Are Your Dental Loupes Worsening Your Neck Health?

By Dr. Bethany Valachi, PT, DPT, MS, CEAS

Imagine spending $1,500 on new loupes and then developing neck pain—or your existing neck pain worsens. This is an all-too-common problem that I frequently encounter in my dental ergonomic consultations and among my dental students.   On the other hand, I have repeatedly seen well-designed ergonomic loupes that improve or completely resolve neck pain. So how do you know if your loupes are improving or worsening your health?

Of all the criteria for selecting loupes (working distance, frame size, scope position, declination angle, co-axial adjustment), declination angle is the most important ergonomic factor that can make or break your health.

Studies show that working with the neck flexed forward only 20 degrees or more for 70 percent of the working time has been associated with neck pain.  While no loupe systems provide completely neutral head posture (ear-over-shoulder), loupes with a steep declination angle may significantly improve operator working postures in dentistry, thereby lessening risk of musculoskeletal disorders and improving clinician comfort. Therefore, to prevent musculoskeletal injury, loupes should enable you to work with less than 20 degrees of neck flexion.

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The Knowledge Exchange

A major reason for attending any conference is for educational purposes. The Global Oral Health Summit has some of the best and brightest industry speakers, trainers and doctors lined up to guide attendees on their educational journey, but opportunities also exist outside the classroom for people to learn from their peers in the industry.

Carestream Dental calls it the “knowledge exchange;” the concept is similar to The Exchange, the online software users’ community, where attendees/users are can ask questions and learn from each other’s experiences. The Summit offers several spaces for attendees to meet with their colleagues and exchange ideas, tips and tricks and suggestions for how they can take their practices to the next level:

Hackathon

This mass brainstorming session is a collaborative effort with other oral health care professionals to find solutions to the challenges practices face every day. Innovators from MIT will guide participants in problem-solving scenarios to encourage the free flow of ideas and communication about the future of the oral health industry. In particular, the hackathon will address boosting the efficiency of day-to-day operations, enhancing the patient experience and improving their practices. Continue reading

The Benefit of Implementing Planned Time-Outs

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

To some people, “time-out” implies “sporting event.” To others, it means “parenting strategy.”

Time-outs have been used in medicine for several years. In surgery with the surgical team, time-outs verify such areas as:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Consent form had been signed
  • Drug allergies
  • The kind of surgery being performed

In our practice, we use time-outs as a planned pause before the start of treatment to focus on safety and patient communication. Continue reading

Global Oral Health Summit: The Exchange Central

During a hectic day at a learning event, it’s common for teams to choose a designated spot to meet up and regroup between educational sessions. At the Global Oral Health Summit, that “designated spot” is Exchange Central. It’s more than a place to connect with team members, it’s a central location with software and support resources, local information and fun ways to relax and recharge.

Make a Pit Stop with the Practice Management Pit Crew
Attendees can look under the hood at some of the new and exciting changes coming to Carestream Dental software. The crew of software analysts and designers will be on-hand to showcase the investments and improvements taking place in Carestream Dental’s practice management systems.

Join The Exchange
Attendees can chat with a Community Expert to learn more about The Exchange, Carestream Dental’s free online users community. At The Exchange, users can ask questions, participate in polls and search for handy how-to guidance for navigating their software.

Summit Play
Get crafty with your hands or challenge others to a game of corn hole, giant Jenga or Connect Four in our Summit Play area. Continue reading

How Scripts Can Facilitate Patient Education

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

In years past, when a clinician made a recommendation, the patient almost always accepted the treatment plan and proceeded with the procedure. A lot has changed since then. With the advent of the internet, patients often want time to do their own research before making a treatment decision because they feel the need to look out for their own self interest.

You may already know the concept of co-diagnosis—the term used to describe the process where patients are guided through a self-discovery of their problems. Technology now helps us tremendously in this process, with intraoral cameras and digital photographs and radiographs.

If you take digital photographs early in the examination appointment, you give patients the opportunity to see their actual conditions—and own their problems before the doctor performs the exam. Most patients expect far fewer issues than are actually present. By seeing the evidence firsthand, however, their self discovery improves case acceptance. Continue reading

Designing Better Medical and Dental History Forms

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

Can the design of your medical and dental history forms affect efficiency? Yes, definitely. In fact, a well designed form not only saves time, it can facilitate diagnosis and motivate your patients.

Today, most practice management systems have online forms, which enable patients to register and complete their medical and dental history in advance. This can streamline the appointment—but only if the forms are designed with the patient in mind. If you discover that patients are filling out the forms incorrectly or if they are omitting information, it’s likely time to rethink your forms.

When you develop the medical and dental history section of your forms, develop questions so that a “yes” answer requires the doctor’s attention. For example, change the question “are you satisfied with the color of your teeth?” to “would you like whiter teeth?” This approach can speed your review process, because you can quickly decipher where to focus your attention. Continue reading

Developing and Adapting Systems for Your Dental Office

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

Looking for ways to systematize your dental office? In the book “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande, M.D., Dr. Gawande talks about the advantages of using discipline in our work day. Let’s face it, we’re human and prone to mistakes. Gawande reveals how systems and checklists can decrease mistakes, boost efficiency and reduce stress.

Even the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) agrees. In an article published in August 2010, Harold M. Pinsky, D.D.S., a part-time dentist and part-time pilot, states, “To enhance safety, practitioners must implement forward-thinking strategies. Because human error is inevitable, threat and error management techniques are needed to help identify and trap error before it develops into unexpected outcomes. Risk analysis heightens situational awareness for possible dental error. Efficiency increases with early error detection.” Continue reading

Getting Patients to Say “Yes” to Dental Cases

by Dr. Mark Hyman

A young dental student was working with me in my office years ago. All day long, he repeatedly said, “How can your team get patients to say yes to so many cases? What’s the secret sauce?”

His questions astonished me until I realized this: what is obvious to me isn’t obvious to everyone. My way of practicing dentistry involves the use of fundamental human relations principles, and a lot of practitioners out there just don’t realize the importance of this. Here’s the premise: Stop telling people what they need; instead, listen to what they want.

We try to never use the word need in our practice. You need a crown; you need to floss; you need to stop smoking. Need is punitive. Let’s face it: for the most part, dentistry is elective. The better four-letter word is want. After all, it’s not enough to buy CBCT systems, or digital sensors or intraoral scanners. What good is that state-of-the-art technology if your patients don’t want you to use them? Continue reading

There’s No Business Like Story Business

by Eva Grayzel

What new tool can you use to market your business, or articulate what makes you stand out among the competition? TELL A STORY!

In business across the board, story is a buzz word. People don’t buy products; they buy stories—and emotional connections. Storytellers who can share their narrative in an engaging way have a leg up on the competition.

In the program I am presenting at the Global Oral Health Summit this November in Orlando, Fla., I will inspire you to understand the value of a great story: how to find the story that you—and you alone—are meant to tell and how to craft that story to build rapport and instill trust.

You can build relationships by tapping the power of story to evoke a connection and foster patient loyalty. Find the story that exemplifies your values and differentiates you from the practice around the corner. Continue reading

Just a Moment to Convert New Patients

By Dr. Leon Klempner

No matter where people go these days, their mobile devices bring the power of the internet with them. What does this mean for you, the practitioner? You have an open-ended opportunity for making an impression.

Imagine converting patients while they stand in line at the grocery store or while having brunch with friends. Why should they choose your practice?  If your services are not the least expensive, why would they pay more?

Our marketing consultancy, People & Practice, has helped doctors across the country take advantage of digital media to grab the attention of potential patients at these very moments. We do it with a mix of marketing strategies that include reputation management, social media engagement and Facebook advertising. Our focus is positioning your practice to compete on value, not cost.

Reputation management
When a Google search for local orthodontists/dentists reveals your website, you’re only halfway there. What actually entices a user to click on your practice over another? Google search results that include your business listing with five-star reviews and positive comments. That’s the kind of exposure that makes all the difference. A reputation management system can help capture positive reviews as well as intercept possible negative experiences before they end up online for all to see. Continue reading