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5 essential items for a modern dental practice

September 03, 2020

By David Burger

Elk Grove Village, Ill. — Dr. Brian Homann realized something pretty early on when he purchased his Chicago-area practice several years ago and was looking to update it.

Photo of Dr. Homann
Dr. Homann
“My number one question is always, ‘Will this improve the quality of care or quality of the experience that the patient receives in our office?’”

Buying equipment and supplies can be a daunting task for new dentists, but Dr. Homann relied on the experience of other dentists when it came time to outfit his office, both at the onset and during the years since.

“There had been items that I was sure I wanted, but then I actually held them in my hand, tried them out, and determined it wasn’t something I wanted to integrate into my practice,” Dr. Homann said. “As far as who I ask, I often find that colleagues that practice similar to me are a great source of information. I have gotten great recommendations for products and equipment from dentists who I trust and respect. They are also most likely to be honest about things they haven’t had a good experience with.” 

As for what is essential for a modern practice, Dr. Homann quickly learned that there were five pieces of equipment that were essential for his modern office:

1. An intraoral camera that connects to a screen that patients can see. “The intraoral camera was incredibly important in helping to develop a trusting relationship with patients,” he said. “As a new, young dentist, trust had to be earned. One great way to help build trust was to show the patient exactly what I was looking at.”
2. A digital radiography system. The practice he purchased has been utilizing analog radiographs.
3. Digital charts, as opposed to the paper charts the previous dentist had been keeping.
4. Practice management software.
5. A phone. “I am eight years out of dental school and I still try to learn and grow every day. One fantastic way to do that is to pick up your phone and call your specialists, your classmates or people in your study club. Any time I have ever called another dentist, they have always been more than happy to share their knowledge and experiences.”

The ADA Dental Product Guide, at ADA.org/en/publications/ada-dental-product-guide,  is an easy-access directory to the supplies, equipment and services available to help make dental practices a success. This guide also allows dentists to get more information on dental materials and equipment by communicating directly with dental manufacturers and distributors.