Modern Dentistry: Less Aerosols & Greater Patient Acceptance with Dental Laser Technology Post COVID
When I purchased my practice in August 2019, it became obvious to me that an overhaul of the hygiene side of the practice was going to be required. I decided to purchase a Waterlase iPlus and 3 Epic Diode Lasers for my Hygienists. The immediate impact has been incredible for both patients and staff.
Patient’s awareness of bacteria, viruses and inflammatory disease has been heightened by COVID. Since welcoming back our patients in July, BIOLASE lasers have become an important aspect of our new branding. The aerosol-free Epic Hygiene and Epic X are the heart of the Hygiene program and patient favorites. I affectionately call my Waterlase my “Dental Swiss Army Knife”. It seems that every day, we find new and better ways to use it. Our patients are excited to hear that we are doing everything to reduce the bacteria and viruses in the aerosols.
"Dental lasers are an excellent tool in treating periodontal disease, and the recent study from The McGuire Goup published in the Journal of Periodontology demonstrates how REPAIR® Perio protocol is superior in procedure time and patient-reported outcomes than traditional periodontal treatment."
I credit Lynn Atkinson, RDH, who trained our practice, and our Hygiene team for doing a great job of explaining and demonstrating their knowledge and benefits of laser-assisted hygiene, drastically increasing patient acceptance during COVID.
We are constantly working to bring our infection control and safety procedures to a higher level. We have gone above and beyond with our protocols to ensure patient safety. This means using high volume evacuation, Jade “Surgically Clean Air” air purifiers, and having all our team members properly protected. I have increased Waterlase usage to avoid unnecessary aerosol production since Waterlase produces 98% less aerosols than traditional handpieces. One of my favorites is the ability to take “Cordless” Final Crown and Bridge impressions by using the “Troughing” mode. It gives us a much better final crown margin and the temporaries fit extremely well.
We know that dental lasers are an excellent tool in treating periodontal disease, and the recent study from the McGuire Study published in the Journal of Periodontology demonstrates how REPAIR® Perio protocol is superior in procedure time and patient-reported outcomes than traditional periodontal treatment.
I think the major area of growth for me personally will be in the treatment of peri-implantitis and peri-mucositis. I have placed thousands of implants. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to implants. Every week, we see dozens of implants in our practice, many of which will fail if rescue therapy isn’t initiated immediately. I can see how this area will grow quickly and be of major benefit for my patients and practice.
The overall patient experience has greatly improved, and the patient perception is that we are “THE” dental office of choice in the area. Patients are impressed with every visit with our newly remodeled office and safety precautions. The most impressive aspect of all is the state-of-the-art equipment and laser technology we have installed and implemented. One patient remarked that our “…office is so high tech and comfortable it makes it seem like the other dental office we were going to was in the Stone Age…”.