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Gotta Have Dental Technology for Your Practice

By Millennium Dental Technologies, Inc. on May 26, 2016 in Dental Business, Laser Dentistry

Let’s face it; there are 101 different ways to invest in technology for your dental practice. From the efficient suite of CAD/CAM integration to the sweeping innovation in digital impressions, from CEREC Restorations to the encouraging results from laser treatments for gum disease, technology is emerging nearly every day.

With all this great stuff, why doesn’t every dental office have all the technology available to them? Because it involves a hefty investment and not every dentist feels he or she can afford it. However, with all the improvements in efficiency and the ways it enhances the standards of patient care, dentists can’t afford NOT to invest in technology today.

Dental Technology is crucial to your practice

In 2004, The Journal of the American Dental Association published a study about the integration of technology in the dental practice. The author discovered that integration of technology was “crucial to the efficient and effective functioning of the dental office.” [1] Furthermore, the study decided that suppliers should work together more to make sure that integration is more user-friendly for clinicians.  And this was over 12 years ago!

To see an overview list of Digital Dental Technologies, please click here.

What are some of the ways that technology improves a dental practice? Here are three major advantages of using technology in your practice:

Dental Technology increases efficiency

First and foremost, a dentist is there to provide quality dental care to his or her patients. However, their practice is also a business, and when it comes to business in a dental practice, time is money. When you can find ways to boost your productivity without compromising the quality of your work, you put more money in your pocket. Technology can provide that boost.

How? By consolidating communication and information into a well-integrated platform.

There are many ways that technology helps a dental practice improve efficiency and productivity. New practice management software allows everyone in the practice to communicate effortlessly, with notes and images included with the patient files. Digital radiography and imaging allows for instantaneous sharing of information, either with the team or the lab. New CAD/CAM capabilities are emerging every day, including for some practices the design and creation of dental restorations in the office the same day, not requiring a second appointment for the patient. Also, CAD/CAM allows clinicians to make better decisions and be more precise with their diagnosis and treatment plan, which reduces the need for multiple appointments.

All of this communication and sharing of information boosts productivity in the office, and reduces chair time for the patients.

Dental Technology improves the patient experience and impression of the office

The same things technology does to improve the efficiency and productivity are also improvements for the patient experience. When patients have less time in the dental chair, have fewer appointments, and leave the office with a tooth instead of a problem (or pain), you have elevated the patient experience. In addition, with the displays and the ability to examine images together, patients understand why you are recommending the treatment and are far more likely to acquiesce to it.

Perhaps most importantly, technology can lead to less discomfort for the patient with a potential for more precise and conservative treatment. Innovations like the PerioLase MVP-7 and its related LANAP Protocol, our laser-assisted surgery for the treatment of periodontitis, is an excellent alternative to the conventional cut and stitch method of surgical treatment. Digital impressions are far more comfortable for patients than the traditional goop and tray method clinicians employed for years.

Technology also improves the patient experience through the patient’s perception of the office. All of us love our technology. Smartphones, apps, tablets, and the ubiquitous cloud have infiltrated even the most mundane parts of our lives. When patients go to a clinician, they like to see that technology is everywhere there as well. It gives patients the impression that the practice has invested in providing them state-of-the-art care. Best of all, patients then share their experience on one of the (many) social apps that lives on the smartphone they have with them all the time.

Dental Technology provides tax benefits to the practice

If you are unfamiliar with the tax benefits of an equipment or technology purchase, it’s time you became familiar. Section 179 of the tax code allows you to write off the cost of your business equipment purchase up to a certain amount. At the time of publishing, this amount was $500,000. (Wondering how much you might benefit from an equipment purchase? Click here to see the Section 179 Calculator.)

So what dental technology qualifies for this tax benefit? Examples include equipment and technology purchases, computers, and some off-the-shelf computer software. Furthermore, you can also write it off the year you purchase it, even if you financed it and haven’t started making payments.

For more details on using Section 179 to your advantage, please click here.

Sure, technology can cost a lot. When you are talking dental technology, it’s not unusual to jump into six figures. But it is far more than a cost; it’s an investment. When you invest in technology for your practice, you improve your efficiency and productivity, elevate the patient experience and impression of your practice, and you enjoy tax benefits as a result of your investment.  With all these advantages for your practice and your patients, you can’t afford not to invest in the best technology has to offer.
Sources:

Schleyer, TK. “Why integration is key for dental office technology.” J Am Dent Assoc. 2004 Oct;135 Suppl:4S-9S.Retrieved from web: www.ncbi.nlm. Nih.gov. 2004 October < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15543814>.

 DiMatteo, Allison. “Digital Dentistry: Overview of Digital Dental Technologies.” www.yourdentistryguide.com. Web. 13 May 2016. http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/digital-dentistry/.

 Carson, Elliott. “Integrating technology into your dental practice.” www.dentaleconomics.com. Web. 13 August 2014. < http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-104/issue-8/features/integrating-technology-into-your-dental-practice.html>.

Schiff, CPA, CFE, Allen. “Section 179: Purchasing equipment and reducing taxes…What you need to know now.” www.dentaleconomics.com. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-98/issue-9/features/section-179-purchasing-equipment-and-reducing-taxes-8230what-you-need-to-know-now.html.

[1]Schleyer, TK. “Why integration is key for dental office technology.” J Am Dent Assoc. 2004 Oct;135 Suppl:4S-9S.Retrieved from web: www.ncbi.nlm. Nih.gov. 2004 October < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15543814>.

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