ACE Dental offers a compelling package of dental practice management services, with options for local hosting or via the cloud. While there is a choice of plans, with easy prescription writing, and available pricing, the missing mobile apps and limited hours of support are some important misses. Overall, we consider it one of the stronger entries in the segment.
Tiered plan choice
Direct phone support
Integrated odontogram charting
No mobile apps
Lacks in person onboarding
Limited telephone support hours on weekdays only
eReminders to recall patients are time limited on all plans, with no further pricing
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ACE Dental is a veteran in the dental software space. In fact, it goes back to 1993, and can claim the longest ownership of a software company by the same owner in this competitive segment. Through this many years, user feedback has certainly shaped this company, and its product. ACE Dental focuses on providing the best value in the industry, which it originally did back in the 1990’s by gaining efficiency via the early internet, with cost savings that were passed through to their users.
We consider ACE Dental to be strong from a clinical perspective. By way of example, as part of its electronic dental record, there is 3D Restorative Charting, which allows for entry of a treatment plan, with the teeth represented as on an odontogram (that’s the visual representation of the teeth with the numbers for the non-dentists). This a major improvement over the index cards that most dentists used for years, as via this tool, the dentist can enter the current tooth condition, the completed treatment, along with any pending treatment. There are even buttons as prompts for the dentist to easily enter any tooth issues such as a bridge, a crown, a veneer or a seal. Via the 3D presentation, it also makes it possible for documentation of tooth movement such as a drift, or rotation issue. Finally, the documentation is also comprehensive with charting of any perio issues also enabled.
Critical to any dental practice is the front office, which ACE Dental also can manage with ease. There is easy to use appointment scheduling with plenty of useful value add features, with patient images displayed in the appointment block for ease of identification by the staff to be welcoming for patients. With the ease of a drag and drop maneuver, patient appointments can be changed with minimal work. There is even support for advanced scheduling needs that lesser software can’t handle, such as pre-blocking clinic sessions for making appointments when the dentist is available.
ACE Dental also excels on the business side of things. This includes streamlining checkouts to move patients smoothly out after their appointment. Dental practices often treat multiple family members, and addressing this challenge is ACE Dental’s Patient and Family Ledger, which can actually coordinate appointments between multiple family members, to improve overall efficiency of the practice.
ACE Dental also checks for the dental benefits that remain for the individual, which then prompts front office staff for the creation of an insurance claim. This is then submitted to the insurer via a traditional paper claim, or the faster electronic claim, as both are supported. There is batching of electronic claims, with all the cases from that day submitted when the office session is complete. No insurance, no problem, with X-Charge credit card integration- directly from the checkout screen, patients can be charged their portion of the payment to enhance cash flow and keep accounts current.
There is optimization for communication in the office as well. The Call Light feature can locate providers throughout the office to minimize searching around for them. There is also a Room to Room Chat feature to instant message between office members to enhance direct communication between providers.
One serious limitation is that ACE Dental is built for a browser only. This means that there is no support for the ever popular mobile apps. Also realize that most dentists find the smartphone apps useful for accessing patient charts when out of the office, such as when on call.
Yet another criticism to be leveled is the initial included learning for onboarding is via videos, and not in person. We can certainly realize the advantage of keeping the cost down, this process frustrates some offices that would prefer to have in person education, with a demonstration on their own equipment, on the work process. There is an option for Live Online One on One Training, which is included on the top tier of plan, and costs $75/hr on the lower two tiers.
Finally, options are lacking to customize reports for some users' likings.
ACE Dental gets supported via a variety of methods. We appreciate the toll free number provided for direct contact, which is available for the support hours of 9 AM to 6 PM, Eastern Standard Time, and limited to weekdays only.
There is also an email address, although this is not HIPAA compliant, and as it starts with “Sales” we would guess it is more for acquiring the product than getting help after. A support portal is also available, and problems can be submitted along with the account info to initiate contact.
Also to be found is plenty of self guided help, which has both a Quick Start Guide, and a series of tutorial movies. There is a list of comprehensive topics ranging from “Digital Signature Documents,” to “Making Appointments,” along with “Perio Charting.”
Unlike most of its competitors that take the opaque pricing route, ACE Dental has a detailed pricing list that is most welcome. It is based around three tiers of plans.
On the lowest rung is the ACE Basic plan, which costs $99 (£82) per month, for an unlimited number of users via the cloud version. There are plenty of features, such as appointment scheduling, prescription writing, lab case tracking, and visual treatment planning. It also includes three months of free eReminders and eRecall for follow-up patients, although no pricing is provided for the cost after the trial period.
The next tier up is the ACE Advanced plan, which goes up to a cost of $199 (£164) monthly. This adds a number of features, including perio charting with graphing and comparisons, auto clinical notes, and restorative charting with 3D teeth. The free eReminders also increase to four months.
The top tier is the ACE Bundle for $299 (£247) monthly. This plan includes everything from the lower two plans, and also includes a Time Clock that is $99 (£82) extra with the lower plans, digital signature documents, and a scanner bridge for TWAIN scanners. The eReminders also increase to six months, and there is also support for digital signature on documents such as patient consents and treatment agreements.
ACE Dental offers a full array of services to support any dental practice, whether general or specialty focused. The pros include instant messaging between providers and office workers, mostly transparent pricing with a choice of three plan tiers, and support for digital signature documents. The cons are the missing mobile apps, the lack of included in-person onboarding except on the highest tiered plan, and no support chat option. In summary, when compared with its competition, ACE Dental shows its literally decades of experience in this area, and offers a dental practice management software package that is certainly competitive.
Also check out our complete list of the best dental practice management software
Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.