Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Planet DDS Introduces Denticon Reimagined: The Future of Integrated Dental Practice Management


The reimagined Denticon includes cloud-based practice management, now featuring enhanced patient communication tools, advanced analytics, and easy-to-use patient marketing capabilities

NEWPORT BEACH, CA – February 20, 2024 – In an industry that’s rapidly evolving towards digital consumerism and data-driven decision making, Planet DDS is at the forefront, introducing a reimagined version of Denticon, a platform for growth-minded dental businesses. The enhanced platform delivers practice management, patient communications, practice analytics, and practice marketing. Designed to scale effortlessly with cloud technology, Denticon is set to revolutionize productivity, patient outcomes, and staff engagement for dental practices of all sizes.  

"As we navigate through a time of consolidation and a clear trend toward consumerism in dentistry, innovation becomes paramount. Denticon is designed to be at the core of every growth-minded dental practice as their operating system, enabling a significant transformation in how dental care is delivered and experienced,” said Planet DDS CEO Eric Giesecke. “We’re excited to showcase the reimagined Denticon at the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting, not just as a solution that meets the current demands in the industry but also to pioneer a new standard in dental care and patient experience.”

The reimagined platform encompasses several tools to help dental practices run their businesses more efficiently and effortlessly – from marketing to analytics. The journey begins with Legwork, an easy-to-use marketing solution that empowers practices to attract new patients through search engine optimized marketing campaigns, professionally branded websites, and integrated phones. The journey continues with Denticon Patient Communication, integrated patient engagement tools that streamline communication with targeted emails and text messages, online forms for enhanced patient experience, and appointment reminders that reduce last-minute cancellations. Closing the loop is Denticon Practice Analytics, which provides actionable insights to dental practices to identify production opportunities and make data-driven decisions that help create operational efficiencies and fuel growth.

“With Denticon’s Patient Communication, our appointment rate improved by 18%. This has been a game changer for our operations both from a cost-cutting and revenue-generating perspective. Our patients have been telling us that they want to be engaged through a more tech-forward approach and the ability to text and email with Denticon has brought our patient engagement to a new level of success,” shared Randa Seif, Chief Operating Officer of CaliDental.

“With the help of Denticon Practice Analytics, it’s very easy to run a report for patients who have accepted treatment but have not yet scheduled an appointment, send text messages through Denticon, and book the first person to respond,” explained Kara Trail, Director of Operations for Henritze Dental Group. “Having an all-in-one practice management solution has helped us become more streamlined as an organization and having visibility of metrics across all locations has been a key component of our workflow.”    

To learn more about the Planet DDS solutions that support the growth of thousands of dental practices, request a demo: Book a Demo | Denticon | Apteryx | Planet DDS

About Planet DDS: 

Planet DDS is the leading provider of cloud-enabled dental software solutions, serving over 13,000 practices in the United States with over 118,000 users. The company delivers a complete platform of solutions for dental practices, including Denticon Practice Management, Apteryx Cloud Imaging, Cloud 9 Ortho Practice Management and Legwork Practice Marketing. Planet DDS is committed to creating value for its dental practice clients by solving the most urgent challenges facing today’s dental practices nationwide. To learn more, visit:

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Fabletics to Showcase Scrubs with Style at Chicago MidWinter Meeting


Photo courtesy of Fabletics

I've been practicing for a few years now... truthfully more than "a few", but the time sure has passed quickly.  I've been in the game long enough to remember constant jokes about "dental office music" as well as "dressing like a dentist" both of which implied that the practice of dentistry lacked any kind of "style".

When infection control became a front and center concern, the majority of people in the industry quickly embraced wearing clinical attire, which of course meant scrubs.  In the blink of an eye, we went from "dressing like a dentist" to wearing "healthcare chic" ensembles.  Personally, I loved switching over to scrubs.  I can still recall having dinner in an upscale restaurant before the scrubs days.  As I sat down to the table, I put my hand on my tie to keep it against me and as I lifted my hand away the thought crossed my mind, "I've worn this at work and I haven't dry cleaned it since... what the heck could I be getting on my hand?"  The next day I happened to be talking to a school chum, Dr. Stephanie, and as I told her about my tie, she rocked my world.  "Why are you still wearing stuff like that?" she asked.  "Flucke, you've got to get some scrubs.  Show some  style!"  Wise words, Steph.

Now you can not only look "clinical", but you also look really stylish (or in my case, at least not look quite as nerdy).  Activewear manufacturer Fabletics has taken the world by storm with their cutting edge sportswear.  We've all seen it.  Heck most of us probably have something from Fabletics hanging in our closets.

Well, dear readers, if you haven't heard, Fabletics now makes and sells scrubs and for the first time ever, they will be at the Chicago MidWinter meeting.  If you're looking to up your game in the clinical attire department, stop by booth #1235.  My personal "Fabletics Angel" Lacy will be there (among others) and they will gladly hook you up with your new look.  The company is running some show specials that include, if you sign up as a new Fabletics VIP, you can receive a set of scrubs for $19 and every set after that is 50% off!  They also can provide group orders and embroidery.

Stop by booth #1235 and check out their gear.  If you don't get a chance to make it by, I'll be lecturing on Saturday, presenting two different courses and I may have my new pair of Fabletics scrubs with me... hopefully their show stock will have something I can buy and take with me.

See you all in Chicago!

Monday, February 19, 2024

New Philips Sonicare Teeth Whitening Kits Offer Semi-Customizable At-Home Whitening for Dental Patients

On Thursday February 15, Philips Sonicare launched their new Philips Sonicare Teeth Whitening system.  As a dental professional, I love the fact that the company is making this product only available by authorization from a dentist.  The kit is sent to the patient's home and comes complete with everything necessary for at home tooth whitening.  That includes tray material, the whitening agent, and a carrying case.

The patient places the tray material in hot water and then easily molds it to the shape of their teeth.  It comes with 2 extra pieces of the material... just in case.  However, I've had an opportunity to try the product and I can tell you with confidence that even if a tray is not properly formed on the first try, it can be reheated and reshaped to fit correctly.

It is available in 6% or 9.5% hydrogen peroxide solutions & provides results with minimal or NO sensitivity.  I actually had it tested by my wife who has *very* sensitive teeth and she reported only *slight* sensitivity after the first session and ZERO sensitivity on the other applications.  She also got very nice aesthetic results.

I'm going to be participating in the "official" launch press conference on Friday morning in Chicago at the annual Chicago Dental Society MidWinter Meeting and I'm really looking forward to helping talk about my experience with the product.

I hope to see a lot of you during my time in Chicago!


Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Tragedy in my Home Town...


As most of you know, I'm a resident of the greater Kansas City area and a huge fan of my hometown.  I was born here, grew up here, and I have no thoughts of leaving.  I actually practice about 10 miles (16.1 km) from my boyhood home... a small house in the local city of Raytown.

However, today I type with a heavy heart.  As you all know, yesterday February 14, 2024 was a day of celebration in my beloved Kansas City, but ended in tragedy.  Our hometown NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl over the San Fransisco 49ers on Sunday February 11, 2024.  Valentine's Day here in KC was supposed to be a day of love and celebration with a victory parade and rally in the downtown area.  Reports say the estimated attendance was somewhere around 1,000,000 fans.

Yet, instead of jubilation, tragedy unfolded.  Out of those 1 million human beings present it seems that 3 attendees (0.000003% of the crowd) created mayhem and death from the love and celebration generated by everyone else there.

Details are few as I type this, but authorities are saying that 22 people were injured in the gunfire that erupted.  Of those 22, the ages ranged from 8 to 47 years old.  One of those unfortunate people died from their injuries as doctors struggled to save her life in an operating room.  She was a wife and the mother of two children.  Another frightening and so incredibly sad part of this is that of those poor 22 souls, one half of them were under the age of 16.  Pause and think about that for a moment... 11 children were hurt and their lives changed forever.

Those poor people will never be the same.  So many will suffer long term injuries both visible and invisible.  All of this horror and sadness was caused by 3 people.  Last night I was at Ash Wednesday Mass and the first thing the congregation did was pray for the victims.  I had tears in my eyes.  Why anyone would create a tragedy like this defies reason.

My heart and my prayers go out to any and all that were affected by this.  I also want to give thanks to the first responders who jumped into the fray.  It takes a great deal of bravery to run towards gunfire.  Also, a special thanks to the private citizens who tackled one of the gunmen.  I cannot even fathom the amount of strength and bravery that took.  Thank you.  Many others private citizens helped those injured.  A nurse who happened to be there performed CPR on an injured man until EMTs arrived and took over.  All of that bravery represents the best of who we, as human beings are.  However, I'm sure all of those who helped would be much happier today if they simply hadn't had to be heroes.

Also, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me asking if I was ok.  I am honored beyond words by your concern.

In closing, I'd like to remind everyone that life is precious and unfortunately so fragile.  I often think of how many times a friend or loved walks out the door with a cheery "see you later" or "see you tonight" when in reality they never return.  Hug everyone you love and tell people you love them.  Finally I think the world could be a better place if people could follow two simple rules.  1. Be nice.  2. Show respect.  If you can just do those two things, things will work out and life will be better for all of us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Stela: A Stellar Self-Curing Composite Shaking Up Dentistry?


My cohorts at Dental Products Report recently releaed an evaluation of Stela composite from SDI.  The evaluation was done by Catapult, which is run by my buddy Dr. Lou Graham.  I trust Catapult when they release an evaluation report.  You can read it here.

I haven't had a chance to use Stela personally... not yet.  However, I did do some research and here is what I found out...

For dentists seeking to streamline their restorative workflow and deliver exceptional results, SDI's Stela composite has emerged as a game-changer. This innovative, self-curing material promises efficiency, strength, and aesthetics, all in a simplified two-step process. But does it live up to the hype? Let's delve into the features and potential of Stela, evaluating its impact on both dentists and patients.

Goodbye Etching, Hello Simplicity: Stela eliminates the traditional etch, prime, bond, and light-cure sequence, saving valuable chair time. Its unique primer acts as a catalyst, initiating polymerization at the restoration interface, leading to a gap-free seal and reduced post-operative sensitivity. This simplified approach appeals to busy dentists seeking efficiency without compromising quality.

Universal Powerhouse: Stela comes in a single, universal shade designed to blend seamlessly with various tooth hues. This eliminates the need for shade matching and reduces inventory clutter, further simplifying the process.

Strength and Endurance: Despite its self-curing nature, Stela boasts impressive strength and flexural resistance, exceeding the properties of traditional composites. This makes it suitable for various restorations, from Class I and II cavities to Class III and V repairs.

Flowable Convenience: Stela's flowable consistency facilitates easy placement and adaptation, particularly in smaller cavities or challenging areas. This characteristic contributes to faster and more comfortable procedures for both dentists and patients.

Patient-Centric Benefits: The streamlined process and reduced manipulation offered by Stela can translate to shorter appointments and potentially less discomfort for patients. Additionally, the gap-free interface minimizes the risk of microleakage, a potential cause of sensitivity and future problems.

Considerations and Cautions: While Stela offers numerous advantages, it's important to consider its limitations. The single shade might not perfectly match all tooth tones in every case. Additionally, dentists accustomed to light-cured composites may require an adjustment period to adapt to the self-curing process.

The Verdict: Stela represents a significant advancement in self-curing composites, offering a simplified workflow, impressive strength, and potential patient benefits. While individual experiences may vary, its innovative approach positions it as a compelling option for dentists seeking to streamline their restorative procedures and deliver high-quality care.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Google Bard is *Now* Google Gemini

 In December, Google announced that they had released their latest AI product.  Basically, it is a next generation type product that was announced.

Last week, Google unveiled Gemini, touted as their most powerful and efficient AI model yet. But with every major AI announcement, questions of impact and potential pitfalls arise. So, is Gemini a groundbreaking development, or just another hyped-up product? Let's delve into the details and explore what it might mean for the future.

What is Gemini?

Gemini is a massive language model (LLM) built on Google's next-generation TPU architecture. It boasts several key features:

Multimodal capabilities: Unlike its predecessors, Gemini can process and understand information from various sources, including text, images, and audio. This allows for richer and more nuanced interactions.

Enhanced efficiency: Google claims Gemini is significantly faster and more cost-effective to train and run, paving the way for broader accessibility and potential new applications.

Advanced reasoning: Gemini promises improved capabilities in areas like problem-solving, creative writing, and code generation, pushing the boundaries of AI-powered tasks.

The Potential Impact:

If these claims hold true, Gemini has the potential to revolutionize various fields:

Education: Personalized learning powered by AI tutors could dramatically improve educational outcomes.

Healthcare: Diagnoses and treatments could be aided by AI-driven analysis of medical scans and data.

Customer service: AI-powered chatbots could offer more seamless and efficient support experiences.

Scientific research: New insights and discoveries could be unlocked by AI's ability to analyze massive datasets.

But What About the Risks?

As with any powerful technology, Gemini comes with potential risks:

Bias and discrimination: LLMs can inherit and amplify societal biases, leading to unfair outcomes. Rigorous testing and mitigation strategies are crucial.

Job displacement: As AI automates tasks, concerns arise about potential job losses and the need for workforce retraining.

Misinformation and manipulation: Malicious actors could exploit AI to spread misinformation or manipulate public opinion. robust safeguards and ethical guidelines are essential.

The Verdict?

While it's too early to definitively assess Gemini's long-term impact, its capabilities promise exciting possibilities. However, responsible development and deployment are critical to harness its potential while mitigating potential risks. We must ensure ethical considerations, transparency, and accessibility are central to AI's evolution.

This blog post merely scratches the surface. The conversation surrounding Gemini and its implications is just beginning. It's essential to stay informed, engaged, and critical as AI continues to shape our world.

To read Google's take, follow this link.  

Thursday, February 8, 2024

ADA Guidelines Recently Released Advise No Need for Lead Apron and Thyroid Collar


Recently, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has released a new scientific paper regarding radiation use in dentistry.

The council, as expected, advises a minimal use of x-ray, stating that things like proper angulation, eliminating retakes, and using the lowest possible dosages to achieve necessary image are intrinsic to the safety of patients.  This comes as no surprise as for years they have advocated for the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) when taking radiographs.

The truly newsworthy item from the report deals with lead shielding of patients.  Since the advent of digital sensors and rectangular collimation, many have wondered about the true "need" for lead shielding when taking radiographs.  The amount of radiation used to achieve a reasonable image has decreased almost exponentially since digital sensors became common place.  Rectangular collimation works to focus the beam to a very tight dimension which means that 'scatter' from the beam is practically eliminated.  These two breakthroughs have been combined to greatly decrease the actual amount of radiation needed as well as keeping the beam focused to only the area needed for the image.

In my work as Chief Dental Editor for Dental Products Report, I've gotten a chance over the past two decades to speak to quite a few Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists about the subject of shielding patients.  Not one ever told me that shielding was necessary, in fact everyone of them stated that their personal opinion, based on their knowledge, was that the time had passed where shields were absolutely imperative to ensure patient safety.

Now comes word, direct from the ADA that both thyroid collars and the thoracic/abdominal drape can be discontinued.