By integrating its dental and orthodontic software, Planet DDS targets multi-specialty practices with functionality and ease of use.

By Steven Martinez

When an orthodontist chooses which software to use for treatment, practice management, or patient acquisition, they will likely consider each need individually. They might want to use the software they know best, the one that offers features they think they need most, or simply find the one that fits best within their budget.

However, a multi-specialty practice, like an orthodontist-pediatric dentist partnership, might find that they need to find a middle ground on software that can do a little of both rather than the out-and-out best option.

That’s why software provider Planet DDS has added new software integrations between its dental and orthodontics-specific offerings, giving these multi-specialty practices the option to still choose the best software for everyone in the practice.

Planet DDS software integrations

The new integrations tie together Cloud 9, Denticon, Apteryx, and Legwork, allowing each to access and update patient records and improve workflows as patients pass between the dentist and orthodontist.

Kevin Simmons is the enterprise sales director at Cloud 9, which Planet DDS acquired in early 2023. He says these new software integrations are really aimed at streamlining processes for the unique needs of multi-specialty practices while still giving doctors the tools they need to do their jobs.

“It’s one thing to focus on making sure that specialties are still heard and have the tools they need,” said Simmons. “But ultimately, within that, we want to make sure that practices can do what they need to do while having a seamless user experience.”

The multi-specialty use case

Perhaps to the chagrin of some orthodontists, general dentists are offering more orthodontic services these days. And while it makes sense for dentists not to want to lose out on the revenue that orthodontic services can offer, some practices opt for a one-stop shop model that includes a dedicated orthodontist.

For dentists who do some aligners on the side, Denticon’s practice management software features an orthodontic module that offers some basic tools. But a dedicated orthodontist would likely prefer a dedicated solution that meets all their needs. With Planet DDS’s latest integrations, the multi-specialty practice can now bring on Cloud 9, a dedicated orthodontic practice management software solution, for its orthodontic needs while maintaining the Denticon workflows on the dental side of the practice.

“Denticon has an orthodontic module, but it’s very limited—you can do some basic treatment records, but that’s all you get,” says Simmons. “Whereas Cloud 9 has been fully functional and built for orthodontics from the beginning.”

Maintaining patient records

Simmons says Planet DDS acquired Cloud 9 to bring in a robust orthodontic software solution to integrate and operate in parallel with Denticon. The company realized that rather than spending five more years fleshing out Denticon’s ortho module, acquiring and integrating an existing solution was the way to go.

Cloud 9 offers ortho-specific features aimed at patient communication, referrals to specialists, and treatment cards to record how the teeth are moving and plan the next visit. It also features built-in imaging software and patient financing tools specifically designed for orthodontics.
But perhaps the biggest bonus of integrating Cloud 9 and Denticon is that patient records remain consistent across the practice’s dental and orthodontic departments.

“What our integrations are able to offer is features that are geared specifically towards each specialty, but while also uniting the patient record,” says Simmons. “I’m going to be in Denticon when I’m doing my dental work, and I’m going to primarily be in Cloud 9 doing the ortho work. But I’m able, as a user, to navigate between the softwares while looking at the full picture.”

Simmons says that instead of having completely separate software with completely separate patient records, the integrations can unite the patient records and offer a more seamless user experience for doctors.

The integrations also extend to the company’s imaging software Apteryx and its patient acquisition software Legwork. There is some crossover in features between Cloud 9, Denticon, and Legwork. Still, the idea is for a multi-specialty practice, where a patient will be shifting from one specialty to another, to take advantage of job-specific tools to make that journey easier to manage. Importantly, the patient records are bi-directional, meaning that when the record is updated in one software, the update automatically extends to all of them.

“It reaches a point that for a multi-specialty organization that, if you’re doing enough orthodontics, you’re going to want those specialized tools,” says Simmons.

Simmons also adds that orthodontists can sometimes switch practices. If they go from one that had an orthodontic-specific tool set to one that’s “just kind of hacking things together from dental software,” the orthodontist is usually very vocal about how he or she needs better tools.

A true cloud platform

Planet DDS’s cloud platform ultimately enables these integrations and the ability to maintain patient records. While cloud-based features are becoming the norm for dental and orthodontic software platforms, Simmons says that Planet DDS’s offerings operate on what he calls a true cloud platform.

What this boils down to is that the company’s software is browser-based, requiring no software downloads, in-house servers, or special logins. That allows doctors to access the information from any device that has a browser, including mobile devices, and from outside of the office if need be.

Simmons says that when some competitors switched to a cloud solution, they really implemented a remote hosting solution. This meant that to access the remotely hosted versions of their software, practices still needed to download software to their computers to access the data. So, while the software and data might not be on a server in their office, there were still further requirements and restrictions to access it.

“We are true cloud because literally you just need an internet browser,” says Simmons.

Specialist tools vs one-size-fits-all

There has been a move toward consolidation in the practice software space. While a do-everything single software solution is still not being offered, integrating features and data while maintaining the specific tools that specialists need should benefit DSOs, larger group practices, and multi-specialty practices while keeping clinicians happy.

“Even though I think everything coming together is where [practice software] is heading, and it makes sense, the important part is that each specialty still has its own special functionalities and considerations,” says Simmons. “You can make a CEO happy by having all of the data together. But if the tools in the clinic are ugly and cumbersome, then your clinicians and your doctors are all going to be upset.”