Walkin’ Blues

June 1, 2006
After spending the first four months of the year walking around at large dental meetings, I have one tip - get support hose.

After spending the first four months of the year walking around at large dental meetings, I have one tip - get support hose. This also goes for exhibitors and lecturers who have to spend the entire time at meetings on their feet. Women have known this secret for years, and there are men’s products that do just fine. I am not talking about pantyhose for men (made “famous” by Joe Namath many years ago). I have found the Jobst company (jobst-usa.com) makes a terrific line of men’s - and women’s - support “over-the-calf” socks. According to the company, “Jobst SupportWear (8 to 15 mmHg) uses special compression technology to enhance circulation so your legs feel refreshed and rejuvenated.” They are sold primarily at medical supply stores, or can be located on the Internet. An unlikely source, with a wonderful catalog to peruse, is vermontcountrystore.com.

Now that I can walk nonstop for several hours at these meetings, I try to find smaller booths - those with one or two representatives exhibiting small, sometimes homemade signs. Many clever people offer niche products that just may be right for your practice. Here are a few:

FlexView Systems monitors (www.flexviewsystems.com)

This is a 17-inch monitor that connects to existing A-dec, Midmark, Pelton & Crane, and other ceiling tracks or can have a static ceiling mount with a flexible five-axis armature. It can be used as a computer, TV, or DVD monitor and comes with speakers and a remote control. Custom cabling provides VGA, S-Video, and RCA-Audio inputs at the base of the track.

Aribex NOMAD portable X-ray (aribex.com)

The battery-powered NOMAD X-ray generator offers portability with cordless operation. With more than 100 exposures on one battery charge and a weight of under 4 kg, NOMAD is optimal for remote use and confined spaces as well as operatory functions. The external backscatter shield and internal radiation shielding protect the operator from radiation exposure. Its impact on anyone who does fieldwork, disaster work, or geriatric/nursing home work is obvious. It is also a multi-op option for any office.

D-Carie and Detectar (neks.com)

Two devices appeared at the Chicago Midwinter meeting that detect caries and calculus. Unlike DIAGNOdent, (KaVo) these do not have a digital score - they indicate the presence of caries and calculus with colored LEDs and sound. The Detectar “sees” calculus on the root surface with an LED probe that is effective in the sulcus, even in fluids and blood. Information and complete descriptions are on the company’s Web site.

Previser Periodontal Disease Risk Analysis (previser.net)

This interesting software advises the provider to collect specific clinical data from a patient - 23 points to be exact. The data is sent to the company’s server without a patient name (HIPAA-compliant) and returns two scores. One is a “risk score,” which provides a number from 1 to 5, and lets the patient know if factors for advancing periodontal disease exist. The other is a “disease state” score (1 to 100), which gives the current status of the periodontal condition. It is easier to understand than trying to match up 168 pocket depths, along with other exam findings. The Previser exam can be repeated at any interval to determine changes in periodontal risk and disease status, thus providing a more accurate understanding of the dynamic nature of the patient’s periodontal condition and the proper course of treatment. Complete information and a 30-day free trial are available on the Web site.

Smile Reminder (smilereminder.com)

This product has matured from its initial focus of using cell phone text messages for patient appointment confirmations. The messages now include many other functions, most automated, using your existing Practice Management data. E-mails, as well as an e-newsletter, are now part of the service. What is unique is that the newsletters have embedded Web links. As patients click on those of interest, Smile Reminder tracks and reports these to the practice for future internal marketing.

These are a few of the small companies trying to make it in the “big” dental world. I could fill a few pages with more of these companies. Perhaps I will in future issues.

Dr. Paul Feuerstein installed one of dentistry’s first computers in 1978. For more than 20 years, he has taught technology courses. He is a mainstay at technology sessions, and is an ADA seminar series speaker. A general practitioner in North Billerica, Mass., since 1973, Dr. Feuerstein maintains a Web site (www.computersindentistry.com) and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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