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DDS Dental goes 'high-tech' for patients' benefit

Dr. Whan Mike Cho uses technology such as ceiling-mounted monitors to show his patients their own X-rays electronically.   - Kirk Boxleitner
Dr. Whan Mike Cho uses technology such as ceiling-mounted monitors to show his patients their own X-rays electronically.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Dr. Whan Mike Cho sees his newly minted dental practice as a chance to put the latest technology in action, to make his patients' visits as pleasant and convenient as possible. That process starts the moment someone walks in the door.

"When patients schedule appointments, we get an image of them with this camera," Cho said, pointing to a small lens that hooks up to the receptionist's computer. "That way, when they walk in, we recognize their faces on screen and can greet them by name."

DDS Dental is "Dr. Mike's" first solo dental practice, but he comes from a family of dentists and three years of experience as a dentist at other dentists' practices. During those three years, he paid attention to what his patients were asking for from a practice, and he's using the Internet and electronics to apply those suggestions in his own practice.

"We minimize on both paper and radiation," Cho said. "We're really going green. It lets us customize everybody's visit. The dentist's office can feel so foreign, and make you feel so vulnerable, so we give them a little more control."

The ceiling-mounted tilting flat-screen monitors in the exam and cleaning rooms are tools to educate and entertain patients. The monitors can show TV and play patients' DVDs, by angling down to be visible no matter how far back a patient's chair is set, but they can also display information such as X-ray results.

"Unlike traditional X-rays, ours only take three to 10 seconds to process," Cho said. "It reduces the toxic waste to develop film, as well as the lead liners, and uses half the radiation of traditional X-rays. We can then highlight or zoom in on certain areas of those X-rays, when we show them to patients on the monitors. If you give someone enough information, you don't have to be pushy, because they'll make the decisions and follow through on their own."

Appointment confirmations and patient referrals can also be handled electronically, via e-mail, to avoid the hassles of patient referral slips or missed phone calls. Within the next week or so, Cho expects his practice's Web site will be fully functional, so that patients will be able to fill out information forms online, from the comfort of their own homes, and even get directions to his office through Google Maps.

But what happens when the power goes down?

"We have multiple backup batteries for our computers," Cho said. "We also have our own network server, so all of our data is protected."

All of these measures allow Cho to save on manpower and processing time, but as far as he's concerned, what matters more is that they help the environment and help make his patients' dental visits that much easier.

"My staff and I would love the opportunity to form lifelong partnerships with patients, assisting in improving their oral health and brightening their smiles," Cho said.

DDS Dental is located in Suite 108 on 11605 State Ave. in Marysville. You can call them at 360-386-9540, or log onto their Web site at http://ddsdentalps.com.

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