Saturday, September 25, 2010
There are a number of ways that dentists attract new patients. Probably the best way of attracting them is developing 'good word of mouth'. Fifty years ago, this more or less meant that if a dentist treated his patients fairly and competently, they would refer friends and family. This generally was the way things worked. Maybe a dentist would have a small sign outside his offices advertising his professional services as well.
Some enterprising dentists advertised their services in local papers, yellow pages or sponsored local events or children's sports teams. Now things are changing. Potential new patients not only desire a dentist who has performed competently for a friend or family member, but often would like to read about him or her on the Internet!
Probably the first thing many people do, when considering a new dentist, is to Google his name and see what turns up! Many would like to find an attractive website and primarily positive online reviews for the dentist by his patients. This is "2010 style word of mouth"!
This part is addressed primarily to my dental colleagues. I think it is important that dentists, both young and old give some thought to this new form of marketing, sometimes called "Reputation Management". Clearly what a patient finds out online about a dentist will either help or hurt his chances getting new patients! Practices that are successful in maintaining a good online presence will tend to prosper, even in difficult economic climates.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Although popcorn can be a delicious snack it can cause tooth problems. Aside from the fact that uncooked kernnels found in bags of popcorn can worsen cracks in teeth, the indigestible brown husks can become wedged in between the gums and teeth. This can be especially prevalent around partially impacted lower wisdom teeth. It is not all that unusual to discover a patients pericoronitis to be caused by a popcorn husk that had become wedged under the flap of skin that covered the wisdom tooth.
The husk has to be fished out in order for this sort of infection to resolve. It acts a little like a 'splinter'. Although small it can cause a localized infection and a great deal of pain. Once the husk is out,the patient is usually placed on antibiotics and instructed to rinse frequently with warm saline solution, unitl the infection resolves.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Starting in October Invisalign is rolling out some improvements that they have named Invisalign G3. Sounds sort of like a new Apple Ipod! According to a handout given to me today by my local Invisalign Representative this upgrade involves a new doctors website, some new features that will make it easier to treat Class 11 and Class 11 cases and new versions of ClinCheck software.
Also new and improved will be 'SmartForce" features that include some new options for designing customized attachements.
If you are a dentist interested in finding out more you can visit Aligntechinstitute.com and sign up for a webinar to be held on October 1rst.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I don't write on teeth, but I do sometimes use a fine point sharpie to draw on teeth. I can try out potential modifications on edges of teeth. Often minor modifications of the edges of anterior teeth can enhance smiles. By blacking out small portions of the edge I can preview what removing that portion of the tooth would look like. I believe in the adage "measure twice cut once". The sharpie indelible ink can be easily removed with some alcohol on a Q tip, but actual changes in tooth structure are irreversible.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
The Diagnodent is a light emitting device that when shined on teeth gives a digital readout that the manufacturer claims will help a dentist detect decay below the surface of enamel. According to Kavo, this device is about 90% accurate. It works by shining a certain wavelength light on the tooth that causes decayed matter to exhibit fluorescence.
The Diagnodent website states that "The DIAGNOdent operates at a wavelength of 655 nm. At this specific wavelength, clean healthy tooth structure exhibits little or no fluorescence, resulting in very low scale readings on the display. However, carious tooth structure will exhibit fluorescence, proportionate to the degree of caries, resulting in elevated scale readings on the display of the DIAGNOdent. "
I should add that I bought this system about 10 years ag, when it firs,t came out, and while patients liked it, I didn't find it more accurate than my own judgements made after I used a bonding light to transilluminate the tooth surface. Many dentists love this device, but I rarely use it anymore.
Monday, September 06, 2010
It used to be that implant surgeons requested a cat scan prior to treatment planning and implant restoration. Now mostrequest a 3-D cone beam tomagraph instead, since it requires less radiation to produce an image. These 3-D views allow a dentist to view a proposed implant site in cross section and when combined with an appropriate computer program they help determine how an implant should be placed and allow a dentist to try out placing different implants to determine which fits best.
This technology definately helps in the treatment planning of implant restorations and tends to insure the placement of the proper size implant. Accordingly, 3-D conebeam tomagraphy can be a tool that can help make placement of implants easier and the results more predictable.