Book Review: Protocols for Mobile Dental Photography with Auxiliary Lighting

Reviewed by Dr. John Paul

Generally, I am not a fan of an infomercial and a great deal of this book revolves around how to use a proprietary device, the Smile Light MDP, with your own cell phone to make dental photographs.

That knee-jerk reaction out of the way, it is possible there is no device similar to the Smile Light MDP available and the book does a fair-handed job of comparing dental photography using a conventional digital camera and all of its attendant gear to making those photographs with your cell phone, the MDP device and a few other pieces of kit, the mirrors and retractors needed for either type means of capturing the images.

Visit floridadental.org/member-center/publications/book-reviews to read the full review.

How Do I Optimize My Website for Core Web Vitals?

By Whiteboard Marketing

In today’s marketing world, being visible on Google is essential to the growth and success of every dental practice. Google is the No. 1 search engine in the world, and it is the first place many people go when they search for a new dentist. It’s important to keep your website optimized with best practices from Google to ensure current and prospective patients can easily find you and schedule an appointment. Google releases algorithm updates on a regular basis, which search engine optimization (SEO) experts must navigate to continuously improve websites. The most recent update that Google released is the Page Experience Algorithm update, which focuses on Core Web Vitals. There are many elements that this update encompasses, but three in particular create the most impact: Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift and First Input Delay. Here, we’ll discuss why these factors are important for your website and changes you can implement to stay competitive, provide a positive online experience to visitors and generate new patient acquisition.

1. Largest Contentful Paint

Largest Contentful Paint is the time it takes for the largest element on your website to appear on screen. The largest element on your website is typically the image on your homepage, also known as the banner or hero image. It’s important that this image loads quickly because it is the first thing a user will see when they visit your website. If site visitors are unable to see or interact with your website, your opportunity to convert them to a new patient lessens, as they will most likely leave your site. Your largest content paint should be less than 2.5 seconds. To improve your website’s load time, the SEO experts at Whiteboard Marketing recommend making these updates:

  • Choose photos over videos. Videos are large files that take a longer time to load, which ultimately slows down your website. If you notice that your website is slow to populate and you have videos placed throughout the site, you may want to consider removing them to improve your site speed.
  • Use correct image sizes. Large images also can slow down a website’s loading time, especially if they’re the incorrect size. Oftentimes, your website will specify the exact size you should use for certain sections, and it’s important to follow these guidelines, if applicable. Incorrect image sizes or images that are too large may overload your site and cause a delay in loading time. The Whiteboard Marketing team recommends that you use correctly sized images for each responsive breakpoint, and nothing larger than 2000 px wide to ensure healthy website speed.

2. Cumulative Layout Shift

Frequently, when a website loads, images, calls to action (CTA), and other elements may shift or move around in an effort to populate. Cumulative Layout Shift highlights the importance of having stable elements when a page loads. If images or buttons move around too much, users may become confused or accidentally click on the wrong link. Having a visually stable website provides a positive user experience. Here are a few things you can do to minimize your website’s Cumulative Layout Shift:

  • Refrain from using pop-ups. Pop-ups are small windows that will “pop up” on a website to advertise specials, promote campaigns or provide a CTA. While they are a great marketing tactic to create urgency or offer information, they can drastically affect the usability experience of your website. When a pop-up appears on screen, it can move a website’s content, which causes confusion for users. Talk to your marketing partner to discuss additional options for incorporating elements of a pop-up into other areas of your website. For example, if a pop-up was used to highlight your dental implants service, you may want to consider adding a CTA button on your website’s home page instead. You’re still able to draw in the user with something eye-catching to convert them into a new patient.
  • Replace carousels with still images. While carousels or sliders may appear trendy and high tech, they can cause many issues when it comes to your website’s stability. Carousels contain multiple large images that take time to load when a user visits your website, and the automatic playing of these images may result in a negative score from Google due to the cumulative shift layout. To combat this, the web development and SEO experts at Whiteboard Marketing suggest using an organic, singular, still image on your website.

3. First Input Delay

First Input Delay is the time it takes for the browser to respond to the user’s first interaction. This means that visitors can engage or interact with your website by clicking, scrolling or typing on the webpage. If your website takes too long to load and users cannot begin searching for information or navigating through your website, they may become frustrated with the lack of functionality. Your first input delay should be under 100 milliseconds. It’s important that your website is interactive to ensure you are converting as many visitors as possible into new patients. Here’s what you can do to improve your website’s First Input Delay:

  • Limit any heavy use plugins. Plugins can add new functionality or features to your website, but they also can complicate the engineering of your website. When a website has too many plugins or too many heavy-use plugins, this can cause delays to your site’s ability to respond to visitors. Be sure your website only uses plugins that are necessary.
  • Switch to a high-speed server. Oftentimes, when your website’s hosting server is slow, this will cause your site to be slow as well. If you notice that it is increasingly difficult to interact with your website, you may want to consider finding a new hosting provider. Talk to your web development team to determine if moving to a new server is the best option for your practice’s website.

While there are many other solutions to address the Page Experience update, they typically focus on your website’s code and the way it was developed. If you notice any long load times, stability issues or difficulties interacting with your website, talk with your marketing partner about additional options that may be available. Your website team may need to remove or alter certain code on your website to improve its performance. Your marketing team may even recommend building a completely new website if your code is flawed or outdated.

Google’s Page Experience Algorithm update focuses primarily on your website’s user experience and functionality. It’s important to implement any necessary updates or new strategies to keep your website ahead of the curve. Paying attention to your website’s Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift and First Input Delay will help you provide a better user experience, improve your SEO performance and increase your opportunities to attract and retain new patients.


Written by Whiteboard Marketing team members Sara Grindley, account manager, with input from Corinne Richardson, SEO specialist, Jon Krempasky, SEO and PPC manager, and Alex Francis, web developer. Whiteboard Marketing is a dental practice marketing firm in Dublin, Ohio that partners with dentists nationwide to develop and implement practice marketing strategies that increase new patient acquisition and build brand awareness.

Decrypting the Buzz Around Email Cybersecurity

By: Robert McDermott, President and CEO, iCoreConnect

Do you feel like you’re hearing a lot about ransomware, phishing and hacking these days? You’re not imagining an increase in these buzzwords. They’re popping everywhere: news media, compliance reports, technology and trade journals, and the list goes on. It’s important to recognize that these words are more than just the latest media buzz. They’re real threats.

Cybercrimes remain a problem for dental and medical professionals with little sign of going away anytime soon. The primary ways your practice can be compromised are through your IT infrastructure and your email. The weakest link in the chain, however, is people.

Criminals have become quite effective at using malicious email to exploit human vulnerability and gain access to protected health information (PHI). When an email comes in posing as a trusted source like a bank, an online payment site or even a social networking site, your staff needs to know what to do … and what not to do. Every day, cybercriminals successfully steal everything from patient and insurance records to passwords, social security numbers, credit card information and account numbers. These kinds of attacks are called “phishing.” They are designed to get you to click a link, call a number or respond with personal information.

Educate your staff on what to look for in a phishing attack. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Division explains that phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. These emails may:

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or login attempts.
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information.
  • say you must confirm some personal information.
  • include a fake invoice.
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment.
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund.
  • offer a coupon for free stuff.

As a dental health provider, confirm that every email with any connection to PHI, payments, passwords or other sensitive information is being sent through a secure, HIPAA-compliant email service.

Not sure how to know? Check to make sure your secure email service uses its own private network to transmit messages, not the public internet. You also will know if your email is fully secure and compliant based on the way email communication is initiated. If your practice must initiate the first message in an email conversation, then your system is highly secure. The security key is that no one can randomly email you or your staff if you haven’t sent a secure email to them first. That eliminates phishing and hacking because cybercriminals can’t reach you. Once you have that first email interaction with another doctor, pharmacy, patient, etc., your workflow is the same as any other email.

If you are sending PHI via Google, verify you are using the paid version, Google Workspace Gmail. Even if you have some security steps in place on a non-paid Gmail address, you are most likely neither HIPAA compliant nor protecting your patient’s records. You may want to consider using Gmail, and other similar services, for sending everything that isn’t PHI or sensitive information. Secure and non-secure emails often can be accessed in the same email interface requiring only one login to access all your email accounts.

So, what happens if your email isn’t secure and someone in your office clicks a link? Well, you’ve just left the back door unlocked and let a cybercriminal sneak into your business. Once a cybercriminal gets into your system, usually without detection, they have one goal: wreak havoc to get money. They can lock up your entire records system and hold it for ransom, usually requiring payment in bitcoin. Thousands of attacks are launched every day with good success. It’s a scenario you don’t want to deal with. Fortunately, it’s also preventable.

Teach your staff or bring in an IT managed services provider (MSP) to talk with your office about the best practices to prevent phishing scams. Learn to identify a suspicious email and report it to your IT or MSP team. Most importantly, never click on buttons/links, call the listed phone number or respond to the message, especially with personal information.

Replace your current moderately secure email service with a truly secure, HIPAA-compliant email and you’ll significantly decrease the risk of your data being accessed through email.

Cybersecurity, phishing and ransomware are more than buzzwords. They represent identity theft, credit card and bank account access, and the loss of patient trust. Prevent access. Use secure email. Stay off the radar of those looking to profit off your practice. These simple steps can save you headaches and heartbreaks from having PHI stolen or captured and then paying a high ransom to get your practice up and running again.


FDA Services endorses iCoreExchange HIPAA-compliant email. iCoreExchange not only meets or exceeds every compliance and security requirement, but it also allows you to attach as many large files as you want to any single email. Speed up your workflow, protect patients and your practice. Check out this convenient and compliant service or call 888.810.7706. FDA members receive a substantial discount on iCoreExchange.

4 Cybersecurity Awareness Tips

FDA Services (FDAS) has seen an alarming increase in cyberattacks on dental offices in the past few years. This year has especially had a sharp increase, which is why they’ve partnered with Coalition Insurance to bring our members cybersecurity and insurance. Even if you choose not to use Coalition Insurance as your cyber insurance provider, please make sure you have this coverage in place! They recommend, at the minimum, $250 per patient record in coverage. 

Below are four cybersecurity awareness tips from our friends at Coalition:


The FDAS experienced staff is ready to get to work for you — call or text 850.681.2996 or email insurance@fdaservices.com to connect to our agents today.