As Dental Dynamix celebrates its 20th anniversary, George Welsh considers how technology has evolved within dentistry, and how Dental Dynamix has helped its clients stay ahead of the curve.
Dental Dynamix’s pathway started many years ago, thanks to the vision of a young dental equipment salesmen to provide a customised service to assist as the right hand for all dentists in the field of digital imaging. The year was 2003 and Clinton Compaan was the young man who transformed his visions into actions.
So, as we celebrate 20 years of supplying digital imaging solutions, as well as bespoke, reliable and cost-effective IT infrastructure to the UK dental industry, it seemed a fun and informative idea to look back at how certain aspects of dentistry have evolved in that time.
Information (technology) is king
Without patients, those of us working in dentistry would have nothing to do! You might think that patients haven’t changed much in the last two decades – after all, it isn’t time for anything wildly anthropological to have happened to us humans.
Yet, we are shaped by what goes on around us, and we as a group have responded to a number of incredible aspects of everyday life – most notably our smart phones and social media – and the unexpected – definitely referring to Covid here!
When did you last check your smart phone? Data suggests that, on average, people in the UK spend 4 hours on their phones per day and worldwide statistics indicate we check our phones an average of 58 times during our waking hours. What’s more, UK online audiences spent approximately two hours on social media every day!
What this means for dentistry – with chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) gaining traction, too – is that patients have myriad ways of accessing information, whether it be right or wrong.
The upside is that it can bring more patients through the practice’s door, while the downside is that what they ‘know’ about dentistry and want from you might need some serious fixing once you have them in the chair.
That brings us nicely on to the idea of patient education and how technology can make a huge difference, helping not only to share your oral health messages but also increase referrals through reviews, and communicate effectively and quickly with colleagues about patient care (within the constraints of data protection).
As for the pandemic, as you know all too well, it decimated dentistry in the UK in the spring of 2020. But when we were allowed to get up and running again, an astonishing phenomenon had occurred.
Known as the Zoom Boom in many quarters, as reported in The Telegraph, many felt that first year in intermittent lockdown aged them 5 years instead of 1, plus hours looking at oneself on video chat platforms created an unprecedented focus on our perceived imperfections.
Practically speaking, it has meant a significant increase in non-invasive cosmetic treatments, including dental care, such as whitening and discreet orthodontics.
This provided, and continues to provide, dental teams with an incredible opportunity to up their list numbers, all the while, of course, combining that demand with getting the right message out to the public.
And there we circle back to the potential benefits of social media!
Keeping up with technology
Beyond smartphones, the in-practice technology that is currently available is incredible. Nowhere could this have been better showcased than at the recent International Dental Show (IDS) in Germany, featuring developments and future hopes in areas such as regenerative dentistry, AI, smart toothbrushes, teledentistry, and intraoral cameras.
At Dental Dynamix, we are committed to keeping our finger on the pulse of technology because, when it works, it can be invaluable to patient care, and when it doesn’t, it can spell disaster for every aspect of your business.
Dentists are well known for loving their technology and being excited by new opportunities and tried and tested gadgets. Let’s be honest; who out there doesn’t love the idea of IT and digital imaging working seamlessly with your practice management software?
Then there’s the possibility of CAD/CAM, digital X-rays, digital patient records, visualisation of treatment outcomes, 3D printing, electronic patient referrals and electronic communications between dental practices and laboratories, as well as, potentially, other relevant care providers (again, taking data protection into consideration).
So, we have an exciting array of theoretically fantastic technologies available to dental practice, both in terms of patient care and team workflow, as well as the practice’s bottom line – as long as you choose wisely and don’t expect the commitment to end at the point of purchase.
Beyond the purchasing process
The truth is that, even with the best equipment, things can and do go wrong. If you haven’t got a proactive and expert servicing team working with you behind the scenes, if something goes awry with your technology, it could cost you patient trust and result in shutting your practice down for an unspecified period of time while you seek help – a pricey problem in anyone’s book.
The good news is that there is a simple solution, in the form of Dental Dynamix. We undertake IT support for all our clients using a proactive methodology that makes use of the latest technology to ensure all our managed IT support contracts include ongoing maintenance of your IT infrastructure.
As a result of this, our clients experience fast fault identification and resolution, resulting in reduced clinical downtime and disruption, and minimal security risks.
Whilst on the subject of security, we look after your data for you, safely and securely. We store data in two data centres located in London and Bournemouth, but also locally on an external encrypted hard drive that can only be accessed via the Dental Dynamix backup software.
What’s more, threats to dental practices are on the increase and can rear their ugly head in a variety of ways. Therefore, ensuring you have the necessary protection and protocols in place that prevents all these is essential. After all, these kinds of attacks can damage your dental practice financially and in relation to your reputation.
This is no idle threat; even the BDA suffered an attack a few years back, and the UK government’s ‘Cyber security breaches survey 2023’ reports that 32% of businesses and 24% of charities overall recall breaches or attacks over the previous 12 months, costing, on average, irrespective of business size, £1,100, and let’s not forget the potential for data breaches.
However, with our vast knowledge and expertise in dental IT and digital imaging, we constantly strive in making the complex simpler and the worrisome safer.
Dental Dynamix is the ideal dental IT & digital imaging support partner for you!