Most Popular Practice Management Software Systems
Dentrix (by Henry Schein) is the most recognizable name in the dental practice management software industry.
Eaglesoft is a popular locally-hosted practice management software system with a 20+ year track record of helping practices streamline their workflow.
Carestream offers a variety of products, including SoftDent and PracticeWorks, as well as powerful imaging systems, that are widely used across the industry.
Open Dental: Best Desktop Dental Practice Management Software
For roughly $100/month, Open Dental offers many of the time-saving and paperless features that users typically look for in dental practice management software: insurance claim validation, business-critical reports, powerful scheduling and charting capabilities, and much more. However, one feature that distinguishes Open Dental from other players in the industry is that it gives users full access to their practice's database, which enables users to create powerful custom reports and queries. Open Dental does minimal advertising, but has gained popularity throughout the dental community just from word of mouth.
Ideal for practices looking for a customizable solution at an affordable price.
Denticon by Planet DDS: Best Cloud-Based Option for Group Practices
Planet DDS is one of the industry’s pioneers in purely cloud-based dental practice management software. Whereas many traditional dental software companies only recently began to develop cloud-based offerings, Planet DDS has been developing its solution on the cloud for over a decade, making its flagship software, Denticon, one of the most mature, full-featured cloud-based practice management software solutions on the market.
Ideal for group practices seeking a unified PMS across multiple locations.
Curve Dental: Best Cloud-Based Option for Solo Practices
As one of the first companies to specialize in purely cloud-based dental practice management software, Curve Dental is one of the most modern solutions on the market. The software is purely web-based, so both Mac and PC users will be able to use it —- many locally hosted solutions are PC-oriented, so this is an especially nice perk for Mac users. Dentists with busy lives outside of the office will appreciate that the software can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Ideal for practices that are looking for a modern, 100% cloud-based solution.
DentiMax: A Trusted Cloud & Desktop Dental Practice Management Software
DentiMax is a popular dental practice management software solution that includes a comprehensive set of features to help optimize your practice, and help you shift toward a paperless practice. The company has been around for over 12 years and as a result, has acquired a substantial, loyal customer base. DentiMax offers a cloud-based solution as well as an in-office, locally hosted option.
DentiMax is a reputable software vendor with a 12+ year track record in the dental software space.
axiUm: Most Popular Practice Management Software for Dental Universities
Though axiUm is designed to be used in academic settings, it has all of the basic functionality that you'd expect from a dental practice management system, including scheduling, EHR, dental charting, insurance coverage, and treatment planning. However, there are some unique features such as clinical evaluations, as well as integration with coursework, that make axiUm a better choice for dental universities compared to other commercial practice management systems.
axiUm is used by 80+% of dental universities in North America.
Other Top Dental Software Options
License-based pricing vs. monthly pricing?
Some vendors offer a monthly pricing option, which is often more palatable than a large one-time charge for a license. However, keep in mind that the one-time licensing fee could actually be more affordable in the long run if you end up deciding to stay with that software for a long period of time. We typically recommend going with the monthly pricing option whenever possible, given the lower startup cost and the ease of switching to another system if things end up not working out.
Will you have access to your data after switching to another solution?
If you ultimately decide to switch to another solution, it’s important to understand what will happen to your data. You want to make sure that you’ll have access to your data after you switch, and that it will be accessible in a format that’s easy to use or port over to your next software system. Many vendors (including some of the most popular solutions) will either charge you for the data, or give it back to you in an encrypted or proprietary format that is virtually unusable, unless you pay them to convert it. Therefore, we encourage you to ask your software vendor what will happen to your data in the event that you end your relationship with them.
Does the software support your operating system?
Some solutions are only compatible with Windows PCs, which automatically means that if you’re a Mac user, you'll have to look elsewhere. Ideally, software should be web-based, which means that it will be compatible with any operating system.
How easy will it be to learn to use?
Every new software comes with a learning curve, but this short-term cost is a worthwhile consideration when trying to determine the most suitable option for you and your staff. When selecting dental practice management software, make sure to sign up for the free trial and/or demo, in order to collect information that can help you assess how easy it will be to learn how to use all of the available features. In general, the more intuitive the user interface is, the better. It may also be wise to factor in your staff's comfort level with different technologies (e.g. Windows PCs vs. Macs) and go with the option that's most similar to what they're already using. You should also find out what training and support services are included with your purchase / subscription (if any).
Important Product Features to Look For
All of the options we reviewed have convenient schedulers to help you organize your practice. Some bonus features to look for are: automatic appointment reminders, recurring appointments, and integration of the scheduler with the rest of the software (billing, charting, etc.).
Look for software that can automatically generate insurance claims, and double check that it integrates with your clearinghouse of choice — otherwise, you will have to submit paper claims. It’s also nice to have an insurance claim validator to catch any mistakes before each claim gets sent out.
Some software systems only integrate with certain sensors, so if you already have a favorite imaging solution, you’ll want to check that it will integrate with your software.
Most dental practice management software products include standardized reports to help you analyze your business. You may also want to look for software that enables you to create custom reports. Oftentimes, this can come at an additional charge.
Since charting is a frequent task, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy to use and fully integrated with the software's other modules, so you can easily access all of the information you need (images, previous notes, etc.).
The ability to send e-prescriptions not only saves users time, but also helps dentists comply with New York's I-STOP law, which requires that prescriptions for both controlled and non-controlled substances be submitted electronically. All of the top options we allow for e-prescribing. Ideally, this functionality should be integrated with the EHR, and can automatically prepopulate a lot of the information in the prescription, and have the patient's chart be reflected accordingly. Many e-prescription modules also automatically check for drug interactions based on the patient's history.
We've compiled our research into convenient guides in order to help you select the right software for your business.