This month, Dr. Austin reviews the OperaDDS communication platform, Advantage Arrest silver diamine fluoride 38% by Elevate Oral Care, and MMG Fusion practice management software.
OperaDDS communication platform
Communication in the dental office is vital for success. The front needs to communicate with the back. The back needs to communicate with the front. The hygienist needs to communicate with the dentist. The assistants need to communicate with the treatment coordinator. Everyone needs to communicate with one another for things to run smoothly. In my office, we have tried many different systems to improve our communication, and OperaDDS has been a great find.
Created by a dentist, it’s in tune with the day-to-day needs of dental practices. The OperaDDS platform has three significant sections: Recare, Chorus, and Pager. Recare syncs with compatible practice management software systems and allows you to communicate with your patients via text, e-mail, and postcards to schedule and remind them of their upcoming appointments. You can also use this part of the system to send records and files to patients directly and securely. Unfortunately, my software is not yet compatible with OperaDDS, so I have yet to be able to try the Recare part of OperaDDS.
Chorus is a cloud-based portal that allows you to create and track cases sent to labs and specialists. This helps facilitate secure collaboration in real time. The tough part is getting all your labs and specialists to set up Chorus, but once that’s done, it’s incredibly beneficial and a big time-saver.
Pager is the part of the OperaDDS platform that my office has used the most. We use Pager to message throughout the office. The OperaDDS app on the iPhone can be paired with the Apple Watch, so you can view and confirm alerts and pages straight from the watch.
My assistants and hygienists all have Apple Watches, and they page me when they need me in an operatory. They can also type a note if there is something I need to know before going into the room. My hygienists use this feature when they are ready for me to do an exam. The page to my Apple Watch is discreet, so if I’m seeing another patient in one of my treatment rooms, the patient will never be disturbed or overhear. A quick touch of my watch screen confirms that I received the message and that I will be there as soon as possible.
Another great feature allows us to message all users or certain groups of users simultaneously. Let’s say my office manager needs to reboot the computer system. All she has to do is send one quick message, and everyone in the office knows. She doesn’t have to walk around and tell us one by one. Pager has worked seamlessly to help us communicate around the office - all in a secure, HIPAA-compliant way.
OperaDDS is a monthly subscription service. You can pick and choose your services to suit your office’s needs. We currently use Pager only and pay around $99 a month for that system. I think it’s a very reasonable cost for the service provided. The costs for the other parts of the system are reasonable as well. We have enjoyed our experience with OperaDDS and look forward to the evolution of intraoffice communications. Base hit up the middle for OperaDDS!
Advantage Arrest silver diamine fluoride 38% by Elevate Oral Care
Few things have taken the world of dentistry by storm. Silver diamine fluoride is one of those things. This product was propelled into the spotlight by a New York Times article that spread through social media like wildfire. While I don’t think that silver diamine fluoride is a miracle cure, I do think it has a place on the shelf of every dental office in the United States. The key is knowing when and how to use it.
I have heard all sorts of things about it from other dental professionals. “I heard it stains all teeth black!” one hygienist told me. A dental student e-mailed, “I read that this stuff cures decay!” Just like anything else, the buzz is partially true, partially inaccurate.
This product has several great applications. One underrated use is treating dentinal hypersensitivity. Because it hardens dentin, making it more acid- and abrasion-resistant, silver diamine fluoride is beneficial in areas with gingival recession and root exposure.
From a decay perspective, silver diamine fluoride has the potential to be a game changer. It has been shown to arrest decay after multiple applications, especially when used with traditional fluoride varnish. Once the decay is arrested, we can decide if the area needs a restoration.
As I mentioned above, there has been a lot of confusion about silver diamine fluoride and esthetics. The truth is that silver diamine fluoride will stain teeth black - but not all teeth. It will not stain healthy, sound enamel and dentin. It will only stain demineralized or decayed tooth structure. The staining occurs because decay causes precipitation of the silver as the fluoride disassociates from it and associates with the hydroxyapatite.
This is excellent news for us because we can use the staining as a diagnostic tool. If we stain a lesion and see black, we will know that decay is present. We then have clinical choices to make. If we are to restore the tooth in question, we can remove the layer of silver precipitate with a handpiece and place a restoration. If we are just going to watch the area (presuming the lesion in question isn’t an esthetic concern), we can reapply silver diamine fluoride in a year and keep the decay arrested.
Silver diamine fluoride is an excellent tool, especially for treating pediatric or geriatric patients. We can use it on primary teeth that have some decay but are within a year or two of exfoliation, which could save many kids from frightening dental experiences while stopping the spread of decay. On geriatric patients, it could help us through many tough situations - for instance, if root decay is present on a tooth with a crown or bridge, but we want to avoid large expenses.
Silver diamine fluoride is only available from Elevate Oral Care under the brand name Advantage Arrest. Advantage Arrest is available in unit-dose ampules and 8-mL bottles for many applications. Unit-dose applications run around $4 per application. The larger bottle is a more economic choice, keeping application costs under $1 for one to three teeth.
I have just begun using silver diamine fluoride in my practice. As time goes on, I think it will be an important tool for me in many situations. Ground-rule double to center field for Elevate Oral Care!
Above: Dr. Austin gives a video overview or MMG Fusion.
Managing patient relationships and acquiring new patients isn’t like it used to be. We now have so many different services that we pay for monthly that we didn’t have 10 years ago. From a patient communication suite that texts and e-mails appointment reminders, to data-gathering key performance indicator (KPI) software, to an online review gatherer, we regularly write big checks for each of these practice management services. MMG Fusion can help by combining these, eliminating many of those bills while helping increase your production and grow your practice.
Let’s start with the patient communication features of MMG Fusion. Many practices are currently using a service to handle these duties - and if you aren’t, you should be. Why would you want to chain an employee to the phone to make confirmation calls all day? The last time your phone rang and it wasn’t a loved one calling, were you excited to answer it? Did you even answer it at all? Most people wouldn’t have, yet more than 90% of text messages are opened within three minutes of delivery.1 Leverage that statistic in your favor by using software that will text your patients to confirm their appointments. MMG Fusion does that, plus online scheduling, two-way texting, and e-mail marketing campaigns that can be used to extend offers and incentives for recare and reactivation.
MMG Fusion also offers marketing tracking and call analysis. The telephone is the most important instrument in the dental practice. Even in 2017, in the middle of the digital revolution, the telephone is still the lifeline for us to help our patients. By analyzing calls and form fills from your website, MMG Fusion Marketing Tracker can help you track your practice marketing to provide you with key data about new patients and revenue and insight into what marketing is working and what is not. MMG Fusion Call Analysis uses software to listen to your incoming calls and provide information on why you are losing new-patient opportunities. This insight helps you train your staff and helps your team convert more potential patients. On average, MMG Fusion clients double their conversion rates. That is statistically significant and can affect the bottom line of your practice.
Your practice’s online reputation is vitally important to your marketing efforts as well. No matter how good your search engine optimization (SEO), your direct-mail campaign, or your YouTube videos, they won’t work if you don’t have strong Google and Yelp reviews to back them up. Patients are going to look before they call. What story are they reading about your practice? MMG Fusion can help you get more positive reviews by making it easier for your patients to provide them, which is the name of the game. If you are asking your patients to leave you reviews, and it’s a complex, multiple-step process, you aren’t going to get good results. MMG Fusion will also assist you with the dispute process, should you get a negative review. No one has a magic eraser that can make a negative review disappear at the snap of a finger, but MMG Fusion takes care of the review dispute process.
Another great feature of MMG Fusion is its excellent local search engine optimization. Your search engine visibility will be evaluated by MMG Fusion, given a clear rating, and then improved by state-of-the-art software tools. Patients easily find your office on Google and then read all of the great reviews about your practice. They can’t help but make appointments. By focusing on improving your rating (which represents a prospective patient’s ability to find you), you can convert shoppers into patients with efficiency and ease.
MMG Fusion is a robust solution for your practice. It can do many things all under one roof that you are probably paying separate vendors to do now. To me, simplicity is success. But if you are in love with a program you are already using (a patient communication suite, for example), you can always opt out of that feature with MMG Fusion to keep your current service, and you can get any of MMG’s other features à la carte. MMG Fusion can customize its product to fit your practice’s needs. That is not something that you see every day. It’s a great option for practice owners! It is so nice to find a company that will not try to sell you the whole boat when that’s not what you need.
Integrated technology solutions like MMG Fusion can transform your practice. It can enhance your ability to communicate with your patients while giving you real data analytics about your practice and much, much more. I encourage you to contact MMG Fusion for a demonstration of all it can do for your practice. I was in awe of its full capabilities. Line-drive double down the line for MMG Fusion!
1. MobileSquared. Conversational Advertising. http://mobilesquared.co.uk/media/27820/Conversational-Advertising_SinglePoint_2010.pdf. Published June 2010. Accessed May 3, 2010.
Editor's note: The above review is sponsored by MMG Fusion.