Cloud Technology Lights the Way for the Future of Dentistry

By Robert McDermott, President and CEO, iCoreConnect

There’s never been a better time to leverage technology in dentistry. It’s more accessible, secure and efficient than ever before. No matter how long you’ve been in dentistry, it’s likely dental school didn’t teach much in the way of computer software and programming or offer a Master of Business Administration. Fortunately, what you need to know is simple. It’s all about integrating cloud-based software to speed up clinical workflow and enhance patient care.

Cloud-based technology and services are rapidly becoming the preferred backbone to run any business. The technology model, Software-as-a-Service or SaaS, is a term you may have heard before. SaaS is more commonly referred to as web-based, hosted or on-demand software. For example, cloud-based Microsoft Office 365, Amazon and Dropbox are all SaaS platforms and are all accessed through the internet.

Here’s why all of that is important to dentistry. Cloud-based software replaces traditional servers and hard drives located inside a dental office. Those servers require expensive maintenance and upgrades. They put patient and practice data at high risk of theft, failure or loss. Think about what happens if that server is hacked by a cybercriminal or destroyed by a busted bathroom pipe. Or, the server simply fails one day. Compromised or lost data can crush a practice.

Here are three ways technology today changes the way dentists do business.

Streamline Daily Repetitive Tasks

What are two tasks that take time and are done frequently? Most likely they include checking insurance benefits and writing a variety of prescriptions. Let’s start with insurance. When the doctor discovers a patient needs a crown, a staff member will then need to check the patient’s insurance. That patient may walk out the door without a follow-up appointment because she is waiting to find out what, if anything, she will owe out of pocket. Today, there is specialized software that checks insurance benefits immediately. Armed with the actual insurance information needed for next steps, a patient is more likely to book the appointment and show up for it. Anxiety over financial surprises is no longer lingering. The patient gets needed treatment and the practice remains financially on track.

Electronic prescribing is another big deal for better clinical workflow. Many Florida doctors implemented e-prescribing when the law went into effect in January 2020. However, dentists with expiring waivers or whose licensure renewal takes effect by July 1 will need to make the switch now. Software designed specifically for dentists to e-prescribe all medications, including controlled substances, also may offer direct access to E-FORCSE (Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program) for rapid prescription history checks of a Schedule II-V controlled substance. e-Prescribing with rapid PDMP checks makes clinical workflow faster, safer, and better for both the patient and the practice.

By simply streamlining insurance checks and the prescription process, time is given back to the day and patient care is kept on track. The next two steps add to the security, peace of mind and efficiency of running a practice.

Move Data to the Cloud

If practice data is stored in a physical server in the office and then backed up to a physical hard drive, trouble may await. Backing up to a hard drive in the office, or one that travels home with the dentist or a staff member, puts protected health information (PHI), financial information and all practice information at risk of being stolen, hacked or accidentally destroyed. The strongest protection comes from using a cloud-based backup service. PHI and all other data is backed up every time a key is clicked on the keyboard. The sensitive data lives on servers across multiple locations, protected at the highest level of cyber and physical security.

Take IT Off Your Plate

Even though you may be savvy to technology, your first love and priority is dentistry. It is prudent for a practice to engage in the services of a managed services provider (MSP). An MSP takes care of everything IT at a predictable monthly rate. An MSP team doesn’t even need to be in the same city as the practice. They can continually maintain, update, and prioritize security and compliance of the practice’s computers and secure email from anywhere. Issues are immediately mitigated or simply don’t happen. Once again, the cloud makes big business sense.

Leveraging technology at any stage of a dentist’s career is the economical, practical and proactive way to do business. The dental industry needs a fresh approach to speed up clinical workflow and make dentistry even safer and more convenient for patients while increasing security and revenue for the practice. Doing business the same way as always may be comfortable but it will keep a practice stuck at the status quo. The business of dentistry has a bright future in cloud-based technology.


iCoreConnect, an FDA Crown Savings Partner, develops cloud-based technologies to improve and protect your practice including e-prescribing, full IT/MSP services, and revenue analytics. FDA members receive special discount pricing on iCoreExchange HIPAA-compliant email and iCoreDental practice management system software. Book a no obligation demo or call 888.810.7706 to see how iCoreConnect’s products speed up workflow and increase revenue.

Total Health Dentistry: What’s it All About?

By Dr. Susan Maples

What a strange and turbulent time to be in dental practice and leadership. All eyes are on us as to how we navigate for ourselves and our at-risk patients through this systemic disease threat. By now you know that dentists and hygienists are at the very top of the list of occupationally hazardous professions for COVID-19. This leaves many of us feeling anxious and wanting to help.

This is a unique time — when every person asks themselves if they would be at risk of death or disability with an inadvertent COVID-19 exposure. We know that that the most at-risk segment of our population is those who are afflicted with airway disorders, obesity, insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes) and metabolic syndrome. If you live a typical American lifestyle, these risks more than likely include YOU. But what does any of this have to do with the mouth? Everything!

“The mouth illuminates all the signs, and once you ‘see’ them, it makes it impossible to ‘unsee’ them.”

It wasn’t too long ago that dentists thought the mouth was its own private domain, that not much of what went on in there was linked to the rest of the body — and vice versa. Today, we understand that the most prevalent life-altering and life-threatening conditions we encounter have early telltale signs in the mouth. If you haven’t yet explored these, hang on to your seat — the evidence is staggering.

Only a short time ago, dentists and hygienists didn’t know (for examples) that:

  • Most sleep and airway disorders can be prevented by addressing structural/development concerns in newborns, babies and toddlers.
  • Tooth decay is a preventable bacterial infection passed to babies from their caregivers’ saliva.
  • Periodontal disease is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, dementia and erectile dysfunction.
  • Diabetes has a bidirectional relationship with periodontal disease, each making the other worse.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection from oral sex would replace smoking as the single biggest risk factor for oral pharyngeal cancer.

And this list goes on and on!

Our patients’ weakened host-immune response is mostly a result of the most common ailments in our culture: oxygen/sleep deprivation; a defective, sugared-up food supply; and, a sedentary lifestyle. When a patient visits you for his or her three- or six-month preventive appointment, they bring you all the evidence. The mouth illuminates all the signs, and once you “see” them, it makes it impossible to “unsee” them.

It’s time to embrace a personalized model for dental care, focused on far more than your teeth, gums, joints and muscles. By learning to identify the countless links and causes between systemic health and oral health, your entire dental team will soon play critical roles in helping each one of your patients (from age 1-100) live a healthier, happier and sexier life!

In today’s health care environment, which is focused on using a host of medications to put out small fires, helping your patients identify the root cause of their diseases becomes a rare GIFT. From there, helping individualize a wellness track does several things for your practice:

  • With your total health reputation, you will attract patients who value their health from a wide sweep around your practice location.
  • By earning trust, you’ll also earn the right to perform some significant restorative dentistry.
  • By collaborating with other health professionals, you’ll build a remarkable network of co-referral relationships and enhance the quality of your patient base.
  • By focusing on integrative health, you’ll add value to the hygienists’ role and enhanced hygiene profitability through adjunctive testing.
  • Through developing this sought-after niche, you’ll get the golden keys to insurance independence, if that is something you seek.

If you thought enhancing a smile was exciting, try giving someone a new lease on a vital life, while you restore their mouth to optimal health as well. It won’t take long before it becomes your new passion. Total health dentistry is more than a compelling morale builder — it’s a way of life.


Dr. Maples is the founder of Total Health Academy and developer of Hands-on Learning Lab and can be reached at susan@drsusanmaples.com. She is a speaker at the 2021 Florida Dental Convention and will be presenting three courses. On Friday, June 25, “Seeing in the Mouth with Super Powered Eyes: Total Health Dentistry” is at 2 p.m. On Saturday, June 26, “Slaying Dragons: Acid Reflux and Diabetes Detection” is at 9 a.m. and “Creating Powerful Co-referral Relationships with Medical Professionals: Becoming a Practice of Distinction” is at 2 p.m. Register at floridadentalconvention.com.

Reprinted from Today’s FDA, May/June 2021. Visit floridadental.org/publications to view the Today’s FDA archives.

Ain’t That the Tooth!

“Ain’t that the Tooth” is a podcast by the South Florida District Dental Association (SFDDA) that takes you into the lives of its members and their perspective on all kinds of topics in and out of dentistry.

Last summer, the SFDDA board met to discuss plans for the upcoming year. After much discussion, plans to increase its social media and digital presence were agreed upon. Additionally, an ambitious project was proposed: a podcast.

The SFDDA created a podcast that would air every other week to all dentists and available through most, if not all, podcast-streaming apps.

After setting up a studio at the SFDDA office in Coral Gables and recording a few sessions, “Ain’t That the Tooth,” launched on Feb. 3, 2021, and hit 100 downloads within the first two weeks! The reviews have been positive and encouraging.

The podcasts have covered such topics as finding the right associate, student issues and membership. There also will be future episodes that will talk about work-life balance, practicing with your mother or father, and even more personal topics. If you have an idea for a conversation topic and would like to be on the podcast, contact the SFDDA at southfloridadistrict@gmail.com.

“Ain’t That the Tooth” can be found on all major platforms, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and Pandora.


Excerpt taken from the SFDDA Winter Newsletter.

Hurricane Practice Prep

We’ve all seen the dramatic effect hurricanes can have, both the initial wind and rain and the floods and devastation that follow. There are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce damage to your property in the event of a storm.

BEFORE A HURRICANE

  • Install storm shutters.
  • Remove yard debris, such as dead tree limbs, that could become flying missiles.
  • Make sure your practice communication plan is in place and ready to be put into effect.
  • Make sure you and/or employees know how to shut off utilities, including water main.
  • Look through your emergency kit to ensure it is fully stocked and up to date with necessities for preparing your practice.
  • Back up computer records and store them at least 50 miles off-site.
  • Gather important papers to take with you if you must evacuate, including inventory lists and insurance information.

DURING A HURRICANE

  • Know your community’s evacuation plan and, if asked to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Stay inside and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Avoid elevators.
  • Avoid washed out and wet roads that can hide downed electrical lines or underlying currents that can carry your vehicle away.

AFTER A HURRICANE

  • Water is a major cause of damage after hurricanes. The longer your house is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls and floors, as well as any personal belongings inside. After the storm has passed, it’s important to dry out anything water damaged.
  • Open windows and doors to allow air to circulate and speed up the drying process.
  • Clean up any broken glass and remove debris.
  • Board up broken windows and doors.
  • Cover roof damage with tarps or plywood.
  • Save receipts for any temporary repair expenses.
  • Move any wet items to a dry place.
  • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected later.


Content provided by Safeco Insurance.

This article was originally published in FDA Services’ Hurricane Guide, “Storm Proof.” Be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season with articles about how to prepare, loss and damage, and making a claim. Visit fdaservices.com for more information.