Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 03 Dental Laser 1

4 reasons you need a dental laser in your practice

March 6, 2015
This is a great time for dentists to consider an update to their armamentariums by adding lasers to their practice. Lasers aren't an instrument for the future anymore, they're here to stay.

We’re in a wonderful part of human history. A few taps on a smartphone can lead to everything from a pizza delivery to a ride via Uber. Major advancements in science and technology have put nearly a dozen diseases on the verge of extinction. Lasers, once billed as a “technology looking for a problem to solve,” have found game-changing applications in everything from information technology, law enforcement, and dentistry. The future is now and it’s time for dentists to take a look at lasers and how they can provide today’s practices with a significant edge.

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Traditional dental tools haven’t changed much since they were invented in the 1800s. Given the recent advancements, especially in lasers, it’s a great time for dentists to consider an update to their armamentariums. The primary dental laser categories are CO2, erbium, ND:YAG, and diode laser. Each have their own uses and applications in today’s dental practice, but the primary benefits revolve around efficiency, patient experience, dentists’ experience, and improved clinical outcomes.

Efficiency The most challenging production hurdles are related to anesthesia and bleeding. With traditional tools, dentists lose valuable time injecting patients, waiting for numbness, and controlling bleeding. Anesthesia has several negative effects – it increases patient anxiety, dramatically decreases dentists’ productivity, causes post-operative discomfort, and limits patients’ activities while they wait for the numbness to wear off. Anesthesia also limits practitioners to working in only one quadrant of the mouth per visit due to the risk of patients biting and injuring themselves. This inefficiency significantly limits practitioners’ ability to generate revenue.

Sensing a market opportunity, researchers coalesced around this problem and identified dental lasers as a path toward anesthesia-free procedures. Rather than mechanically drilling into tooth cavities or cutting soft tissue with a scalpel, practitioners can evaporate hard or soft tissue with a laser without the use of anesthetic. CO2 lasers are traditionally known as soft-tissue only tools, but a new wavelength of 9.3 microns has reliably performed anesthesia-free and blood-free procedures on both hard and soft tissue. The efficiency from not having to numb patients or spend time controlling bleeding enables laser dentists to perform more procedures each day than they can with traditional tools, which represents thousands of dollars in additional revenues.

Better patient experience
Recent Gallup Well-Being research found that more than one-third (35.3%) of Americans had not visited the dentist in the past 12 months. Major contributors to this oral health care epidemic are traditional dental tools’ sounds, smells, and sensations. Just hearing the whirring of a drill elicits teeth clenching and white knuckle grips from many people. Lasers can change all of that by eliminating a majority of these negative stimuli.

Unlike traditional tools, dental lasers transform the patient experience. Eliminating virtually all of the sounds, anesthesia, and pain associated with dental appointments goes a long way toward alleviating dread. Because of this, dental lasers will serve as the primary tool in improving consumer sentiment toward dentists.

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The chance to practice dentistry, not psychotherapy
A common complaint among the hundreds of dentists I’ve spoken with is that they practice psychology more than dentistry. Terrified people make it difficult to operate effectively. Relaxed patients are infinitely easier to work with, and can contribute to a laser practice’s calm, cool environment.

Delivering an excellent patient experience is a critical component in helping dentists generate the goodwill and referrals they deserve. Laser dentists routinely find themselves being sought out by patients who are looking for a unique and more pleasant experience.

Improved clinical outcomes
Dental lasers are very good at taking routine, traditional modalities in dentistry – from cavity preps to surgical excisions – and making them much faster and less painful, with better hemostasis and less morbidity. Furthermore, lasers are biostimulating, and they kill bacteria. The science behind dental lasers is sound and represents a huge step forward in improving clinical outcomes.

If you haven’t taken a look at dental lasers recently, now is the time to do it. They represent an exponential improvement in just about every facet of dentistry. They have the potential to completely revitalize dental practices with vast improvements on production, patient referrals, and revenues.

Michael Cataldo is the CEO of Convergent Dental.