Ditch the Needle, Noise and Vibration
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the dental laser as a beneficial instrument in providing restorative and soft-tissue procedures for infants, children and adolescents, including those with special healthcare needs. As dentists know, fear and anxiety over visiting the dentist keep many individuals from seeking dental care.
This fear also can create a negative experience for pediatric patients, many of whom may be slightly more sensitive to seeing sharp objects lined up on a tray, hearing dental drills buzzing in the background or being pinched in their cheek or gums with a needle.
Fortunately, the dental laser can offer a more comfortable patient experience for adults and children. Many dentists, including Dr. Jordan Lentfer and Dr. Jayne F. Scherrman, have noticed multiple benefits for their patients and practices (more on their perspectives to follow). Consider Convergent Dental’s innovative Solea all-tissue dental laser, which enables blood- and suture-free soft-tissue procedures, as well as cavity preps that clinicians can perform without anesthesia.
Unique Laser Benefits
Solea is unique because it emits a 9.3-µm wavelength that nears the peak absorption of hydroxyapatite. So, unlike other lasers that slowly chip enamel away, Solea vaporizes it, while the variable-speed foot pedal operates with a simple mechanism: the harder you press, the faster it cuts, which allows clinicians to transition between enamel, dentin, bone, composite and gingiva by simply adjusting their pressure on the foot pedal.
Solea also offers numerous patient perks, including less pain, reduced swelling and bleeding and a shorter healing time. And it eliminates anesthesia in up to 95% of procedures. That means no more waiting for anesthesia to take effect, anxiety around the needle and the drill or scheduling multiple visits for multiquadrant dentistry.
Get Up to Speed Fast
No dentist wants to let a piece of expensive dental equipment languish in a corner because they never fully learned how to use it. Convergent Dental offers a comprehensive training program designed to ensure practices can integrate Solea quickly and seamlessly. It includes three parts – virtual learning modules, a live training day with a Solea trainer and a one-on-one coaching session.
Peer Perspectives on Solea
A Board-Certified Diplomate of the AAPD, Jordan Lentfer, DMD, maintains a busy pediatric practice in her home state of Oregon.
A pediatric dentist in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Dr. Jayne F. Scherrman graduated from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and is an active member of the AAPD, ADA and Southeast Missouri Dental Association.
Lentfer: My journey with Solea began at a local hotel where Patterson was hosting a dinner with a Solea rep. I was about to open my own office from scratch – a scary thought even though I’d been practicing for 12 years – and as soon as I tried the Solea on an extracted tooth, I looked over to my Patterson rep and said, “I want it.” I was hooked immediately and knew that it would help set me apart from other practices in town. Not even a year into my new practice, I started having patients come in and say, “You’re the laser dentist, right?” That’s priceless.
Scherrman: I started using the Solea laser about four years ago, primarily because I was interested in providing anesthesia-free dentistry and was hoping for a scenario where my small patients would never be afraid of dental treatment. I felt that it would lessen treatment time and help children return to school more quickly. I wanted it to be a game-changer for parents and children, and I was excited to offer a noise-free, drill-free and needle-free treatment to make appointments more pleasant.
The Laser Conversation:
Lentfer: I tell parents that 90% to 95% of the time, I can restore a primary tooth without having to numb the tooth up, and that the Solea numbs the tooth for us. I let parents and the child know that sometimes it feels like you’re eating ice cream, but that the cold feeling goes away quickly – if you feel it at all. Parents often ask me on the side, “So, they won’t need a shot?” Of course, mouthing the word “shot,” and I tell them that avoiding the shot is why I invested in Solea.
Scherrman: I tell my patients that I have a new laser named Solea and that it helps me remove the decay on their teeth with cold water. I add that it makes a light shine on their tooth that chases the decay away. Finally, I tell them that it may be a little cold, but that they can handle it! With Solea, patient fear has diminished substantially, and the children are so proud of themselves when they are finished with treatment.
Lentfer: Parents are often very impressed at the speed of Solea and how well their child tolerates treatment. When we can get four or even eight fillings done in one visit without any anesthesia, parents are blown away! They are incredibly grateful that they don’t have to worry about their child chomping on numb soft tissue postop. Our office avoids the dreaded after-hours call that a child had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia or just chomped their lip.
Scherrman: Parents love that no anesthesia is necessary and that their child does not have to be fearful of a shot. They appreciate the fact that numbing is unnecessary, and that they don’t have to worry about their child biting their cheeks or lips. After treatment, children will say, “It didn’t even hurt,” or “That didn’t take very long.” I feel the laser reduces anxiety in children who are uncomfortable with drill noise, while also minimizing bleeding and swelling and reducing the risk of infection. Using fewer dental tools seems to help children be more cooperative.
The ROI of Laser Dentistry
Lentfer: In the past, there were so many kids that I would have had to take under general anesthesia just due to their anxiety over getting a local anesthetic. With Solea, I’ve been able to get a full mouth of decay treated in the office without general anesthesia and without a shot. Additionally, many of the local pediatricians and lactation consultants refer to me for infant frenectomies, which has really boosted my bottom line and my career enjoyment. It’s definitely my favorite procedure! Frenectomies also have been a huge practice builder, as many of the infants I see come back in one to two years for their dental checkups.
Scherrman: I have used Solea every day since I purchased it – from frenectomies and fillings to exposing unruptured teeth and etching enamel – and have seen an increase in both efficiency and accuracy. For example, I can do multiquadrant treatment in the time I would have normally done one quadrant. Parents love that I can get all the work finished in fewer visits and there has been a significant chair time reduction, enabling me to see additional patients. I also can see the results of my laser work quickly, which allows me to make necessary adjustments immediately.
The content in this article was first published in the Fall 2023 issue of Advantage by Patterson Dental.
Be sure to speak to your Patterson rep about limited-financing offers to help power your investment in Solea. Want to know more about Solea? View the full product details here.