Th 257591

Love ’em or leave ’em no more

Aug. 1, 2007
Once a stranger to computers and technology, Dr. Lynn Pierri’s attitude about the subject has changed through the years.
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Once a stranger to computers and technology, Dr. Lynn Pierri’s attitude about the subject has changed through the years.

by Duane DaPron
Photos by [email protected]

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While growing up, technology and computers were not yet a key part of society, and thus, did not play a prominent role in Dr. Lynn Pierri’s background.

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But times have certainly changed for the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who has her own practice - Dental Implants of Long Island - located in Hauppauge, N.Y.

A tour of Dr. Pierri’s 3,500-square-foot practice displays some of the latest in modern technology for oral surgery and dental implants, including more than 25 computers.

“I was not brought up with computers around me,” the dentist said. “I had a sort of ‘love ’em or leave ’em’ attitude about computers. But through life, I have come to love them. Computers can enhance a dental practice.”

A solo practitioner, Dr. Pierri began her professional career in 1986 after receiving her DDS from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

It didn’t take long for the dental school graduate, who is now board certified as a diplomate of oral and maxillofacial surgery, to start her association with computers.

“The first day I started practicing, a consultant came to my office and told me that I needed to be computerized for safeguard purposes,” said Dr. Pierri, who also has an M.S. degree in microbiology and education from C.W. Post University in Greenvale, N.Y.

“So, I bought one computer,” she added.

From there, the Long Island dentist became hooked on computers and technology.

After unsuccessfully trying to design a software program with the help of a consultant over the next two years, Dr. Pierri decided to buy a MicroDesign package in 1989.

“It was the only one at the time that could cross code,” she said. “Oral surgery is unique in that it requires a combination of medical and dental codes.”

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Dr. Pierri remained with MicroDesign and the company’s evolution through the years. It is now Kodak, and the oral surgeon continues to be a staunch supporter of the company and its products.

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“To me, the integration today of the company’s products is seamless and easy to use.”

Among the Kodak items that can be found in Dr. Pierri’s surgical suite are intraoral and extraoral digital cameras, as well as digital periapical units and sensors, plus a digital panoramic and cephalometric X-ray unit.

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In addition, with the assistance of Kodak’s practice-management software, Dental Implants of Long Island went paperless in 1999.

Patients can now complete both a two-page registration form and a four-page medical history online. The practice’s two Web sites (www.dentalimplantsoflongisland.com and www.lynnpierriddsms.com) are tied in to the practice-management program.

This feature, to Dr. Pierri’s amazement, has been well received by patients.

The Dental Implants of Long Island team includes (front row, seated from left): Michelle Ceschini, Jill Rindfleisch, Maria Hoelldobler, Jeanne Rogers. Back row: Maria Walkuski, Diane Powers, Bob Champey, Dr. Lynn Pierri, Cindy Cafaro, Sandra Calvet, Kathleen Pierri.
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“Actually, I have been surprised by our patients’ willingness to take advantage of the option of filling out forms online - many times from the comfort of their homes,” she said.

“I have been extremely pleased to see the number of patients of all ages who have responded positively to our online registration process. We receive correspondence via e-mail and are able to communicate immediately and provide instant gratification to our patients. Patients can even sign their consent on a laptop tablet that is integrated with the practice-management system, as well as voice recognition dictation ability for progress notes and consult reports. I have nothing but positive things to say about this process.”

Change has been more than apparent during Dr. Pierri’s 20-year professional career.

The dentist, who has a medical degree from the University of Health Sciences Antigua School of Medicine, started by renting a less than 1,000-square-foot-facility in Smithtown, N.Y. She remained at this location for 10 years.

But, as her practice numbers grew, she moved to her current facility in Hauppauge in 1997. The move provided more than three times the working space. Dr. Pierri also purchased the portion of the building that currently houses the practice.

On consult days (Tuesdays and Thursdays), the practice has five rooms busy at one time with one assistant assigned per room. This provides the chance to see approximately 60 patients per day.

Consultations include the completion of a medical and dental history, as well as a full series of X-rays and intraoral and extraoral photographs being taken in advance of Dr. Pierri seeing a patient.

“I have a complete consultation report before I enter the room,” she said.

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On surgery days (Wednesdays and Fridays), Dental Implants of Long Island takes advantage of its nationally recognized, state-of-the-art surgery facility to provide surgical services.

In fact, the practice’s operating room suite - the Suffolk Ambulatory Surgery Facility - was the first oral surgery practice in New York to receive accreditation from AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.) and is one of only two in the state so designated.

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First accredited in 1997, the surgery facility is seeking its fourth, three-year period of accreditation.

At the Suffolk Ambulatory Surgery Facility, general anesthesia services and intravenous sedation are administered by Office Based Anesthesia, a Long Island based group of board certified anesthesiologists.

The fully equipped surgery suite includes a recovery room staffed by post-anesthesia care unit/intensive care certified registered nurses, as well as a generator. The suite’s nitrous oxide system has automatic alarm, automatic backup, and automatic switchover (classified for a Type I facility like a hospital) and carries a hefty $50,000 price tag.

Besides the Kodak equipment noted earlier, the operating suite includes 3D cone beam tomography (i-CAT), a CO2 laser (Luxarcare), a mucosal examining system (VELscope), PiezoSurgery®, a DVT prophylaxis system (Flowtron), a total temperature management system (Bair Hugger), a fiberoptic intubation instrumentation (Glidescope), and a radio frequency test for implant integration (Osstell).

“Patients are becoming educated about what’s available in terms of treatment options,” Dr. Pierri said. “From our standpoint, as an accredited facility, we provide the highest possible standard of care.”

The practice just became a Master site for Materialise Simplant users, called “Voxel Imaging,” and now provides cone beam scans featuring interactive 3D software for the production of dental implant SurgiGuides to increase the accuracy of dental implant placement.

After initially learning about the dental implants field, Dr. Pierri - who has gained more than 3,000 hours in continuing education in her career - knew it was a calling she must follow.

“I fell in love at first sight with implants,” the oral surgeon said. “I thought ‘Wow. This is something.’ I knew it would be great. I guess you could call it woman’s intuition. I really believed in it as an alternative treatment for patient care.”

Dr. Lynn Pierri’s adventure with computers in her life can be characterized in much the same way, once she realized the impact modern technology could have on her oral surgery and dental implant practice. For her, it’s no longer a matter of “love ’em or leave ’em.”

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