Written by Dr. Mark Mizner, DMD
It’s as simple as this: excellent patient experiences foster long-lasting, profitable patient relationships. For years now, lasers, specifically hard tissue lasers, have been touted as a tool which can dramatically change the patient experience by taking the noise, vibration and needle out of the equation. Over the past 20 years, I demoed all of them and never saw the point. They were slow, imprecise and you still had to numb the patient. Then I saw Solea, the new 9.3 micron CO2 laser that just hit the market. I knew it was different. I bought it and now with hundreds of anesthesia-free procedures and hours of time saved, I can say that Solea absolutely delivers on what we have all been hoping for… a new pain-free, fear-free patient experience.
Let’s face it, nobody likes to go to the dentist. It’s just a fact of life. We are used as an example of all things hard or unpleasant such as, “It’s like pulling teeth” or “That’s about as pleasant as a root canal.” As dentists, we fight this stereotypical reputation every day. We try to counteract this perception in everything we do. We hire friendly receptionists to make phone calls to our office as pleasant as possible. We decorate the office with soothing colors and play calming background music. We provide patients with comfortable headphones and surround them with state of the art equipment. And yet, we inevitably break that mood as soon as we step on the pedal and introduce a handpiece with the noise and unpleasant vibration that patients tell us they can feel throughout their entire body.
When hard tissue dental lasers were introduced in 1997, they claimed that they would eliminate the unpleasantness of the drill. But for the reasons I mentioned earlier, they all fell far short of their stated goals. Then Convergent Dental introduced Solea, which I have been using in my office for the past year. Solea actually delivers on the promise of laser dentistry because Solea’s new wavelength literally vaporizes tooth structure and soft tissue in about the same time as conventional tools. It is the single biggest countermeasure I’ve ever found to our collective bad rap. Not only am I able to eliminate the high whine of the drill and eliminate the head jarring vibration, I can do all that without the need for local anesthesia! That’s right; no shot, no drill and no pain.
What do patients actually feel? About half feel absolutely nothing, no sensation whatsoever, whether I’m cutting, etching or filling a tooth. The other half feel what they describe as a cold sensation, but not pain. Not surprisingly, all my patients prefer the laser over the drill. One formerly phobic patient actually told me I changed her life.
Here is something I didn’t expect. Because I’m not numbing patients up and calming them down and because I can treat multiple quadrants in a single sitting, I’m saving a ton of chair time. That turns into more procedures per day, which directly adds to my bottom line. It is a true win/win for me and the patient. So the bottom, bottom line is that Solea is the laser that finally delivers on the promise of laser dentistry from both a patient experience level and an economic level.