  You want to have every member of your staff, including yourself, on the right page.  Here are some words of advice:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Keeping current with technology is like trying to walk up the "down" escalator. If you aren't making a concerted effort to keep moving, you'll be headed in the wrong direction simply by standing still.
Now, I’m not advocating that you have to constantly be adding or changing things on a weekly basis, but I do feel that working to improve your practice is something that all of us should make a concerted effort towards.
How can you accomplish that goal with minimal stress and headaches? Here are some suggestions that will help make the process a little easier and hopefully a little less stressful as well.

Make a list and check it twice
It turns out that jolly old Saint Nick was onto something with that list thing. People that study human habits and behavior have said time and again that people who write down their goals are much more likely to accomplish them. It’s no different for those of us who are running a dental practice.
Take a few minutes after you’re done for the day and decompress a bit. Once you’ve had a chance to relax, think about things you would like to upgrade or improve in the practice. The change (or changes) you envision could be major. Perhaps it is finally computerizing your operatories and bringing digital radiography to the practice. Or, it could be something relatively minor such as deciding to use your (already purchased) intraoral cameras more frequently. There might be several things you’ve wanted to change or bring into the practice over the years and now you’ve finally decided to do it.

The important part of this is getting started. The old adage “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” definitely applies here. Take a look at your equipment, your systems and most importantly, your goals. Decide where you want to go because, just like taking a physical journey, if you don’t know where you want to go, it will be difficult to know how to get there… or know when you’ve arrived.

To read the entire article, follow this link to Dental Products Report.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Maybe We Just Shouldn't Be So Lazy

Here's *another* scam alert that I felt obligated to pass along.  I came across an article recently that made me shake my head.  It turns out that many consumers have become dependent on Voice Assistants to help call business.
It’s becoming more and more common for consumers to, say notice a leaky faucet and say, “Alexa (or Google or Siri), call a plumber.”  The assistant then places the call and the homeowner schedules the needed service.
Unfortunately scammers are gaming this system.  By paying for high ranking ads in search engines, businesses that exist only to bill you or rip you off are appearing high in the rankings and are the first numbers our assistants call.  It seems that digital assistants are not nearly as good at recognizing potential scams are real humans are.  Thus they place the call and the consumer gets billed for things not done or talked into “upgrades” etc.
As a techie type, I was a bit surprised by this because I always do a bit of research before calling a business and I don’t use any of my personal assistants to do so.  This is just one more reason to stay vigilant of digital scams!
For an in-depth look at this, read the article at Forbes.  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts Warns Professionals to Beware of Phone Scam


As a practitioner licensed in the state of Missouri, I received the following communication from the Missouri Dental Association.  If this type of scam is happening here, chances are it is happening elsewhere and I thought it would be a good idea to share this as a blog post.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  My office has been the subject of at least 2 scams lately which we did not fall for simply because we try and be aware of these types of things and try to act accordingly.  However, the scammers figure if they flood enough of the potential targets, they will eventually be successful.  Remember to always check these types of things carefully.  Often times scammers count on a “surprise attack” that catches the subject off guard and they act *before* they think logically about it.  That’s how the scammers get away with these types of things.

This message was received by the MDA and is being sent as a courtesy to alert members.
Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts Warns Professionals to Beware of Phone ScamJefferson City, MO - The Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts (Missouri Board) has received several reports of phone scammers using the Missouri Board’s office phone number to make scam calls to licensed professionals.

The Missouri Board says licensed professionals are reporting the scam involves a telephone call during which the phone scammer identifies themselves as being from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and is working with the “State Medical Board,” which is not the official name of the Missouri Board responsible for licensure. The phone scammer requests identifying information from the licensed professional, such as: license numbers, DEA numbers, or other personal identifying information. The phone scammers have also threatened that if the Licensee does not comply with the demand for information, the Board will take action against their license. Please understand the Missouri Board typically sends written correspondence to their Licensees prior to any personal contact.

Licensees are advised not to share any identifying information on the phone. They are encouraged to report calls they receive and believe to be a scam by calling the Board office at 573-751-0106 or by email at legal@pr.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Average Number of Patients Treated Per Day Drops Below 10 For First Time According to 2019 Dental Industry Association of Canada Survey


Here is some interesting data that I received from the Dental Industry Association of Canada.  Healthcare, like any other business, is susceptible to the laws of supply and demand.  We have seen similar situations happen here in the U.S.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several dental schools closed or began to greatly decrease class sizes.  This trend continued until the early 2000s when the provider to population ratio began to shift.  At that time existing schools began to ramp back up class sizes while several new dental schools began to come online.  Please read on for some interesting info from my Canadian friends...

The Average Patients Treated Per Day by Canadian dental practitioners continues to decline, according to results from the DIAC (Dental Industry Association of Canada)
Twenty-Third Annual Future of Dentistry Survey. In 2019, it appears the trend towards treating fewer
patients per day has accelerated with 97% of respondents stating they treated less than 15 patients a day (as opposed to 89% in 2018, 83% in 2017 and an average of 78.6% over the last five years). Most
striking, the average number treated per day dropped below 10 for the first time! Dentists treated 9.8
patients in an average day compared to the average of 12.4 patients over the last ten years.

This trend is not surprising given the published statistics from 1997 to 2014/15 on the decline in average population per dentist ratios across Canada widely available from a variety of sources including Statistica and the CDA3. The CDA’s Dentist Supply in Canada2 sums it up as “Current workforce data suggest that there is an oversupply of dentists throughout most regions of Canada, and the current supply of dentist will continue to significantly outpace the population growth. Population to dentist ratios have been decreasing in all parts of the country over the last decade, and in some provinces more than others. What this means is that there are growing numbers of dentists entering practice, while the growth of the population is not keeping pace with this increase in dentists.”

Certainly there are variations on a more regional basis. The CDA continued on to state that “In 2014, the population to dentist ratio across Canada was 1653, however there is a wide variation across the
provinces, from a low of 1493 in British Columbia to a high of 2759 in Newfoundland/ Labrador. There are variations in the distribution of the dental workforce across Canada, not only by jurisdiction but also by rural and urban regions, whereas the density of dentists in urban areas is now roughly three times that in rural areas”.

These findings are only part of the continuing fundamental shift in the make-up of the Canadian dental practice detected in previous Future of Dentistry surveys. All of the following points may reflect on the impact of the current economic situation on the creation of dental practices in Canada.

  There are now more dentists per practice as compared to ten year averages. Trend towards
increasing numbers of dentists in the practice continues, with 34% of practices identifying
themselves as sole practitioners (compared to 36% in 2018).

  70% of practices now have four or more operatories (22% have five or more)

  24% were planning on adding at least one more operatory in the next two years.

  The Number of Chairside Days continues to increase: One-third of respondents in 2019 (35%)
spent 200-249 days chairside, comparable with the average 30% from 2010-2018.
 The number of hygiene days per practice is increasing overall (with more days being added by
those who only had one or two per week previously)

 This year’s results show a continuing trend towards slightly longer times to set up practices, with
20% of respondents setting up their practices in the first year in 2019 (down from 22%, in 2018,
26% in 2017, 29% in 2015, 32 % in 2013 and a high of 44% in 2010).

 However, they are not waiting much longer as 60% of 2019 respondents had set up in 2-5 years
(up from an average of 50% over the previous 8 surveys) and a corresponding drop in the 10 Years
or more result to 8%.

A total of 454 practicing Canadian dentists responded to this year’s survey with a good proportional
distribution across all regions of the country. Based on this response rate, overall 2019 survey results have an accuracy of +/- 4.6% 19 times out of 20.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

MouthWatch Opens Nominations for the Second Annual Teledentistry Innovation Awards


The “Tellies” Recognize the Innovators and Pioneers
of Connected and Collaborative Dental Care

Metuchen, NJ – August 13, 2019 – MouthWatch, LLC a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices, is opening nominations for the second annual Teledentistry Innovation Awards. As is the previous year, the “Tellie Awards” will focus on the following:

• Emphasizing the full potential of clinician-driven teledentistry by highlighting successful implementations across a broad spectrum of dental care environments; including public health, private practice and interdisciplinary settings.
• Recognizing individual, forward-thinking dental providers and programs who are realizing the full potential of teledentistry, reshaping the practice of dentistry and the improving the state of oral health world-wide.

According to MouthWatch CEO and Founder, Brant Herman, “We started the Teledentistry Innovation Awards last year with the goal of recognizing the teledentistry pioneers who are proving by example that teledentistry technology has virtually has no limits when it comes to how it’s applied. Our first annual “Tellie Awards” created a lot of awareness and was a huge success. The 2019 “Tellies” will be even bigger and better!”

The Teledentistry Innovation Awards will be presented to winners in the following categories:
• Dentist & Specialists
• Revenue Generation
• Interdisciplinary Collaboration
• Enhanced Referrals
• Dental Hygiene Production
• Remote Hygiene Services
• Pop-Up Hygiene Clinics
• Innovative Practice Models
• Dental Programs
• Senior Care
• Screening Programs
• Group Practice Growth Management
• Medical-Dental Integration

Nominations are currently being accepted online at http://teledentistryinnovationawards.com/ and self-nominations are welcome. Winners will be announced during the 2019 Greater New York Meeting with an invitation-only awards ceremony taking place in a yet to be disclosed NYC venue.
Last year’s “Tellies” were awarded to the following teledentistry innovators: Liz Best, Grants Administrator for the NYU College of Dentistry; Brittany Kinol, DMD, Owner of Miracle Dental Associates and Staci Stout, RDH, BSDH, owner of Smart Smiles.

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. For more information, visit www.MouthWatch.com .

Monday, August 12, 2019

Boost Your Security with a VPN


With the near universal Wifi coverage we are all enjoying, it’s important to remember that security is always an important issue.

Whether on a phone, tablet, or laptop an open and unsecured wireless connection can be easily scanned and manipulated by criminals.  For instance, if you are sitting in the local coffee shop and checking your email.  Your email program will send your username and password to the email server.  This is how the email server identifies you.  It then creates the connection and your email downloads to your device.

However, if the connection is not encrypted it is really easy to run a program on the same Wifi connection that will grab your username and password as it is transmitted through the air.  Once the criminal has that information, they can then use it to log into your email account.  The same goes for anything you’d like to keep secure.  Office info, banking info, credit cards, you name it can all be stolen while you are sipping your latte.

Most of us at home and at work use Wifi that requires a password.  That is what keeps your information safe.  However, open Wifi networks offer no security at all.  Unfortunately not many honest people realize this while lots of dishonest people do...

So how do you combat this?  By utilizing a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  It’s an app that you install on your device that encrypts your Wifi transmissions and makes them safe from criminals.  There are many VPNs readily available.  The one I happen to be using right now is called FreeDome VPN and it’s from a company called F-Secure.  You can read about it and purchase it here.

F-Secure is an incredible company that makes terrific security products.  If you’d prefer to pick your own, just go to Google and search the term VPN.  You’ll see more results than you’ll know what to do with.  The important thing here is to simply purchase one and use it.  Having your info stolen is a huge risk and it is one you do NOT want to take.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Dental Products Report® Debuts Redesign with August 2019 Issue


Dental Products Report®, a multimedia platform of articles and technique guides on the latest advances in equipment, materials, supplies and services in the dental industry, has unveiled its redesign that launches with the August 2019 issue.
“Our goal is to create a better resource to help our readers discover dental innovations, adopt products that best fit practices and succeed clinically and as a business,” said Michael J. Hennessy Jr., president of MJH Life Sciences. “In addition to a fresh and modern presentation, we have upgraded our content, expertise panel and databases.”
The redesign includes a return to using the full name of the publication, putting the focus squarely on dental products at the heart of the content Dental Products Report® publishes in print and online. The new cover style is built around engaging graphics, and this more visual style continues throughout the publication with larger clinical images and more accessible clinical takeaways. The print edition is now perfect bound to make the magazine more easily accessible as a lasting resource for clinical information.
With future issues, the publication will continue to evolve and improve the editorial content of the magazine by launching new content partnerships, debuting new editorial formats and broadening the editorial board to feature even more key opinion leaders and experts with vast industry knowledge. Dental Products Report® is connecting with dentists on a more personal level by serving relevant content designed to help them succeed in both the practice and in business of dentistry.
“The mission of Dental Products Report® remains unchanged—to provide dental professionals with the in-depth, actionable information about the tools, technologies, techniques, and innovations driving advancements in patient care and practice management,” said Noah Levine, Editorial Director of Dental Products Report®. “These improvements are all aimed at helping us connect our audience with the information they need to select the best products for their practices and their patients.”
To celebrate the redesign and the new, sleek, contemporary look to the website and magazine, Dental Products Report® is hosting a cocktail reception at the upcoming annual ADA Conference in San Francisco in September.
For additional information, please visit http://www.dentalproductsreport.com/.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Nobio gets FDA Approval for Anti-Bacterial Dental Fillings


Here’s some incredible news that stands a really good chance to change dentistry as we currently know it.  An Israeli company, Nobio, has been working quietly on a game changing product.

Nobio created a chemical that basically prevents decay from starting around fillings.  The end result is a composite (white filling material) that contains this chemical.

Most fillings have a lifetime of around 10 years and the main reason for their replacement is the simple fact that decay begins around the edges of the material at the “filling-tooth interface”.  While this isn’t the only reason that necessitates replacement, its definitely one of the main causes.  While many people feel that dentistry should last “forever” it’s important to remember that the “real tooth” suffered breakdown from decay and, in reality, we cannot expect something man made to do any better than what nature started with.

With the ability to prevent or significantly slow recurrent decay around fillings, Nobio could very well extend the life of every filling placed.  Obviously the *need* for fillings won’t decrease as natural teeth will continue to suffer fractures and decay, but the replacement of existing fillings could decrease dramatically if the material fulfills its promise.

Over the last year I’ve had a chance to meet with the Nobio team and learn quite a bit about their invention.  While I have not had the opportunity to place the material in a human patient yet, I’ve had an opportunity to learn the science behind it.  I’ve also had a chance to experiment with the material in some bench work.

The future looks bright for Nobio.  Look for the company to have a product on the market soon.  Here is a link to a story that helps explain things… 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Dentsply Sirona Primescan is Now Available for Demos


As digital becomes more and more a part of our everyday practice of dentistry, we are seeing companies bringing some incredible gear to market.

One of the newer entries into the world of digital impressions is Dentsply Sirona.  Their device is called Primescan and if you are considering getting into the digital impression game, you should definitely check it out.

I got the opportunity to work with Primescan in its early days about 15 months ago.  Even at that stage, it was an impressive piece of hardware.  As most people in the industry know, Sirona has been selling CEREC since the very early 90s.  Now with the Sirona merged with Dentsply the combined company has pushed things even further.

Primescan will allow you to interface with CEREC so that you can provide same day prosthetics, but if you prefer, you can send cases to  an outside lab as well.

The device allows you to process more the 1 million 3D points per second.  That basically translates to capturing about 50,000 images per second.  Capturing is just a matter of gently moving the wand over the teeth and watching the 3D model appear on the screen.  The device also has a pretty incredible depth of field.  It can capture images as far as 20mm away.

For more info on Primescan head on over to the product web page.  You can even schedule a demo from the page.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Marriott Resorts & Hotels to Receive $123 Million Fine from UK Authorities - All Due to a Data Breach


You may not remember, but last year Marriott made an announcement regarding their Starwood properties.  It seems that from sometime in 2014 to November 2018 5 millions passport numbers and 8 million credit card numbers were stolen.  Estimates by authorities are that 30 million EU residents were affected by the breach.  The situation was bad enough that Marriott made an executive decision to simply eliminate the entire reservation from their corporate databases and records.

Marriott did NOT own Starwood at the time of the breach instead discovering it after the acquisition had taken place.  However, the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigated the breach and discerned that Marriott “failed to undertake sufficient due diligence when it bought Starwood and should also have done more to secure its systems.”

Due to the ICO’s investigation and their finding that Marriott was at fault, the office is fining the company $123 million.

The law allows for a company to be fined up to 4 percent of that company’s annual revenue.  The $123 million is about three percent of Marriott’s annual revenues.

Obviously the folks in the European Union are taking breaches very seriously, more seriously it seems than their counterparts in the U.S.  Here in the states it would have been a slap on the wrist and a small token fine.  The weird part of this one ism that Starwood was NOT owned by Marriott when the breach occurred.  It seems that the security conscious and public conscious EU is taking a firm stand here.  Perhaps this will head off other types of breaches by forcing cost conscious companies to better protect their networks.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Dentsply Sirona Partners with A Night for Smiles and Asks for your Participation


There is no doubt in my mind that dentistry has a big heart.  Every year there are large charitable events where doctors and staff give of their time and expertise to help those in the public who cannot afford care.  These events are 100% free to patients and are are generously created through the giving of clinical providers.  However, providers are only one part of a large care giving system.  These events wouldn't be possible without the donations and efforts of companies that manufacture and distribute dental supplies.

I'm so impressed with those who not only donate their time to these events, but also to the companies who so generously provide the needed supplies to help these patients.

Dentsply Sirona has partnered with the Charlotte-based non-profit organization, A Night for Smiles, whose sole purpose is to raise money to provide free dental care to those in financial need within the local community. This year’s A Night for Smiles event supports The Kenneth D. Owen, North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM) – Charlotte Chapter. Dentsply Sirona, the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, is a Diamond Sponsor of this initiative.

Charlotte/Salzburg, 30 July 2019. On Saturday, September 14, 2019, A Night for Smiles will host its second annual Black Tie Gala to benefit The Kenneth D. Owen North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM) – Charlotte Chapter (www.ncmom-charlotte.com). NCMOM is a grass roots effort, dependent entirely on volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and scores of general volunteers, who donate their time and talents. It also depends on funding from charitable organizations, civic organizations, private corporate and personal donations as well as grants.

Dentsply Sirona is pleased to support the Charlotte community by supporting this outstanding organization. While the donations collected help significantly, they are not sufficient to address the dental healthcare needs of the entire local community in Charlotte. The goal of the next clinic is to provide free dental treatment to at least 2,500 qualifying adults. The clinic will be staffed by volunteers from all parts of dentistry as well as other healthcare professionals and general volunteers from Charlotte and across the state and will showcase NCMOM’s portable outreach program of the North Carolina Dental Society. The next clinic will take place at the Bojangles Arena on October 18-19, 2019.

If you are interested in supporting this great initiative with Dentsply Sirona and others, you can obtain more information at:https://anightforsmiles.org/ and have the possibility to donate directly.
100% of contributions will go toward our recipient, NCMOM-Charlotte.