Throughout the year, I have attended several dental meetings. These have ranged from Yankee and Chicago Midwinter to the Oregon State dental meeting. I have looked at some small, new companies with products that can compete with larger companies although they do not have large national advertising campaigns. The following are a few examples of new products that might soon appear in your office.
If you need a timeclock, here is an interesting solution. Nextime fingerprint timeclock is a PC-based time attendance system that uses a biometric finger scanner. An employee places a finger on the scanner for 0.5 seconds to punch in or out. See this at www.nextime.net. The same company makes Venga, the office communication system that runs through your office network (www.venga.info).
We use loupes and microscopes with direct vision. The field diminishes as the power increases, and you have a device in between you and the working field. In many medical situations, such as arthroscopic surgery, the doctor looks at a screen while operating. A few systems have appeared with various cameras to allow indirect vision on large monitors. But Stereoimaging has taken this one step farther - the screen is in 3D. Take a look at Dentimag3D at www.stereoimaging.com.
The Internet allows new methods of office newsletter delivery. For instance, WebDentalMarketing.com enables an office to produce a custom “e-newsletter” - an Internet-based newsletter that is distributed via e-mail to existing and potential patients. The company provides monthly content and a method for tracking the patients who read various articles. A dental office does not need a Web site to use this service.
A new twist on the intraoral camera is the Mirroscope. This combines the dental mirror with an intraoral camera. What you see in the mirror is what you get on the screen, at 30 times magnification. Information on the Mirroscope can be found at www.miras-imaging.com.
Another camera from Whicam is wireless. Made in Korea, this new entry has multiple-function buttons on the handle, thus eliminating foot pedals, mouse, etc. The camera’s metal body and angled handpiece provide easy access to most areas of the oral cavity. Software is embedded in the unit, along with eight LEDs and three focus-free modes. For more, visit www.whicam.com.
Early diagnosis is critical to successfully treating any disease, including caries. With the new Inspektor Pro System, powered by Quantitative Light-Induced Fluorescence Technologies, clinicians can see preinvasive lesions early and make treatment decisions easily. Areas of enamel with minor decalcification can be identified, mapped, and recorded with this device. According to OMNII Oral Pharmaceuticals at www.omniipharma.com, preemptive treatment with fluorides or recalcification products such as SootheRx, can actually prevent caries.
With Periopal, computerized periocharting meets voice activation. This program uses a limited vocabulary of less than 100 words, thus causing less confusion in the charting process. Its “sidebar” function allows customized comments. The program interfaces with several practice-management systems. See it at www.periopal.com.
A new player has arrived in the patient-reminder arena - Appointment Call for Windows. This system automatically calls patients to remind them of upcoming appointments or other messages. The software can be integrated with many practice-management systems. For more, go to www.usnetcomcorp.com.
Patient-education systems normally run on an office computer system. One new entry, Orasphere.com, has unique modules and innovative animations. A different type of program, called MedVisor, allows the operator to make computerized notes on units such as a tablet PC, Wacom penabled LCD displays, or a Wacom penabled pad. These are the kind of notes often made by television sports analysts. The system has several interactive, animated modules. Check out www.medvisordental.com and www.wacom.com.
Finally, many offices have been using air abrasion for minimally invasive dentistry. Dr. Tim Rainey has introduced “parallel water stream” technology. This introduces warmed water along with the powder, reducing overspray and further increasing patient comfort. Look for hydroabrasion at www.americanmedicaltech.com.
This is a sampling from my extensive travel to dental meetings around the country. As you walk through exhibit areas at these meetings, look at the smaller booths with the unfamiliar names; you might get a nice surprise.
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, including annual appearances at the Yankee Dental Congress, and he 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@example.com.