Your Practice Computer Security – The Russians Are Coming!

crime-scene-computerI had a bit of a scare yesterday.  The first thing in the morning, my office manager told me she couldn’t get the computer at the front desk working.  There was a pop-up window saying my hard drive was full.  Whaaaaaaa??   Sure enough, there it was.  Whisky.  Tango.  Foxtrot!  The computer had pretty much frozen up.  I could barely get it to do anything.

The computer has a 500 Gig hard drive, and I knew it couldn’t be even more than half full.  No way.  I checked the properties of the hard drive.  It was full.  But, full of what?  How??

Had I been hacked?  Did we get a virus?  Am I a victim of ransomware??  Please!  Not that!  Does Vladimir Putin have a vendetta against me?  I bet it’s those fucking Russians!  😉  Though, we didn’t get a pop-up ransom notice, so it probably wasn’t that.  I hope not!  But, I was sweating bullets!

I’ve got a guy!

So, I had my office manager call one of my local dentist friends for a recommendation for a “computer guy,” STAT!  Usually, the “computer guy” is ME.  I’m pretty tech-savvy, but I was too panicked Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Technology, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The ADA “Values” My Opinion

Last night, I received an email with a link to a survey from the ADA.  Their records show I’m not a member and they want my input.  It was obvious they are becoming concerned about declining membership.

Subject:  Tell us what you think.


Dear Doctor: 

The American Dental Association is interested in your perceptions about member value and opinions about ADA membership. Upon completion of this survey, you will be entered to WIN one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

<link redacted>

Your participation is voluntary, but we would very much like your opinion. Please note that your answers to this survey are completely confidential and are only reported in aggregate. This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.  

We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us. If you have any questions concerning this survey, please feel free to contact me at 312.440.2864 or by replying to this email.

Please complete the survey by December 15. Thank you in advance for your assistance with helping us to collect this important information.


Chris C. Mitchell
Director, Membership Marketing and Research


The questions were fairly predictable… asking about my prior experience and satisfaction with what the ADA has done.  They asked about my expectations of the ADA…. and so on.  Rating them on various categories with a range from “disatisfied” to “very satisfied” or “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.”  At the very end, there was an opportunity to write additional comments in a text box.

This is what I wrote: Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Editorial, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Second Amendment Firearms Database – Software Review

Gun collector software appA few years ago, I reviewed a program designed to help gun owners document and archive important information about their firearms, related accessories, and ammunition.  While I liked the old program I was using, the developer has apparently abandoned the project.  My copy of the old program had become buggy, and there’s no support for it anymore.   Fortunately, I recently discovered a new gun database program that is fantastic.  It’s superior in many ways.  It’s called Your Second Amendment Firearms Database (or “2AFDB” as an abbreviation later in this article).

There are a number of data points about your firearms, ammo, and related accessories you might want to keep recorded or track:

  • Receipts and other paper documents (scanned or photographed)
  • Acquired / purchased from source
  • Price paid / current value
  • Serial numbers
  • Round count (rounds fired through each gun – an “odometer,” so to speak)
  • Photos
  • Accessories
  • Maintenance and repair records
  • Modifications
  • Insurance
  • Ammunition inventory
  • Range and training log
  • Disposition / location (Is it in the safe?  Is it in the shop?  Did you loan it to someone?  Sell it?)

Why?  I can think of a few reasons.  Such records can help if you ever sell any of your firearms.  They can help in the case of loss (fire, flood, theft) for insurance claims and police reports.  They can also help diagnose issues by having a history of each gun, ammo, and your usage.  Another reason is for your own personal knowledge of how your guns are being used (a logbook), their condition, and value.  It increases your enjoyment of owning and using firearms.

Yeah, but do I need an app for that?

Sure, you could use a piece of paper in the old file cabinet or even a spreadsheet to do this.  But, a functionally-designed relational database has so much more to offer Continue reading

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Posted in Guns & Knives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dental Warrior Blog Stats!

I checked my blog dashboard today. It turns out that in 6 years, I’ve written the equivalent of three novels or two “thrillers.” 😎


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Posted in Dental Warrior Announcements | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fixing an Overprepped Tooth







Today’s challenge was a tooth #2 belonging to my former hygienist.  An all-ceramic crown fractured in half and debonded.  It had been endodontically treated before.  The tooth was under-prepped occlusally and over-prepped  and over-tapered axially, particularly on the distal.  The existing prep had very little retention and resistance form…. really NONE.  I couldn’t re-prep it as it was.  I needed to recreate some of the lost tooth structure.

Three different views of the prep as it presented pre-operatively.

Three different views of the prep as it presented pre-operatively.  Note the over-prepped axial surfaces.

So, I roughened / freshened the axial walls by “dusting” it with a diamond bur and removed a millimeter or two of the core build-up on the occlusal.  I couldn’t get a metal Tofflemire band to engage the tooth.  There was nothing for it to “grab,” as the tooth was turned into a “teepee” by the previous dentist.  The band would just slip off as it was tightened.  Then I found some old crown core forms in the back closet.  They were made by Pentron.  But, they’ve been discontinued!  Editing to add:  I found a similar product from EDS.  Scroll down this EDS webpage page to see the product.  But, the webpage lacks a “BUY” button for the core forms.  Give them a call to order it.  Continue reading

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Posted in Case Presentation, Clinical Technique | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Dr. MacGyver Rocks You Like a Hurricane!

macgyver2-closeupLast week, just before the hurricane was predicted to strike, my office manager texted me on a Tuesday evening, “Broke my #9 off at the gum line!”  Yeah… not a good look for a cosmetically-oriented dental practice front desk, eh?

As it turns out, Wednesday’s schedule had pretty much fallen apart.  People were freaking out about the approaching Category 4 Hurricane, “Matthew.”  Gas stations had lines for blocks.  Supermarket shelves were being cleared by panicky citizens.  The office phone was silent.  hurricane-matthewDental care falls to the bottom of the priority list during a hurricane (unless they’re in pain… a lot of pain).

I didn’t have a lot of time to document everything.  We all wanted to get home to prepare for the storm.  So, this is a quick and dirty presentation.  (I’ll add an image of the radiograph when I get back to the office.)


Old crown, partially cleaned up.

The long-term viability of the tooth is certainly in question.  But, Hurricane Matthew was bearing down.  Jo-Ann just wanted her front tooth back!


Not much there to for retention, eh?

The first thing I did was just see if the existing crown still “fit” on the remaining root structure.  The margins seated fine all the way around.  Continue reading

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Posted in Case Presentation | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Do-It-Yourself Ortho Aligners? Same Thing, Right?

It’s been a long time since I have written a blog post.  No excuses.  Life is busy with family and other concerns, and I’ve not been inspired… until now.

Tele-dentistry?  Tele-braces?

sdc-diyMany of you may have already heard about online companies offering do-it-yourself orthodontic clear aligners.  For many of us, the instinctive reaction is to scoff or laugh at such a silly notion.  Some will dismiss the news and suggest that P.T. Barnum had it right about a “sucker being born every minute.”  I suppose the consensus might initially be summed up with the single-worded vernacular, “WhatevAR!”  What’s next?  Do your own crown preps?  Tele-crowns?

I submit that we not make such assumptions about the public who decide to go down this path.  To be clear, this article is not intended to impugn the folks that pursue a course of self-treatment.  Rather, I suggest we do our best to educate them, realizing that it may fall on deaf ears with assumptions about our efforts being self-serving.  It’s simply human nature to jump to that conclusion.

No worries, right?  If you visit this consumer review webpage and see their clients’ “before & afters,” you’ll likely be quite amused at the “results.”

Of course, we have many well-founded clinical concerns and objections to the concept of self-diagnosis and self-treatment.  No need to review them here.  The intended audience of this blog is dentists.  As dentists, we know what they are.  The club claims that each case is “reviewed” by a licensed dentist.  The clients send in cell phone selfies of their smiles and self-administered impressions from the kit sent by the club.  That’s it.  Consider the standard of care here.  How many of us would treat patients orthodontically without a comprehensive examination prior to treatment?  These “hired guns” are approving cases based solely on selfies and models (of dubious quality)?  No x-rays?  No perio evaluation?  Caries or defective restorations identified?  Fixed bridges or splinted crowns?  Impacted teeth?  Implants?  Retained deciduous teeth?

Can you imagine what might happen to any of us practicing dentists who did that with patients of record?  If any of us started moving teeth without any attention to those details, we’d be practicing below the standard of care and at great risk for liability.  It would be indefensible in court.  Yet, these “tele-health” companies get away with it.  But, the real point is that it’s possibly detrimental to the “patients.”

Best Frenemies Forever?

Recently, Align Technologies (Invisalign) purchased part of the club and is making their aligners for them.  The folks at Align tried to assuage the concerns of dentists by claiming they just want to be “ahead” of the trend (of self-treatment or “tele-dentistry”) and that the aligners they make for the club are not the same technology as Invisalign brand aligners.  Furthermore, in the merger announcement, Align said, “30% of the club’s interested customers do not qualify using the club protocols.”  Yeah…  Remember that 68% of all statistics are made up 93% of the time.  😉  Looking at the club page, I’m hard-pressed to find a case that was turned away by club.

The club claims that every case is “reviewed” by a licensed dentist.  Word on the street (DentalTown) is that they hire dentists in each state to look at the selfies and impressions (remotely, I assume) for $50 a pop.  Fifty bucks.  Wow.  For the record, I have not verified this.  It is hearsay.  I wonder if there is an incentive to “approve?”  Do the dentists get paid the same measly $50 if they use their judgement and reject a case?  Who takes on the liability if / when the case goes south and the “patient” is looking for compensation or reparations?

It’s the same thing!

The problem with that is that the club will certainly market this as “made by Invisalign,” and consumers will perceive it to be the same.

To wit… Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Editorial | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Do You Know What’s in Your Website? Are You Sure?

This article has been sitting in the “draft” folder for a while.  I’ve written, lectured, and pontificated many times about my position that dentists should be creating their own website content.  I’m not saying they need to create the actual website.  I’m talking about the CONTENT.  Content is king.  I’ve said it a googol times (pun intended)!

But, this article is about a different angle on content.  The reality is that most dental websites are chock-full of canned content provided by the website developer.

Aaagh! Patients do NOT want to see this!

Aaagh! Patients do NOT want to see this!

Most of it is harmless (and nearly useless) encyclopedic, canned content.  It’s the usual, “here’s what a root canal is” and “here’s a cartoon drawing of an implant in your jawbone.”

Besides not contributing to the content, many dentists may not even know what’s in their own website.  They wanted a website and wrote a check.  They may have taken a quick look at their own site.  They probably sent a link to their friends and their moms.  They also took a quick peek and marveled at how “nice” it looks.  And, most of them DO look “nice.”  They’re pretty.  They have cool special effects and pleasing color schemes along with the same stock photos of that pretty blond girl.

I once found a website that had the references to the dentist… by another dentist’s name!  They had the wrong name and the wrong city.  It was apparently a boilerplate site, but the website “developer” forgot to change the name and location!

But, what’s REALLY in their websites?  Does the content reflect the dentist’s philosophy?  Personality?  Style of practice?  Style of communication?  If the dentist actually looked at EVERY page, would he or she approve of the content?  Is it congruent with his or her practice?

Now that I’ve got you thinking about those seemingly benign questions… What if there was something more nefarious buried in your site?  Hiding in plain sight?  Continue reading

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Posted in Marketing, Websites | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Defensive Mindset – Mental Rehearsals

car-thieves-work-hereThis post was inspired by a friend who recently told a story on Facebook about finding burglars trying to break into her family’s cars at 4:00 am.  She and her husband went outside (both armed) to investigate.  But, by the time they came out, the car alarms had apparently scared off the bad guys.  And, that’s a good outcome.  But, it could have gone a number of ways… some possibly very bad.

When you take on the responsibility of your own security / safety by arming yourself, besides the technical training and practice and knowledge of your state’s laws…. It can be useful to mentally run scenarios in your head.  You should also discuss these scenarios with your spouse or housemates.

In this scenario, you are alerted that someone is trying to break into or steal your car.  How you react can have a cascade of effects.  It’s worth considering these possibilities BEFORE you encounter these situations.  Let’s do some mental “walk-throughs” of this case together: Continue reading

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Posted in Personal Security & Safety | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Avoid the “Monkey Dance” with Road Ragers


Not the dude in this story.

Last night, at about 7pm (still daylight), I was taking my son to “stick and puck” at the hockey rink.  I live in a semi-rural area.  I  was going down a road that “Ts” into another road (3-way intersection with a 1-way stop.  Image below).   Both are two-lane roads.  A dude in a Mercedes AMG with darkly-tinted windows is in front of me and arrives at the stop sign.  We’re both signaling to turn right, which is how the traffic always goes at this intersection.  He stops… but, he’s not going.  I look to the left to see if he was waiting for oncoming traffic.  Nope.  There was no traffic AT ALL coming from the left.  The road is clear.  I wait for a moment… and another moment.  He’s still not going.  I suspect he’s probably on his phone, like SO many drivers around here.  There is enough space between us that I could go around him.  So, I do just that.  I swing out to the left side of his car and proceed to make the right turn around his stationary car.  (see illustration below)

None shall pass!

He apparently takes GREAT exception to this and pulls out to the right simultaneously (and hits the throttle hard).  He’s NOT going to let me get around him.  OK, no problem.  I’m not going to race, and my Camry isn’t going to get ahead of an AMG Mercedes.   😉   I back off to drop in behind him, and he brake checks me.  Then Continue reading

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Posted in Personal Security & Safety, What Happened Today | Tagged , | 2 Comments