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Browsing 5 posts in Web/Tech.

The digital consultation: a benefit of a high tech dentist

In the mid-90's, this was a "must have" for every dental student!

I’m a technophile. Which is a really nice way of saying that I’m a sucker for a cool gadget. I had my first laptop in 1993 (an Apple Powerbook 160) and used it to take notes in dental school. It was an absolute clunker and had a greyscale screen, but I loved it. I carried that cinder block around like newborn baby!

Dentistry is a profession that has LOTS of gadgets. In fact, there’s so many gadgets that a dentist really needs to be wise about choosing technology. Many times in my career I’ve brought in a technology that was marketed brilliantly but wasn’t very helpful to patients. I’ve become more choosy about the technology I incorporate as I’ve matured in my career.

Technologies that involve magnification and imaging (taking pictures) are very important to me. I use high powered loupes and an LED headlamp for all procedures and exams, unless I’m using my dental operating microscope. We also have intraoral cameras in each operatory and a digital SLR camera. These technologies also lend themselves to taking photos of procedures and conditions and being able to explain dental problems and proposed treatments using digital photos. Along those similar lines, our office has been using digital x-ray technology since 2007.

Digital x-rays are a cool technology for many reasons. First, how neat is it that we can snap an x-ray of your tooth and it appears on a computer screen in a matter of seconds? I don’t care who you are, that’s just cool! Software allows us to change the size, crop and zoom and even accentuate the image in a way that we never could when we were using film. Further, the image is on a huge computer screen instead of a tiny film. And if that wasn’t enough, digital x-rays use only 20% (or less) radiation than film x-rays!

digital x-rays: less radiation and more options

So, I can make digital photos and digital x-rays of teeth. It’s very convenient and very cool. Here at Mead Family Dental, we’ve taken it one step further. We use the technology to save you money!

Let’s just say you’re my patient and you’ve come in to have your teeth cleaned. When I do your exam I find a raised white patch on the side of your tongue. Now I’ve seen quite a few tongues in my career, but my training is limited in the identification of these kind of lesions. So what do I do? I typically send you to a specialist. In this case, I’d send you to an oral surgeon. The surgeon would first schedule you to examine the spot and then would decide if there is a need to biopsy the lesion. In many cases, the surgeon has had enough experience seeing this kind of pathology that a photo or x-ray would be enough for them to decide whether it’s something that can be monitored or it’s something that needs to be examined in their office.

So now we come back to our slick digital technology. I’ve already taken several photos of this suspicious white patch on your tongue. I email the photos along with a description of the lesion. Usually within a few hours or at most a day or two I get an answer back from the surgeon saying, “I think we can monitor this until their next visit” or “we should probably set up an appointment in our office.” What I did was get an opinion from a specialist without you having to visit the specialist. I do this all the time. Consulting specialists has become much simpler and in many cases much less expensive because of the technology that we have at the office.

Technology in medicine is constantly evolving. Here at Mead Family Dental, we’re trying to choose the technologies that make our patient care better, more efficient and more cost conscious. Doing what’s best for our patients is our #1 goal!

If you like this post, I’d love to hear about it! You can share any Mead Family Dental post with a “Like” on Facebook, a “+1″ on Google+ or you can even “Tweet” it with Twitter! All you need to do is hover over the heart shaped button next to the title of the post. Or you can leave a comment by clicking on the balloon shaped icon next to the title.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Saginaw, we’re always happy to accept new patients! You can request an appointment online or call the office at (989) 799-9133. And, as always, you can email me at alan@meadfamilydental.com. I always answer my own emails!

 

We communicate like you communicate

"LOL! I need an appt 2day!"

We saw a new patient recently. She had a dental emergency and her current dentist wasn’t able to get her in. She contacted us through the internet by clicking on the “Make an Appointment Online” button at the upper right of any page of our website. She indicated that she preferred to be contacted by text message. So I text messaged her telling her that we could make some room for her at the end of the day. Her reply?

“Oh my goodness! Are you serious! I’ll take the appointment!”

She remarked to Kathy (the most amazing and talented front office/office manager/dental insurance ninja/patient hand holder that any dentist office could have) that she couldn’t believe she was texting back and forth with the dentist.

If I had my way, I’d never make another phone call. I love email. It serves my needs perfectly. Text messaging also holds a warm place in my heart. Our office uses GoogleTalk throughout the day and I Facebook chat very often, too. Some folks have no time for communicating over the internet and much prefer a phone call. We understand.

We use this, too.

We want to make your dental experience fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. I realize that’s a tall order, but one way we accomplish this is by fitting the way you like to keep in touch. We’re happy to email, text message, call you on the phone or send you a letter. Whatever you like best is what we’ll do. Just let us know. If it helps you keep your teeth healthy, we’ll do it. One thing, though…I have to admit, my semaphore is very rusty and smoke signals are against fire code. Sorry about that.

While I have your attention and we’re talking about social media stuff…why not look over to the right and click on the button that says “Like us on Facebook.” This will take you over to our Facebook page where we share photos, cartoons and other cool stuff! Thanks, and stay in touch!

We’ve got wifi now.

Wifi

So you’re thinking, “O.K., Mead.  You’re high tech.  You’ve got digital cameras, digital x-rays, TV’s in the rooms and all the cool gadgets but…why can’t I get on my computer with wifi?”

My only answer: now you can!

Just ask for a guest log in and password and you can merge into the information superhighway and have your teeth whitened at the same time!