The Most Important Technology Decision You Will Make as a Dentist, by Travis Rodgers

In Business by Dental Entrepreneur

The most important technology decision you make as a dentist is what practice management system you select for your dental practice. Take your time in making the decision because once you are in, it is difficult and costly to get out. Keep in mind that there is not one that is “perfect” and that each has their strengths and weaknesses. You just need to follow a process to find which one is right for you.


It may seem self-explanatory, but dental practice management software is a tool for dentists and teams to oversee day-to-day operation. The capabilities of these products can include charting, scheduling, treatment planning, document storage, and much more.


The clearer you are with what you are looking for, the more likely you are to make the right choice the first time. Spend time putting together your list of requirements and create a checklist of features you must have and features you want to have. I have a checklist I can provide you with upon request.

Get your team involved. Your team will be one of the best sources of information. Getting your team involved early is key to a successful implementation of your system. Just because a team member has experience with another system, doesn’t mean it is the right system for your practice. Keep an open mind. By using a requirements checklist, you will make the decision less biased and less emotional.

Once you have a finalized requirements list, go out and get as many demos of the systems as you can. Most of these systems don’t have free trials because they require extensive implementations, but they will all give you extensive demos. Look at both on-premise server based and cloud based products and don’t just base your decision on price. Once you have narrowed down your selection to three vendors, ask for customer references. Online dentist forums are also a great source of customer references.


If you Google “dental practice management systems”, hundreds of links will show up claiming they are “the top system”. Beware that most of these are biased and purchased reviews. Start with the systems you know. Get demos of the systems you currently use or have used. Most of these companies invest a lot in development each year so they are constantly evolving.

Evaluate a few systems you have never heard of. There are new systems entering the market each year. If you make your decision based on who has the most dental clients or who has been around the longest, you may get stuck with outdated technology. If you choose something too new, you may find that it may not integrate with the add-on services you love.


You should demand that your practice management system integrates openly and at no cost to other third-party systems. The 21st Century Cures Act requires that these systems integrate, but more than anything, open integration makes these systems better. One of the keys to finding a good long term practice management system is to know who is the most open to integrating other systems into their systems. This should be one of your non-negotiable requirements.


There are two major categories of systems. With an on-premise system you need to purchase and manage an in-office server. With a cloud-based system you need to make sure you have reliable internet. The size, type, and number of locations are all factors to consider. Here are a few of the most popular dental management systems you can choose from, based on your needs.


Dentrix – Dentrix has the largest market share of the systems with about 50k users. It is owned by Henry-Schein, so it is almost always in consideration. They do provide integration to other systems but charge for the integration and often limit who they will integrate. It is an older system, but because so many team members have experience with Dentrix, it is often their first choice. https://www.

Eaglesoft – Owned by Patterson, Eaglesoft is second in market share and has pockets of happy users around the USA. Their integration is more limited than others, so it limits the expandability of Eaglesoft. With over 30k users, it is easy to find team members that are familiar with how to use it.

Open Dental – Open Dental is quickly gaining market share from its larger competitors because of its openness to integration and low price point. It is privately owned, so development and support can sometimes be harder to find, but with over 20k users and growing, Open Dental is one to consider.


Carestack – Carestack is designed as an all-in-one, cloud-based dental management software solution. Originally built for larger multi-location organizations, Carestack is quickly gaining market share in the single practice area. Carestack has the largest development team in the cloud-based system category, so they are constantly adding new features. Their integration is limited, so make sure an “all-in-one” solution is right for you.

Curve Hero – Curve was the first cloud-based practice management system and a few years ago they were purchased by a private equity group who has invested considerably into the product. If you looked at Curve in the past, you may want to look again. With over 40k users, they are the most widely adopted cloud DPMS. https://

Dentrix Ascend – While the regular version of Dentrix system is run locally, Dentrix Ascend is specifically designed for use in the cloud. If someone has used the in-office version of Dentrix, sometimes they find the cloud version to be limited, but Henry-Schein continues to make significant investments in the product, so it is worth a look.

Fuse – Fuse is Patterson’s cloud system, but it doesn’t resemble its in-office counterpart, Eaglesoft. Fuse is a late entry into the space, but they are working hard to catch up and it will be one to consider in the future.

Planet DDS – Another cloud-based platform that is quickly gaining traction, Planet DDS made its debut in the DSO market but now works with practices of all sizes. It is specifically designed to accommodate growth and should be one to consider. https://

Tab32 – One of the smaller players that is making headway is Tab32. They have one of the cleanest interfaces of all the practice management systems and have a promising future in the cloud-based category.

Asprodental – Asprodental has only been around a few years, but they’re disrupting the market. Their all-in-one software includes most of the features other software charges extra for. They also have a unique One Page Chart feature that shows all patient info on one screen. Asprodental is one to watch.


The software platforms above are all mostly designed for general dentistry practices. However, if your practice focuses on a particular dental specialty, then you might prefer to get a software management system that caters to that focus. For instance, if you’re an orthodontist, Orthotrac, Dolphin, and Cloud9 are designed for your needs. Oral surgeons will want to check out DSN and WinOMS. And TDO Endo and EndoVision are both designed for endodontists.


When looking for the perfect dental management software system to meet your needs, there are a few things you need to look at. First, how much does it cost? Does the system provide the features that your practice needs in order to function? Does the platform offer good customer support? Is it easy to use? Will it integrate with other systems? How prominent is this platform in the industry?

The decision you make in choosing a dental practice management software system will be with you for years to come. It shouldn’t be rushed. Take the time to shop around and see what’s out there before making a choice. Make sure that the platform you choose will meet your practice’s needs today and in the future.

Travis grew up in Silicon Valley, so technology has always been a huge part of his life. He is passionate about building custom dental software solutions that make an impact on dentists, dental teams, and patients. Over the past two decades Travis has invented many dental software programs like DrDDS Innovations, OneClick Referral, VeriDent, Scout Analytics, RecordLinc, Luv Dentist, and more. Travis runs a dental software incubator and is considered to be among the leaders in dental innovation and technology. Travis has been called “The #1 Entrepreneur in Dentistry” and is affectionately known as “The Dental Technology Guy”. More about DrDDS at www.DrDDS. com. More about Travis at

Travis’ Top Ten Technologies to Review: Here is a list of some technology products I suggest you consider evaluating, to help your practice grow.

Dental Warranty – 

Dentagraphics –

Scout Analytics – 

CallForce –

MyDentalFiles – 

Dentist Grader – 

OneClick Referral – 

Kasper –

Soft Skills Institute – 

Schedule Widget –