- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 21, 2001

One body part guaranteed to leave the human prematurely if neglected also works overtime to make life easier for the stomach. Yes, the teeth should be revered, and those 32 little fellows need to be brushed at least twice a day and shown regularly to a dentist to help them stay in tiptop shape.

A company known for creating multimedia patient- education software for dentists since 1994 offers an illuminating site for those seeking to keep their mouths happy. It features the latest dental advances, cosmetic dentistry, information on oral hygiene and help to keep mom, dad, the children and grandparents always smiling.

DentistryOnline.com

Site address: www.dentistryonline.com

Creator:

Dentistry Online Inc. located in Vancouver, Wash. was founded by Dr. Bob Rondeau and his wife, Elizabeth Rondeau. The company employs approximately 55 people in its editorial, design, information technology, customer service, management and marketing departments.

Creator quotable:

"As a practicing dentist in Albany, Ore., for 13 years, I learned that educated patients were satisfied patients who made better dental care decisions. And I knew that most people are visual learners. Yet dentists typically treated their patients as if they were auditory learners, verbally explaining complicated procedures and options," Dr. Rondeau says.

"We created DentistryOnline.com to provide comprehensive, user-friendly dental health information that would ease patient anxiety and enhance the relationship between dental patients and their dental health providers by raising patients' 'dental IQ.' "

Word from the Webwise:

It appears DentistryOnline.com makes money by offering dentists its expertise in designing and enhancing Web sites. That translates positively for the consumer, as the public portion of the site does not sell anything or need the financial support of advertisers clogging up pages with blinking banners.

Instead, visitors who click on the "Consumer Web Site" icon (found on the opening page) enter a friendly cyber-environment filled with useful content and plenty of illustrations on dental procedures and ailments.

I began my quest for dental knowledge with a click on articles found under the "Features" area, which spotlights such topics as "Overcoming Your Fear of 'The Drill,'" "Tooth Pain" or the always handy "Do You Have Bad Breath?" backgrounder, which gives four quick tests to determine one's halitosis potential.

Sources used for articles include the American Dental Association, American Association of Endodontists, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health.

"Departments," which is another section worth a look, explores everything from improving a smile using porcelain veneers and tooth-colored fillings to learning about dental procedures such as extractions.

Those who fear a dental visit will appreciate the "Breakthrough Technologies" area found within this section. Not only are drill-free procedures being made available (using an air-abrasion system likened to a miniature sandblaster), but digital X-rays will decrease the time a patient sits in the chair, and a new device can be used to eliminate the pain of getting a shot in the gums.

Other parts of DentistryOnline.com include a fantastic "Parents" section that, among its many parts, looks at infant tooth care; a "Seniors" section for learning about the connection between gum disease and heart attacks; and a Dental Dictionary that explains terms ranging from amalgam to xerostomia (a decrease in the production of saliva).

Ease of use:

This well-designed site uses drop-down menus, always-accessible sections and a search engine.

About the only problem with the site was using the truncated ZIP-code version of the "Find the Dentist" search engine located at the bottom of various pages. I was never able to pull up dentists this way, but using the same ZIP- code method, I found dentists in the extended and precise "Find a Dentist" search form.

Don't miss:

Visitors can watch an actual tongue piercing through the Windows Media Player, Real G2 Player or Quicktime plug-ins loaded into their browsers. The clip lasts over 3 minutes, with additional videos available on "Risks in Tongue Piercing," "Caring for Your Impaled Tongue" and the facts about the procedure. Folks with slower modem connections may have a long wait uploading the clips or viewing them in the Real Player format.

Cyber-sitter synopsis:

A halfhearted attempt at a "Kids" area will leave junior more frustrated than smiling. Three Quicktime movies are offered: "Wild Smiles" (showing man's and beast's smiling mugs morphing); "Visit the Dentist With Buddy and Andy" (two silly pooches stop by their favorite doctor's office); and "Learn to Brush With Kirby the Chimp." Children using a 28.8 connection may spend up to 30 minutes waiting for the gems to load onto their computers.

Overall grade: B+

Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician. Have a cool site for the family? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]).


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