Amalgam wars; Protect that data!

Dear member:

Whether it's saving teeth or saving data, there's always a controversy involved. Fools that we are, we decided to tackle one of the biggest, most contentious, and longest running debates in dentistry. (No, we're not talking about occlusion. That's to come.) I refer, of course, to amalgam AKA silver mercury fillings AKA The End of The World As We Know It.

Well, one camp claims that amalgam fillings are pumping our bodies full of mercury, destroying our immune systems, giving us Alzheimer's, and causing the stock market to tumble. Another camp (including the ADA) says, "Tosh! Amalgam is proven safe, effective, affordable, a heck of a restorative material, and oh, by the way, have you seen what's in composites?"

To get some answers on the current State of the Filling, we turned to long-time journalist (and former biologist) Laura Lane. After reviewing the history of the debate (which stretches back several eons), reviewing the studies, talking to the experts on both sides, and getting sick of the whole topic, she's delivered a neat and trim look at what's real, what's speculation, and ultimately, what you can tell your patients about amalgam fillings. Check out Part I of her story here.

PCs to the rescue

To be competitive, you've got to stay on top of not only dental technology, but PC technology, too. But how should you network your PCs and server? What's the easiest and most reliable way of backing up your financial, patient, and clinical data? Luckily, PC maven Dr. Larry Emmott comes to the rescue with some hard-earned advice. He'll guide you on your choice of servers (RAID 1, sĂ­; RAID 5, no!). He'll tell you why the configuration of your front desk and operatory PCs should differ, and alas, when to replace all this stuff and start all over again. Perhaps just as important, he talks about his own backup scheme and how it may work for you, too.

Emmott's bottom line? Don't do tech for tech's sake; use it to enhance the patient relationship. Patients "want to be known, recognized, and valued ... they crave high touch. It's not about bits and bytes and data, it is about the human system."

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