Thinking about using Macs in your Dental Office?

Those familiar with the user-friendly design and graphic capabilities of Mac computers may be eager to adopt them for use in the dental office. Dental IT consultant Tom Terronez covers the pros and cons of Mac use in dentistry.

For hardware considerations, Macs offer a particular image and appeal for a segment of patients. In addition to being stable and dependable, Mac computers add an element of excitement with their streamlined design. Macs also have a reputation for being less prone to viruses. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage, as fewer options exist for anti-viral protection and technical support. Lack of competition in the niche that Macs fill drives up their cost in comparison to the PC.

For software considerations, the main focus is on constraints. Dental practice management software that will run on Macs is limited. Currently MacPractice, MacDentPro, and cloud-based products like Curve Dental are the main options. You could run other vendors using Windows Parallel or VMWare, but doing this would defeat the purpose of using Macs in the first place, and slow down the system.

Options for dental imaging are even fewer. While most dental imaging companies do not support the Mac, MacPractice promotes Suni sensors, and is also able to integrate with ScanX and PlanMeca. Overall, although Mac hardware may be appealing, it is difficult to justify their use in the dental setting until software begins to catch up. Web-based and Software-as-a-service options may be the best bet.

Lessons Learned:

  • Mac office computers may provide less viral susceptibility and a more user-friendly design, but this comes at the expense of a higher overall cost and more limited options for technical support.
  • Fewer dental practice management and imaging software vendors support Macs in comparison to PCs.
  • Cloud-based or web-based software may be suitable for Mac practices.

Terronez, Tom (2011, January 11) Is the Mac right for your dental practice? Dental Heroes.