Open Dental is an open source Practice Management Software, under the GNU General Public License. This means that independent software developers can contribute to further developing the project. The project originally started in 2003 by a dentist named Jordan Sparks. He had some software programming experience. He was tired of all the complications surrounding the other popular commercially developed practice management software at that time. Fast forward to now, take a look at the commercially available practice management software from the major dental supply houses. You will see some of the same problems Jordan saw then. The landscape hasn’t changed much.
As stated previously, OpenDental is open source software. Because of the free and open nature of the actual development of the software, you don’t actually have to pay for the software or license it yourself as you do with the Dentrix, EagleSoft and the other major practice management suites.
With the commercial OpenDental release, you are also paying for ADA and CDT licensed material built into it. The ADA and CDT licensed material in the commercial release is related to the dental procedure codes. These are the codes insurance providers require for claims. Updated by the ADA and CDT regularly, you can easily update for your practice.
OpenDental does not require the fastest hardware available to run, like some commercial practice management software does. If the computers in your practice are a few years old, chances are you would still be able to move to OpenDental and be able to use it without experiencing any slowness at all. OpenDental also stores patient info into a lightweight, but powerful database engine called MySQL. MySQL, like OpenDental itself, is an open source database engine available freely to anyone to use without licensing fees. MySQL and OpenDental are light weight. So, performing major version upgrades to the software across all computers in your practice is fast. Typically, less time than normally required to install an update to a commercial practice management suite. This means less labor for your IT company to update the software.
Finally, OpenDental may be the right fit for your practice, if you simply need a fast functional practice management software. If you require more features or you are one of those who likes to have all the “bells and whistles,” then you probably want to look into other commercially available practice management software. Need help to decide? Just give us a call.