|Original author(s)||Dr. Jordan Sparks|
20.2 / July 20, 2020
20.3 (Beta) / July 20, 2020
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Available in||Multiple Language Packs |
|Type||dental practice management software|
|License||GNU General Public License|
Open Dental, previously known as Free Dental, is a dental practice management software licensed under the GNU General Public License. It is written in the C# programming language compatible with Microsoft .NET Framework and was first released in 2003. Current versions of the software require Microsoft Windows. Earlier versions of the software had supported other operating systems, but Linux support has been dropped. The full function version is only available under the commercial license because it includes royalty bearing, licensed materials from the American Dental Association (ADA), the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT).
Open Dental is owned and sponsored by Open Dental Software, Inc., which is incorporated in the State of Oregon in the United States of America. Being an open source software, any programmer has the freedom to develop and support Open Dental. The company makes money through its monthly technical support fees, which are required for the first 6 months of use. The first open dental customer bought the technical support services on July 22, 2003.
The database uses the dual licensed MySQL database program. Both local preferences and those which apply to every computer in the office are stored in the mySQL database.
The database schema is published and publicly viewable.
There are documented benefits to using a relational database when storing and retrieving data: the relational model offers "advantages over the hierarchical and network models through its simpler data representation, superior data independence and easy to use query language".
Relational databases like Oracle and MySQL have mechanisms that can be used to keep the availability (of the database) very high. For instance, with MySQL replication, "the active primary database ships transactions to one or more standby databases. These standby databases apply the transactions to their own copies of the data. Should the primary database fail, one of these standby databases can be activated to become the new primary database".
Mobile dental programs have special needs including offline data collection, central data availability and public health reporting. All of these needs are met with Open Dental. An example of a mobile dental program that has published their experience using Open Dental is the St. David's Dental Program.
Structured Query Language (SQL) allows the user to pull data from the database for analysis. Open Dental provides over 1,100 user queries that have been requested by users, and advanced users may write their own queries to get specialized information from the database.
Open Dental can be scaled from a single, one-computer user in a small office to dozens of computers per server over multiple physical locations.
Best Dental Practice Management Software Provider 2018, Global Health & Pharma (GHP) 
DrBicuspid.com 2017 Dental excellence Awards: Best New/Updated Software/Service