As I write this article, my family and I are busy packing for our annual family trip to the Excellence in Dentistry seminar in Sandestin, Florida. This will be my seventh year attending and the family’s fifth. The kids missed last year’s due to it being Junior Cert year for one of them and now they are more hyped up than usual!
As with any conference, whether at home or abroad, the best advice is to cultivate your relationships with the trade reps. This is in all of our interests, as the benefits accruing will most certainly be mutual. I especially like to bring the kids along to the first evening where a wine reception is hosted by the trade and everyone is more relaxed; it’s very good for the family to see what mum or dad does and a great way to meet the reps informally.
I believe that sometimes you can gain greater benefits from the exhibition floor than the lectures.
Over the last two years, one area I’ve been looking into is that of lasers. My interest was prompted by my impending need to perform fraenectomies on my 13- and 10-year-old daughters, as I’m halfway through their orthodontics. In addition, three other young orthodontic patients require the same procedure and it’s now accepted that laser is the way forward with this.
Having met with Jonathan Luo, the rep for Zap Lasers, over the past two years, I’ll be picking up mine this time round. Since I have built up a good rapport with Jonathan, I am to be the recipient of the added bonus of getting it at last year’s show price and an extra handpiece and cable have been thrown in.
Zap Lasers LLC was founded by dentists Jay Goble and William Gianni in Pleasant Hill, California, and they have a nice range of diode or soft tissue lasers in the 5,000euro ($8,000) range.
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. At its most basic, we’ve all seen them in use as laser pointers at lectures. Further up the scale, there are diagnostic lasers such as Diagnodent and then diode lasers for soft tissue procedures, and finally the hard tissue lasers like Waterlase.
The why of buying and whether it will pay for itself are two questions that have been at the forefront of my mind when I was deciding what to buy. Spending a couple of hours on Dentaltown and other internet sites has shown me that these lasers have uses and benefits beyond those of the cheaper options such as electro and radiosurgery and good old-fashioned steel.
The benefits include:
1. Creation of a dry, bloodless field
2. Decreased incidence of infection
3. Less traumatic to tissue
4. Less post-op swelling and scarring
5. Minimal post-op pain
6. Great precision
7. Minimal anaesthesia required
8. Better post-op patient acceptance.
A friend and patient of mine recently spent x8,000 on laser eye surgery and asked me if there were dental applications for lasers. He was delighted to hear that soon we would be one of the first practices to have a laser. This postive response makes me hopeful that the laser will add to our marketing, as it’s always good to be seen as go-ahead and one of the first to acquire the ‘cutting’ (no pun intended) edge technology.
Fraenectomies, as already stated, are one area of use, while others are:
1. Troughing around crown preps, eliminating the need for cord
2. Gingivectomy and gingivoplasty with none of the recession associated with electro and radiosurgery
3. Sub-gingival cavities can be exposed with no bleeding, leading to better restorations
4. Excision and biopsies
5. Treatment of aphthous ulcers. The laser activates biostimulatory desensitisation, reducing pain and promoting healing
7. Periodontal sulcular debridement of diseased epithelial lining in pockets
8. Exposure of implants.
Along with my two daughters, I’ve already got six patients lined up for treatment with the laser when I get back home. The nice thing is that these patients are excited and looking forward to this new technology – nearly as much as me!