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SurfCT Blog with Paul Vigario

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Traditional Braces v. Clear Aligners

Spending your adolescent years with crooked teeth is not an uncommon issue.  More than likely, you, or someone you know has gone through orthodontic treatment to help straighten permanent teeth after they’ve all grown in.  Similar to other dental technologies in the industry, braces have evolved from ancient methods to more traditional ones that we’re familiar with today.  However, in recent years, the “traditional” form of braces that we’re all generally used to, have also seen a major change. Enter: invisible aligners.

Invisible aligners are now used as a new alternative to traditional braces and a way to correct mild to moderate orthodontic issues without having a mouth full of metal brackets and wires.  While they’ve been around for a few years now, as of recently clear aligners are receiving a lot of attention due to the convenience of alignments kits that are shipped right to your door. Here are a few of the major benefits behind invisible aligners:

Convenience

One of the greatest reasons why individuals are transitioning from traditional braces to clear aligners is the ultimate form of orthodontic convenience.  Patients that opt for clear aligners have the ability to remove their aligners every time they eat and practice their dental hygiene routines.  With traditional braces, patients are often restricted from eating certain food items due to the risk of damaging brackets and having to make a trip back to the orthodontist for a fix.  However, clear aligners eliminate food restrictions as patients remove them before eating and no longer have to worry about damaging metal brackets and wires. Additionally, they’re extremely popular due to their seemingly “invisible” appearance; giving patients the opportunity to straighten their teeth, without having the appearance of metal brackets, wires, and bands in their mouth.

Improved Dental Hygiene

Traditional metal braces require extensive dental hygiene methods in order to keep teeth and gums healthy and clean.  Patients who have traditional braces often find it difficult to maintain proper oral health due to the obstruction of the metal applications across their teeth.  Poor dental hygiene while having traditional braces can result in the development of calcium deposits on the surface of their teeth, or swollen irritated gums that can lead to gingivitis and other serious health problems in the future.  Invisible aligners prove to be significantly more efficient when it comes to maintaining proper dental hygiene…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org

What is Digital Smile Design?

Technology in the dental industry has experienced many different innovations that have improved dental practices for both dental professionals and their patients.  As technology continues to evolve and develop, dental professionals are finding new ways to perfect traditional processes using new innovative developments. Digital Smile Design (DSD) is an innovative and unique dental treatment planning tool that helps enhance the vision, diagnostics, and predictability of dental professionals and how they work with their patients.  “SurfCT.com  is the exclusive DSD Technology provider” says Mr. Paul Vigario “and can assist in making your dental practice DSD ready, more efficient and technologically advanced with the most innovative developments throughout the dental industry, specifically, DSD and DSD Technology.”  “We are honored to be working with Dr. Christian Coachman and making his vision a reality with DSD Technology readily available for any dental practice that is ready to take things to the next level.”

So, what does DSD do for dental professionals and their patients?

Essentially, DSD provides dental professionals with an easy and efficient way to develop a dental treatment plan for their patients customized to their patients dental and facial proportions.  With the use of videos, mock-ups, and digital photographs, DSD technology can provide dental professionals with an accurate sense of the relationships between a patient’s gums, lips, and teeth, and ultimately how they work together to create a patient’s unique smile.  Additionally, DSD technology can assist dental professionals in diagnosing patient issues more effectively and accurately. “More patients say YES to treatment with DSD Technology designed specifically for the way you practice” says SurfCT.com founder, Mr. Paul Vigario.

On the patient side of the technology, DSD gives you a personalized view into the end result of your specific procedure.  The idea is to keep patients and dental professionals on the same page throughout the process while making it easy for patients to communicate their wants and needs about their design of their smile; essentially putting patients in full control of their desired result. When the necessary patient data and information is collected using DSD technology, it will then be imported into the software to provide a glimpse into what the patient can expect from the treatment…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.info  

Dental Imaging Game Changer: Dental Cone Beam CT

Dental imaging has seen a substantial amount of changes over the years.  From a simple classic X-ray to 3-D imaging technologies that are multi-purpose and provide dental professionals with accurate ways to diagnose problems, and plan for invasive and reconstructive oral procedures.  Dental Cone Beam CT, is known as a technology that changed the imaging game for the better, and drastically improved the way dental professionals can work with their patients.   

So, what is it exactly?  Dental Cone Beam CT, or Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is an advanced 3-D X-ray imaging system that provides dental professionals with a fast and easy way to answer different questions pertaining to a patient’s oral health.  Generally, this is used in situations where regular X-rays are unable to accurately capture oral images that could help diagnose specific issues. The major difference between CBCT and a traditional X-ray is the result. CBCT machines are used to provide 3-D images of dental structures, tissues, bone, and nerve paths in one single scan, as opposed to the 2-D image your dentist would receive from a traditional X-ray.  

You may require a CBCT scan if:

  • You need a surgical procedure such as an impacted tooth removal
  • You need a dental implant…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org 

A Brief History of Dental Technologies

Your routine visit to your dentist’s office is around the corner, and you’re starting to think about how the visit will go.  The tools that will be used; will you have to get an x-ray or even a small procedure? You may not realize it, but a visit to the dentist is packed with many different technologies that have not only evolved over the years, but are still changing, and will likely continue to change as time goes on.  Think back to your list visit: What were some of tools you remember your hygienist or dentist using? Handheld manual tools, ultrasonic cleaning tools, molds & X-rays? While it’s likely you’ve experienced these things during one visit or another, it’s interesting to think about where these high tech tools started.  

Toothbrushes

Something as simple as your toothbrush has gone through so many changes since it’s origination dating back to ancient China.  Fast forward to a more relevant time, the first nylon bristle toothbrush wasn’t manufactured until 1938. By 1960, electric toothbrushes were newly introduced into the market; and from there, they have seen significant changes that revolutionized the way they clean, from rotation (full or partial), to vibrating, and even a combination of both.  Today, you’ll see toothbrushes that almost act as “smart” brushes, with Bluetooth capabilities and ways to monitor brushing habits.

Dental Handpiece

Dental handpieces have been around since the early 18th century.  During those times, they were primarily used for manual drilling and extraction procedures; however, they were often hard to operate and made certain procedures rather tedious…

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.info

Digital Scanning, 3D Printing, and Dentistry

If you’ve been to the dentist or had braces, you’re likely all too familiar with gooey mouth impressions that most patients ultimately dread.  Not only is the process unpleasant, but the final product could take up to a few weeks to come in. The good news is, the days of impressions are beginning to coming to an end.  

Now, a trip to your dentist for any type of appliance that regularly requires a mold could be completed using scanning and 3D print technology.  If you have a dental appointment for a retainer or night guard, for example, your dentist may now wave a digital wand in your mouth that scans your teeth.  Once the scan is completed, it can be converted into a digital file and e-mailed to a 3D printer. The printer is typically located in the office or a dental lab, and it prints with FDA-approved materials.  The scan gives perfect measurements of your mouth and teeth so the dental 3D printer can create an appliance that fits properly.  

3D print technology is an extremely popular and sought after solution in the dental industry; from general dentistry and orthodontics to dental implants and prosthesis.  This new technology is not only much more efficient for the dentist and patient, but it is also more affordable and better customized for the individual patient’s needs. Some of the many products that are produced via 3D printing are:

  • Dental implants
  • Dentures
  • Crowns
  • Nightguards
  • Braces
  • Aligners
  • Surgical guides

These products traditionally require multiple molds and a significant period of time before they’re ready to be taken by the patient.  There is substantial proof that the 3D dental industry will quickly expand and change how patients meet their dental needs. While many offices still use traditional practices, the efficiency, patient experience, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing make a good argument for some technological upgrades.  

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To continue reading please visit paulvigario.org 

Is Your Dental Practice HIPAA Compliant?

In recent years, HIPAA compliance in the dental industry has gained the same level of importance as that of medical organizations.  In terms of Protected Health Information (PHI), dental practices are held to the same standard as the rest of the medical community and must adhere to the same level of privacy and security when it pertains to patient information.  HIPAA rules regarding patient privacy, security, and breach notification fully apply to a dental practice if it is considered a “covered entity” under HIPAA.

Dental practices that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA need to take the necessary steps to comply with all of the required regulations.  These steps include:

  • Appointing a HIPAA Privacy Official
  • Appointing a HIPAA Security Official
  • Creating a HIPAA compliance team
  • Perform risk analysis
  • Train workforce members (staff & employees)
  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Maintain ongoing compliance measures

An offices policies and procedures are an essential part to complying with HIPAA regulations.  Dental practices should review their privacy and security policies, and alter areas that don’t meet with HIPAA regulations.  HIPAA privacy regulations provide patients rights over their health information, including dental and billing records. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) patients have privacy rights to :

  • Ask for a change in their records
  • Ask a health care provider not to disclose their information
  • Ask a healthcare provider to communicate with them confidentially, at an alternative location or by alternative means  The healthcare provider is required to accommodate reasonable requests.

 

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To continue reading, please visit paulvigario.info

Cloudy with a 100% chance of success

SurfCT Cloud

How cloud-based dental technology is an industry “game changer”

You want to expand your practice but are tired of the costly and unreliable IT solutions for multi-practices. Your dental practice is growing, but your IT is not keeping up. You take one digital X-ray in one location, but you can’t see it at a second office.  You were recently told you need to purchase a new server…again! Are you a dental office, or are you an IT shop? The answer is obvious, so let’s get back to why you started a dental practice – to perform world-class dentistry, not troubleshoot an IT system.

Digital X-rays. Patient information. 3D images. Digital scans. Even staff training materials. So much information is stored on your office computers, and as your practice grows, that information continues to grow, as well. Opening a second or third location only increases your data and grows IT costs exponentially, while – traditionally – system reliability decreases, as a multi-site practice increases its IT demands across a wide area network.

I hear these concerns from dentist friends nationwide, often in the all too common phrase, “Please help me!” Why can’t I see an X-ray in my second office? Why does my system crash? Why is my IT budget more than ever – out of control?  I am a small it-cloud-computing-16375190_sbusiness, what is going on?

All this is part of the reason why we at SurfCT.com have embraced “the cloud.”  It’s our unbiased mission to help you with technology and recommend the best solutions for your practice.

I know what some of you are thinking: the cloud is a mystery; even the name conjures images of data floating somewhere just below the stratosphere. But those who know the benefits of this revolutionary technology and have embraced its genius say they can’t imagine running an efficient practice without it.  Like the time they found that incredibly reliable car or met that perfect someone, they sometimes wonder what life was like before they were introduced. Do you remember what life was like without a cell phone?

Will the cloud solve every issue you may face in your dental practice? No. We’re not going to make promises we can’t keep. What we can do is give you the facts. Consider these benefits of cloud technology:

  • For multi-location practices, you can access practice management and digital X-rays in real time, from anywhere, any time, with the feeling of local level reliability across all offices, including 3D CBCT images.  Every location operates with same, fast and reliable.
  • Data is accessible across multiple mobile devices such as tablets, phones or any mobile device without the need for expensive communication lines.
  • Complete Cloud offers security technology that ensures your data is safe and HIPAA compliant.
  • Your data is stored on a secure, complete cloud system, providing 24-7-365 access to all of your system’s information. Practice management, Digital X-rays, Imaging, Scans and everything else that is part of your system.
  • IT costs are dramatically reduced, as no server or heavy computing power is needed at a local level, since the cloud can process and crunch your information for you.dental-office-cloud-computing-screen_shot_2015-10-12_at_3_12_00_pm_1024
  • Storage capacity is unlimited and scalable with the cloud, allowing your practice to grow or downsize depending on your current needs.
  • Data backups are secure, instantaneous, automatic and happen in the cloud.
  • Software updates are done in the cloud, reducing office downtime for updates and multiple sites can be updated with the click of a button – virtually instantaneously.
  • Traditional IT headaches from data backup and server maintenance are eliminated.
  • Minimal staff training is needed.

With all of these system maintenance headaches eliminated, this allows you to work with a company like SurfCT.com to refocus on productivity, practice growth, treatment planning systems – creating an overall patient experience that has more patients saying “YES!”

With system-designed technology that creates results, that serves a purpose  – that purpose ultimately being individualized to achieve your vision faster within your dental practice, ultimately creating your bliss. It’s a dream come true for any doctor, office manger, or consultant, looking to focus on elevating a practice. cloud_stock_2_by_aisac

BEWARE!

Not all clouds are the same.  There are many types of clouds – including software clouds and complete cloud technology – and they are quite different.

Unlike many cloud-based technology companies, we at SurfCT.com have the ability to put ALL of your technologies into a complete, private cloud that serves your practice – we are not just putting one piece of your system in the cloud, as is often seen when someone puts their Practice Management in the cloud but can’t put imaging, office documents or financials. We at SurfCT.com can design a complete cloud solution that places everything in one complete cloud for your practice, designed for the way you practice. This is not about serving a brand or particular product: is about serving your practice and its systems.

Sound too good to be true? Then why is it that when my friend took a picture of the Great Wall of China, I was able to see that within seconds in New York City. He was across the world, and I was able to see it. You see, Facebook was designed with purpose.

At the same time, there are thousands of multi-location practices that cannot take a digital image in one location and see it down the street quickly and efficiently. Of course this doesn’t make sense in 2016: there is a better way.

While we at SurfCT.com like to design dream systems with purpose for our clients, we certainly don’t have our heads in the clouds, so to speak. We are being realistic when we say cloud-based technology is a game changer when designed properly for your practice. It will make high quality IT affordable and accessible for everyone, allowing you to focus on growing your practice.

When your technology system is designed properly, this feeling and sense of purpose is automated and strong enough to give you peace of mind in your dental practice and the means to control your own destiny. You want to move to a larger, more visible location? You want to expand your business? You want to access practice information, complete tasks while sitting on a train with your smart phone in hand? Cloud-based technology makes it not only possible but easily attainable. It’s not about the technology: it’s about what it can do for your life, your practice, your team and your patients.

Learn more about how cloud-based technology can help your practice by contacting SurfCT.com.

About SurfCT.com

At SurfCT,.com, we pride ourselves on non-biased technology knowledge, complete integration, and a curiosity and thirst to understand your individual vision for your practice so that we can build a custom tailored system to achieve your goals.


About Paul Vigario

Vigario

Paul Vigario, the founder and president of SurfCT.com – the Dental Information Technology Company. SurfCT.com has helped expand the Dental IT field by educating and supporting the dental community since itlaunched in 2003. Vigario is widely identified an industry leader in the areas of dental technology, cloud technology, ergonomics, integration, installation, paperless practices, technical support and complete technology office design. Email him at Paul@SurfCT.com

EMV Chip Credit Cards – What You Need To Know

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In the past month, I’ve had 14 dental clients ask me about security chip credit card processing. They have heard a lot about it on the news but are unclear about what it means for their business and dental practice.

This blog is written out of a necessity to explain the impact this can have on your business, reputation and dental practice.

Nearly 32 million U.S. consumers had their credit cards breached in 2014, more than three times the number affected in 2013, researchers say.

Consumers might not know that exact statistic, but they certainly know the number of people impacted by fraud is high and becoming more of a problem.

People are demanding that their banks do more to protect them against thieves, and banks are listening. As of Oct. 1, businesses – and that includes dental practices – that do not have a security chip processing device could be liable for fraudulent credit card transactions, according to the Better Business Bureau, or BBB. Credit card security chip as padlockOften called an EMV card – which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three processing firms that first agreed to the standards in 2002 – you may have also heard them referred to as chip-and-PIN cards, or smart cards. They have a computer chip inside that stores card account data. Unlike a magnetic stripe card, every time a security chip card is used for payment, the chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be reused – therefore stifling would-be hackers and thieves.

These cards are widespread in Europe and other parts of the world, and are being rolled out rapidly in the U.S.

Have you noticed all the new credit cards you’ve been getting in the mail? Notice anything different about them – like the chip on the front?

There is a reason banks are investing in them – card chips are credited with dropping Europe’s fraud rate by 64 percent, according to the BBB. The bureau states that most of the world, including Europe, has been using chip cards for years, and that the U.S. is actually the last major market still using magnetic-stripe-only cards.

Thus, almost half of the world’s credit card fraud now happens in the U.S., even though only half of all credit card transactions happen here.

Why? It’s low-hanging fruit for hackers and thieves. Those who do not have chip card processing will be easy targets for thieves trying to make a quick buck at your financial expense – and worse – your business and dental practice reputation.

So how important is business reputation? Important enough where credit card companies are now paying millions of dollars to replace old cards with new chip cards and to educate their clients about their value. News stories about chip cards are making national headlines and people are learning there is a more secure way to pay for goods than using the old, unreliable magnetic stripes.

So what do you do about this as a dental practice owner?

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Those of you who have not become compliant and will not before Oct. 1 should not panic – there are many others in your boat. But it’s a good idea to start planning for a way to become compliant because the liability for a credit card that is stolen is shifting onto the business entity that is not compliant.  As of Oct. 1, banks will be 100 percent compliant. Therefore, if a merchant is presented with a chip card and has the capability to swipe the magnetic strip – but is unable to process the chip – the merchant is the one that is not compliant, and will be liable for loss. You will have to pay the bank for the damages.

However, if the merchant is presented with a fraudulent magnetic stripe card only, the loss will go to the card-issuing bank, as it does today.

The liability of the charges falls on the side who has the least technology, and was not compliant.  Sound familiar?  This is much adopted from the philosophy of “standard of care”.

Now that you have your new card in the mail, so do your patients and customers. They feel secure with it because not only does the new card generate a one-time number to identify the specific transaction, but it is also more difficult to counterfeit or copy.emv-terminal

“Even if the card data and the one-time code are stolen, the card would get denied because the one-time code has already been used,” the BBB states on its website.

In order to stay current and compliant with new regulations, businesses need a new payment processing device to read chip cards using either ‘card dipping’ – where the chip-end of the card is inserted into a slot – or a terminal scanner that picks up the chip data when the card is placed either on or near the scanner.

We have a complete solution that is cost-effective to help implement this technology into your dental practice.

If you’d like to learn more about how not to be the one responsible for fraudulent charges – and protect your business and practice reputation – contact SurfCT.com today for a complete, no charge assessment.


Ways To Reach Us:

You can reach us by email at info@SurfCT.com, by Chat on our website www.SurfCT.com  or

call us at 888-377-8206 ext 0 and mention code: EMV Secure for a special offer.


About SurfCT.com

At SurfCT, we pride ourselves on non-biased technology knowledge, complete integration, and a curiosity and thirst to understand your individual vision for your practice so that we can build a custom tailored system to achieve your goals.


About Paul Vigario

Vigario

Paul Vigario, the founder and president of SurfCT.com – the Dental Information Technology Company. SurfCT.com has helped expand the Dental IT field by educating and supporting the dental community since it launched in 2003. Vigario is widely identified an industry leader in the areas of dental technology, cloud technology, ergonomics, integration, installation, paperless practices, technical support and complete technology office design. Email him at Paul@SurfCT.com

Are you protected?

check55

Greed is defined in the Bible as one of the seven deadly sins and the “root of all evil.” The Torah prohibits obtaining money wrongfully. The Qur’an views greed as a distraction from God.

Although just about every major religion in the world condemns greed, it still rears its ugly head in society every day. And as much as we don’t want to admit it or even broach this uncomfortable subject, many of us will one day employ someone who is so greedy that he/she will attempt to steal from us, even though we pay them a competitive salary, offer them good benefits and treat them well.

For more than a decade, I’ve had countless conversations with dentists from the quiet rural areas of Massachusetts and Connecticut, to the bustling streets of Manhattan; they confide in me that they had an employee or two who has stolen from them. Many times, it is someone who is high within the trust circle of their practice. I’ve spoken to dentists who have had once trusted employees turn on them and steal between $15,000 to $80,000, over time.

While this is not a subject they are comfortable speaking about at the family dinner table, they will tell a trusted IT partner because they are looking for ways to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Technology can help monitor these activities well in the early stages so that people are caught, which can contain and limit the amount of damage to the business and practice.

etc_elephantroom50__01__630x420Embezzlement is the elephant in the room for many businesses and practices, but we have to get comfortable talking about it because it does happen. Many small businesses do not have a system of checks and balances the way they should, like corporations have – a process to root out untrustworthy employees. There are wonderful technologies out there that can help you keep an eye not only on the money in your office but also keep you in compliance with the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA.

We don’t think every company or practice has someone who embezzles, but we want to make sure our clients are protected. Dentists who utilize our affordable technology systems that can help keep track of what is happening in their offices have peace of mind. If anyone gains access to a computer after hours, or off peak hours (and usually that is when this happens because trusted team members have keys to the building and remote access to computer systems) our technology alerts you so you can go back to that moment in time and see exactly what it was your employees were doing. If they are working hard and ethically, that is wonderful. However, if they are doing something they are not supposed to, would you know?Fullscreen capture 8182015 124614 AM.bmp

You can now capture that moment in time. It’s all about peace of mind. If employees are doing good work, that is important to know, as well; it’s nice to know what your team members are up to. The technology allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your practice, even when you are not able to be at the office.

We’ve put these systems in place all over the country and unfortunately we’ve seen people cutting checks at weird hours of the day to the wrong people. And while we hate to see that, it’s amazing how well the technology is able to trace back to the culprit in virtually real time.

So I thought I would share this with our faithful readers to let them know while embezzlement is a something people are afraid to speak about, you are not alone. You are running a business, you are busy. Still, many dentists who fall victim to embezzlement feel they should have been on top of what was happening and often blame themselves. But if someone breaks into your house and robs you, you can’t start blaming yourself, right?

12666042_lWhile many of us protect ourselves and our families at home, we should be protecting our place of business, as well. The nice thing about living in a technological world is that when you apply technology properly, you are going to get amazing results. There are some nice, cost-effective strategies out there that can help track and monitor what is happening on your network. And these systems are not just designed for embezzlement, they are also designed to help you stay secure and complaint with patient information and HIPAA laws.

Putting the right technology systems in place can help your team feel more accomplished and make sure everyone is doing what is necessary to help the practice grow and stay the proper course for success. It’s good for the doctor, the team and the patients. Technology applied properly and with purpose can help you achieve your vision faster in the safest and most productive way. You will be protected and enjoy the peace of mind and benefits of these business monitoring, shielding and extraordinary goal-oriented systems. Are you protected? Are you ready to learn and see what our smart systems can do to empower your practice?

For more information, visit SurfCT.com.

Vigario

Paul Vigario, the founder and president of SurfCT.com – the Dental Information Technology Company. SurfCT.com has helped expand the Dental IT field by educating and supporting the dental community since it launched in 2003. Vigario is widely identified an industry leader in the areas of dental technology, cloud technology, ergonomics, integration, installation, paperless practices, technical support and complete technology office design.  Email him at Paul@SurfCT.com 

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