Changing Lives by Giving Back [Update]

EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to offering continuing education and networking opportunities, the 2017 Global Oral Health Summit will also provide participants with the chance to partake in a special volunteer activity. Clean the World will guide attendees in assembling hygiene kits to distribute to those in need in the Orlando community. Carestream Dental will also be accepting monetary donations on behalf of Clean the World during the Summit, and contributions of unused toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss will be welcomed. Learn more here.

During the holidays, it’s common to give thanks and reflect on a successful year—a thriving practice, a dedicated staff and happy patients being among them. Some practices may even use this time to give back to their communities, whether through canned food donations or Angel Trees in the office lobby, or a day of volunteering at a food bank with the whole practice.

However, doctors and their staff have valuable skills to offer their communities at any time of the year. Giving, without any expectation of gain, allows dentistry to change lives. Continue reading

Three Dental Technology Predictions for 2017 That Would Be Most Welcome

As the year comes to a close, Carestream Dental reached out to industry leaders asking for their predictions for oral health care in 2017. The chief editor of Dental Economics, Chris Salierno, D.D.S, had this to say:

By Chris Salierno, D.D.S, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

The way we practiced dentistry in 1955 was not all that different from 1965.  Ditto for 1965 to 1975, and so on until we reached the new millennium.  Sure, there were major innovations in technology and materials along the way, but they didn’t occur at the accelerated pace that they do today.  Now, compare how dentistry was practiced in 2005 to 2015, the same ten year span, and you’ll be able to identify significantly more advancements in the way we provide care.  This exponential growth in technology is not just unique to our profession and is observable in everything from cell phones to how we order a taxi cab.

Continue reading

Predictions for 2015

Google, Microsoft and Apple will merge creating a single user friendly computer world where everything works with everything else. The new company will be called GoogyAppleSoft and the software will be Androidmacindows.

The fact that windows PC products won’t work with Apple, Apple doesn’t work with Android and vice versa is just the most visible compatibility battle. In dentistry we are plagued with proprietary systems that refuse to play together. Digital impressions, digital x-rays and even digital records can’t be transferred from one system to another. This is good for the manufacturer but not good for the dentist. Continue reading

A Brief History of CAD/CAM

Though computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) for dentistry has been available for the past 25-30 years, it’s only been within the past decade that the technology has moved from the lab to chairside. Much like radiovisiography technology, dental CAD/CAM technology got its start in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. However, early versions of CAD/CAM systems were so cumbersome and complicated that they were considered more of a hindrance to practice workflow than an advantage, and were mostly confined to laboratories. Fortunately, advances in the technology over the past few years have made CAD/CAM a more viable option for dentists looking to do restorations in-house. Continue reading

It’s About the People

(This is an updated version of an article I published in 2009)

It’s not about the machine, it’s about the people. But sometimes the machine can make all the difference.

It is easy to see technology just as machines and networks but I have always believed the real significance, the real value of technology comes when we use it to improve the human condition. Dr. Tony Romanazzi, a dentist from Glens Falls, New York in the Hudson River Valley, told me a lovely story that demonstrates this idea perfectly.

Dr. Romanazzi was asked by a long time patient if he would see a relative of hers, a special needs patient we will call Jimmy. Jimmy was a mentally handicapped man in his fifties who functioned about on the level of a two or three year old. That is he could say a few words and get around the house but could not really care for himself. Jimmy had been complaining that his teeth hurt. His care givers had tried to find him some help but so far no one had been able to do much. Continue reading

Old Masters

A while ago, I was speaking with a dentist who was telling me about the insane levels of precision he was learning in a gold study club. There were very precise measurements of powder and liquid to create just the exact amount of shrinkage for die stones, investments and all the rest. The dentists and technicians had devoted a lifetime to becoming masters of this process and were understandably very proud of what they had accomplished.

Here is the part that is hard to take—once you graduate to a digital impression system, all that skill knowledge and mastery becomes obsolete. It is like being a master typewriter maker in a world of word processors; nobody needs what you have spent so much time and effort learning to master.

The understandable reaction from those who have mastered the old way is to reject the new as not being good enough.

People resist change for many reason some of the most compelling are that they feel the proposed change threatens their notions of themselves they anticipate a loss of status or quality of life.

We see this fear often when any new technology is introduced, not just digital impressions. Staff people fear that what they have learned in the past, how they provide value to the doctor the patients and the practice will no longer have value. They fear losing status.

There is no easy way to tell someone they are obsolete. “Hey, the world changed, get over it,” doesn’t really help. What can help is to set new goals, accept that the new way is just as good (in fact usually better) and that—by learning the new way—the person will be even more valuable, have even more status and will have an exciting and rewarding journey getting there.