Dental software can help inform patients about gum disease

April 28th, 2014

Dental enterprise software helps to increase communication between patients and adults, which can improve patient knowledge of conditions like gum disease. According to a new report from the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition across the world. While it can be easily treated if not prevented, it remains prevalent, likely due to a lack of information.

Nearly half of U.S. adults over 30 suffer from periodontal diseases – about 64 million people. If dentists were able to better communicate with patients, there could be fewer individuals dealing with gum disease.

While the effects of gum disease, which include swollen gums and bad breath, can seem relatively mild, the long-term effects may be more serious, the report indicated. The inflammation can spread to surrounding tissue and cause eventual bone loss. In addition, research has shown there may be a connection between gum disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In short, periodontal disease can be a serious problem. By increasing efforts to communicate with patients, oral clinics may be able to reach out to patients and encourage them to improve oral hygiene and come in for more frequent appointments.

Dental software can help bridge the gap
Many studies have found that utilizing electronic health records and utilizing digital tools connected to these systems facilitates communication between doctors and patients. For dental practices, this means implementing dental enterprise software could make it easier for dentists and oral hygienists to talk to people about oral health.

EHR Intelligence cited research from the Journal of Clinical Oncology that found electronic health records can improve relationships between doctors and patients and open up channels of communication. The researchers used email alerts to maintain contact with patients about important issues related to their health. When oncologists received email alerts, they were more likely to discuss serious clinical issues, like creating an end-of-life plan for chronically ill patients.

While this study cited serious incidents, electronic record keeping systems can simply make life easier for patients, doctors and dentists. With an organized digital system, dentists are better able to keep track of the individuals in their database, making operations more efficient. With dental software, oral care practitioners can easily see when a patient hasn't come into the office in a while, and a digital solution can make it easy to see what issues that person may be suffering from.

Through whatever channels are easiest, dentists can identify patients with a history of gum disease and reach out to them with information about preventing or managing this problem.

Patient portals allow easy access
On the other hand, many patients these days like to access information on their own time. Dental school software often includes a patient portal that allows self-access from home. Increasingly, people prefer to use digital channels to communicate with their health care providers. By providing an outlet for these clients, dental practices can also improve their customer service by giving patients the access they want.

Patient portals can be beneficial for practices and customers because they often improve the accuracy of information. When people can log in and update their own information, they can make sure it is always up to date. These systems can often be updated with additional features as well. For instance, patients can sign up to receive email alerts and make sure their contact information is correct. Some facilities also upload educational materials that patients can peruse at their leisure.

By posting information about periodontal disease, dentists might be able to encourage patients to improve their oral care habits at home. At the very least, they can send a message alerting these individuals that it's time for an appointment.

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