WITH SAM LOW, DDS, MS, MEd
Q: What are the main benefits of providing laser-assisted periodontal therapy over conventional treatment?
A: The first actually deals with positive patient-related outcomes, and the pros are becoming a kingpin in healthcare at this point. Patients want minimally invasive care—and while we’ve seen that
occur in the last 5 to 10 years with treatments such as arthroscopy— it has largely been a more recent development in dentistry. What lasers are able to do is provide singular, clinical results with periodontal procedures that are similar to traditional periodontal surgery. Patient recovery time is decreased, making laser-assisted periodontal therapy a positive patient experience.
Q: How can integration of dental lasers into a practice lift anxiety for patients and staff, as well as deliver improved patient-reported outcomes?
A: With regard to patients, we are decreasing anxiety so that we can actually perform the procedures, and we’re also reducing anxiety afterward. The patient leaves the office as a good steward of quality dental care. In other words, when patients have a negative experience, they will voice that experience with their family and friends. On the flip side, when they have a very positive experience, they’ll also voice that to their family and friends.
Q: Can you discuss recent advances in peri-implantitis treatments and how lasers can play a role in preventing implant failure?
A: Certain laser wavelengths are very good at antimicrobial aspects. Studies have demonstrated that they can decontaminate the surface of implants without creating a thermal disadvantage. If that is the case, which it is, then that also provides a service that is much more receptive for the regeneration of both hard and soft tissue around the implant, or at the very least will halt progress of the inflamed implant scenario.
Q: How else is technology changing the treatment of gum disease and dental caries?
A: For caries, particularly cavity situations in children and root decay, lasers can now perform removal of the decay with minimal or no local anesthesia. For children, this reduces the need for sedation, especially when faced with an uncooperative child.