Open Dental

Technical Jargon for Not-So-Technical People

Have you ever contacted Open Dental Support and heard phrases like, “We’ll need to log into your server, “We’ll need to restart the eConnector,” or “That’s caused by a network issue.” Of course, you trust the professionals to resolve your issue or help understand where a problem is coming from, but you might not totally understand some of the technical terms they’re using. If this is you, fear not! In this post, we’ll help you become comfortable with the vocabulary routinely used by Open Dental Technicians.

Server: For Open Dental purposes, the server is the machine that hosts the Open Dental database. This machine can be a dedicated machine shoved away in a closet or locked room, or it can be the computer in the doctor’s office. Open Dental Technicians routinely need access to the server to perform updates, resolve errors, and troubleshoot issues. If you’re not sure which machine in your office is the server, or how to log into it, check with your IT professional. Knowing which machine helps you get the answers you need as timely as possible.

Database: The Open Dental database is a series of files that make up all of Open Dental. Databases store information on patients, procedures, preferences, and everything in between.

Service: In this definition, a service is a software that runs in the background of the server. It performs automated tasks and reads & responds to data. For example, the eConnector service sends eConfirmations to patients, then marks appointments as Confirmed when the patient responds.

Open Dental uses three services:

MySQL: The MySQL service runs the Open Dental Database. It is required to even open Open Dental.

eConnector: The eConnector runs all Open Dental eServices (think text messaging, eClipboard, Open Dental Mobile, or online Web Scheduling).

Open Dental Service: The Open Dental Service is similar to the eConnector, but runs miscellaneous processes throughout Open Dental (such as Dynamic Payment Plans or CC Recurring Charges).

Network: A network is necessary when you have two or more computers in the office. A network allows your computer to share information with the server and other workstations. With Open Dental, all workstations must be on the same network. This way, when you schedule an appointment for a patient, your coworker in the other room can see the appointment on their machine as well. Networks are set up and maintained by IT Professionals. Open Dental Technicians may be able to tell you we suspect a network issue, but we cannot make changes or fix the network on our end.

Cloud: When using a Cloud, what you’re really using is a server somewhere else. For example, Open Dental Cloud simply means instead of having your own server on-site, you use the servers located at Open Dental HQ.

Remote Access: Remote Access allows you to access a computer that’s not physically in front of you. So if you are working from home, your home computer is not on the network for your office, so you remote into your office computer using a 3rd party remote software. This also means that while you’re remote connected to your office computer, no one in the physical office can use it.

OpenDentImages Folder: The OpenDentImages folder is a folder located on your server that contains any image you’ve scanned into the Imaging Module. Often, you’ll hear it referred to as ODI for short. This includes EOBs, insurance cards, patient pictures, and more. As part of our troubleshooting steps we may need to locate this folder and have appropriate passwords to access it. See “admin password” definition below.

Admin Password: Think of the admin password as another login for your office computer, but with more security permission. Such as an Admin user you may have within Open Dental. This is typically set up by an IT Professional, but helpful for someone in the office such as the Office Manager or the doctor to know in case it’s needed to fix an issue. Open Dental never keeps record of office admin passwords, and will never ask you to tell us what it is. Instead, we’ll have you type it in the appropriate spot on your computer as needed.

IP Address: If a computer is on the network at your office, then it has an IP address. It’s a unique number that’s assigned to every device (including laptops, tablets, etc.) connected to a network. While you may have no idea where to find it, or what it even is, you may hear our technicians say that we need the IP address for the server to troubleshoot an issue, or that pointing your workstation at the IP address is what fixed the issue. We’re trained on where to find them and where it may need to be placed for Open Dental to work properly, so no need to study up on them!

Driver: A driver is a set of files that tells a piece of hardware how to function. It’s needed for all pieces of hardware, but commonly you’ll hear us reference drivers when we’re helping you get your scanner up and running with Open Dental. The most commonly used driver that we see is a TWAIN driver. The installation of drivers, if they were missing from your hardware, is done by an IT Professional so often times we will do all the troubleshooting and determine a new or different driver is needed. We’ll then refer you to your IT to get it installed.

We always want you to feel comfortable with the information we discuss during your support experience. Please feel free to ask us if anything is unclear. When you need help, we’re here for you!

Categories: Open Dental, Tech Savvy

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